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For questions concerning the definition of Limited Resource Farming and/or supporting economic data, contact: Mark Peters, Economist, FPAC Business Center.

This site is provided by the Natural Resources Conservation Service.


Limited Resource Farmer and Rancher (LRF/R)

LRF/R Tool Background and Data Sources


The Limited Resource Farmer and Rancher Online Self Determination Tool is an online tool developed by USDA to help producers determine if they qualify as a Limited Resource Farmer, Rancher or Forest Owner. It provides the county values necessary to qualify for Limited Resource Farmer status. The purpose of this tool is to ensure that limited resource farmers are provided access to USDA technical assistance programs and activities according to Section 622, Agricultural Credit Act of 1987, Public Law No. 100-233, 101 Stat. 1985. This section kept unchanged with the 2008, 2014, and 2018 Farm Bills.

The Limited Resource Farmer and Rancher Online Self Determination Tool was developed in 2003 and is updated annually.

Program Sponsor

The program sponsor for the Limited Resource Farmer & Rancher Tool is Ronald Harris, Director, NRCS Office of Outreach and Advocacy, 202-720-6646. Mark Peters, Economist, FPAC Business Center, 301-504-1564, is responsible for the annual data updates.

Limited Resource Definition

The Limited Resource Farmer and Rancher definition was developed by USDA staff in 2002. USDA maintains the current definition for the 2002, 2008, 2014, and 2018 Farm Bills.

Each year, values are updated for: the gross farm sales limit, national poverty level, and 50 percent of the median household income for the previous two years. Data sources and calculations are discussed below.

Gross Farm Sales Limitation Update Method

The Gross Farm Sales value is updated annually and is indexed using the prices paid index that is updated annually by NASS. This value is baselined at a 2002 value of $100,000 and then indexed using the Prices Paid by Farmer Index as compiled by NASS to adjust for inflation.

  • Changed to Prices Paid Index (PPI) 2011-baseline = 1.00. October, 2002 baseline = $61,300
  • The PPI in July, 2023 is 138.7 $100,000 * (138.7/ 61.3) = $226,300.

The prices paid index is updated by NASS on the last business day of each month, so data is updated each year using July values.

National Poverty Level Limitation

The National Poverty Level is defined as the Health and Human Services (HHS) Poverty Guidelines. These are issued every January by HHS using Census Poverty Data. The historical data is available here.

Since this data is issued annually, we use the most recent data to update the Self Determination Tool. The other three data items are updated using data released as close to January as possible. For example, given availability of data, the 2020 Poverty guidelines should be used with 2019 income data; the 2019 poverty guidelines with 2018 income data, and the 2018 poverty guidelines with 2017 income data. Data used in the most recent update to the tool is shown in the table below.

YearFirst PersonEach Additional PersonFour Person FamilyAlaska 4 PersonHawaii 4 Person

County Median Household Income

In 2005 The U.S. Census Bureau, with support from other Federal agencies, created the Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE) program to provide more current estimates of selected income and poverty statistics than those from the most recent decennial census. The SAIPE database provides annual estimated state, county, and school district income data and is updated each January. We use the most recent county-level median income estimates from SAIPE in our calculations. There is a lag in the release of the SAIPE data, so the most recent data available when we do our data updates is from 2 years prior. This year, we are using SAIPE data from 2018. This data is then indexed using data from as described below.

Since the farmers using the tool are comparing this with their previous two income tax returns, using fourth quarter estimates are comparable. So we index the two year old county median household income up to match the previous year’s income tax return. All calculations are done in nominal terms. For FY2024, we adjusted the 2021 County Median Household Income by 1.0909 to get to 2023 2d Quarter incomes to match with the 2023 poverty levels.

Table 7.1. Selected Per Capita Product and Income Series in Current and Chained Dollars

(Figures not adjusted to reflect later revisions by BEA. Also dollars are report on the ‘current’ price base of the annual update. Last Revised on: August 30, 2023. You can see the adjustments from previous year’s data, but we are only indexing up 1.5 years.

Year Per Capita Personal Income Increase from 2005 Increase from previous year
2018 2nd Quarter 53,354 1.5063 1.0591
2018 Final 55,091 1.5553 1.0729
2019 2nd Quarter 56,514 1.5952 1.0802
2019 Final 56,991 1.6090 1.0682
2020 2nd Quarter 61,842 1.7459 1.1225
2020 Final 61,682 1.7414 1.0917
2021 2nd Quarter 62,090 1.7529 1.1110
2021 Final 62,255 1.7529 1.0067
2022 2nd Quarter 64,908 1.8325 1.0526
2022 Final 66,534 1.8784 1.0716
2023 2nd Quarter 67,911 1.9173 1.0909


The County/Area value updated annually in the database is the higher of the National Poverty Level or 50% of the County/Area Median Household Income, adjusted as described above.

Data updates provided by Mark Peters.

Page updated: 10/01/2023

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