Agriculture report shows fewer but larger farms in U.S.

Apr 12, 2019

Michigan farm
Credit michigan.org

Michigan’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development says the food and agriculture industry contributes $104.7 billion annually to the state’s economy. What does the data from the Census of Agriculture tell us about the industry today?

The latest Census of Agriculture shows the number of farms and ranches in the U.S. has fallen but the remaining operations are larger and are responsible for a higher percentage of agricultural sales.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released the 2017 Census of Agriculture this week, marking the 29th release of the report since the government began collecting the data in 1840. Since 1982, it has been released every five years.

The census shows there were 2.04 million farms and ranches nationwide in 2017, down 3.2 percent from 2012. The average size of those operations was 441 acres, an increase of 1.6 percent.

In Michigan, the census indicates Michigan farms decreased to 47,641, a decline of 4,553 farms, or since 2012 when there were more than 52,000.

The Michigan Farm Bureau reports the “average farm size increased 7.33% from 191 to 205 acres, with total cropland acres increasing slightly.”

Patrick Center, WGVU News.