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The farmers have been counted!
Did You Know …
- The census definition of a farm is any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold during the census year.
- The definition has changed nine times since it was established in 1850.
- The current definition was first used for the 1974 Census of Agriculture and has been used in each subsequent agriculture census.
The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) recently announced the results of the 2007 Census of Agriculture.
Here are some highlights that may be of interest to hobby farmers:
- Total farms counted increased 4 percent from 2002 to more than 2.2 million in 2007.
- More women farmers! The number of women farmers as principal operator grew 30%, adding about 70,000 more to a total of 306,209 in 2007.
- The numbers of small-sized farms are up. Farms with 1 to 179 acres are all up from 2002. Mid- to large-sized farms of 180 to 1,999 acres are down; very large farms of 2,000 acres or more are up.
- The average size of a farm is 418 acres, down slightly from 441 in 2002. The smallest farms counted: 1 to 9 acres; the largest farms counted: 2,000 acres or more.
- Small farms are in the majority: 60% of all farms reported they earned less than $10,000 annually from farm sales.
- Goats, sheep and vegetables raised on farms increased in 2007, while many other production sectors showed a drop or little change.
- Working off-farm is more common in 2007–the total number of farmers working off-farm increased 10%; in 2007 65% or 1.2 million farms work off-farm.
- Internet access on farms is up slightly from 50% in 2002 to 57% in 2007; of those, 58% report having a high-speed connection.
Coming up …
A report taking a closer look organic production will be out later this year.
You can read the full report online, as well as view charts, fact sheets, maps and more at the Ag Census website.
The Census of Agriculture every five years, providing the only source of consistent, comparable, and detailed agricultural data for every county in America.
Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service