Number of Farms Declines in Latest Census

[imgbelt img=economic+class.jpg]The latest Ag Census shows the number of farms is declining and the average age of farmers is increasing. Most of the nation’s 2.1 million farms continue to earn less than $50,000 a year from their operations, the survey says.


The number of farms in the United States fell from 2007 to 2012, according to figures just released in the 2012 Census of Agricultural. But the percentage of farms that earned $1 million or more that year doubled.

preliminary report just released covers 2012.

There were 2.11 million farms in America in 2012, the census says, about 4.3% fewer farms than in 2007. The census counts any farm that produces and sells $1,000 or more of agricultural products annually. (The bar chart above shows the number of farms from 1982 to 2012.)

The chart below shows that the proportion of big earners to small earners is increasing slightly. Farms earning $1 million or more increased by 2 points to 4% of farms, while farms earning from $250,000 to less than $1 million climbed 1 percentage point to 8%.

The biggest proportion of farmers remains small operations that earn less than $50,000 a year. Three quarters of the nation’s farmers – or about 1.6 million farms – fall in that category. That’s a drop of 3 percentage points from 2007’s 78%.