USDA 2012 Census of Agriculture results

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Farm Forum

The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service released the final 2012 Census of Agriculture results sharing a wide-range of information about what agricultural products were raised in the United States in 2012, and where, how and by whom they were grown. The data, which is reported at the national, state and county level, will help farmers, ranchers, local officials, agribusiness and others make decisions for the future.

To provide easier access to the data, NASS created a number of online tools for people to find and use Census data, including:

• Quick Stats 2.0 – an online database to retrieve customized tables. For those new to this tool, a new tutorial video provides easy-to-follow instructions.

• API – a tool for developers.

• Agricultural Atlas Maps – profiles of the nation’s agriculture at the county-level in a series of multicolor pattern and dot maps

• Desktop Data Query Tool- a downloadable desktop tool to analyze data without Internet access once you have downloaded and installed this tool.

For more information about the Census of Agriculture including all the final 2012 Census of Agriculture results, and tools to access and share the data, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov.

South Dakota

The number of farms in South Dakota during 2012 was 31,989, up 3 percent from the 2007 Census of Agriculture. Land in farms, at 43.3 million acres, was down 1 percent from what was reported five years prior. The average size of farm was 1,352 acres, down 3 percent or 49 acres from 2007.

Market value of production was $10.2 billion, up 55 percent from 2007. The average value per farm was $318,000, compared to $211,000 in 2007. The number of farms with sales of $500,000 or more was 4,810, up from 2,844 in 2007.

During 2012, the average age of the principal operator was 55.9 years compared to 55.7 years in 2007. The number of operators under the age of 34 was 2,889, up 23 percent from 2007, while the number of operators over the age of 65 totaled 8,551, up 4 percent from 2007.

North Dakota

The number of farms in North Dakota during 2012 was 30,961, down 3 percent from the 2007 Census of Agriculture. Land in farms, at 39.3 million acres, was down 1 percent from what was reported five years prior. The average size of farm was 1,268 acres, up 2 percent or 27 acres from 2007.

Market value of production was $11.0 billion, up 80 percent from 2007. The average value per farm was $354,000, compared to $190,000 in 2007. The number of farms with sales of $500,000 or more was 6,096, up from 3,625 in 2007.

During 2012, the average age of the principal operator was 57.0 years compared to 56.5 years in 2007. The number of operators under the age of 34 was 2,762, up 14 percent from 2007, while the number of operators over the age of 65 totaled 9,398, up 2 percent from 2007.

Nebraska

The number of farms in Nebraska during 2012 was 49,969, up 5 percent from the 2007 Census of Agriculture. Land in farms, at 45.3 million acres, remained about the same as that reported five years prior. The average size of farm was 907 acres, down 5 percent or 46 acres from 2007.

Market value of production was $23.1 billion, up 49 percent from 2007. The average value per farm was $462,000, compared to $325,000 in 2007. The number of farms with sales of $500,000 or more was 8,717, up from 5,921 in 2007.

During 2012, the average age of the principal operator was 55.7 years compared to 55.9 years in 2007. The number of operators under the age of 34 was 4,747, up 42 percent from 2007 while the number of operators over the age of 65 totaled 13,177, up 1 percent from 2007.

Minnesota

“Census data provides the foundation of information needed to design programs and initiatives that support agriculture and serve the farmers across Minnesota”, said Dave Frederickson, Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture.

The 2012 Census of Agriculture data show the following key trends for Minnesota.

• Number of farms in Minnesota, at 74,542, fell 8 percent from 2007. This reversed a short term trend where farm numbers increased slightly in 1997, 2002 and 2007. Although the count of farm operations with harvested cropland was relatively unchanged, declines in the count of operations with other types of land and livestock enterprises contributed to the overall decline in farms. A farm is defined as any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the Census year.

• Land in farms in Minnesota totaled 26.0 million acres, down 3 percent from 2007. Declines in pasture, other cropland, and wood land acres off-set an increase in cropland harvested acres.

• Market value of agricultural products sold increased 61 percent over 2007 while total production expenses increased 50 percent. This resulted in an increase of net cash farm income which averaged $94,345 per farm.

• Average age of the principal operator in 2012 was 56.6 years, continuing the steady long term increasing trend.

• Beginning farmers, those who have operated a farm for less than 10 years, account for 17 percent of all principle operators.

• Women are principal operators for 6,370 farms in Minnesota, down from 7,361 in 2007. These operations make up 9 percent of all farms, 4 percent of land in farms and sold 398 million dollars worth of agricultural products in 2012.

“The 2012 Census of Agriculture provides a wide range of demographic, economic, land, and crop and livestock production information,” said Dan Lofthus, State Statistician for the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, Minnesota Field Office. “Many of these data about Minnesota and our counties are only collected and reported as part of the every-five-year census.”

Iowa

“The 2012 Census of Agriculture provides a wide range of demographic, economic, land, and crop and livestock production information as well as first-time or expanded data,” said Greg Thessen, Regional Director. “Many of these data about Iowa and our counties are only collected and reported as part of the every-five-year census.”

The 2012 Census of Agriculture data show the following key trends for Iowa.

• In 2012, the value of agricultural products sold by Iowa farmers totaled $30.8 billion, up nearly 51 percent or $10.4 billion from 2007. Crop sales accounted for $17.4 billion of the total and livestock sales accounted for $13.4 billion, up 68 and 34 percent, respectively, from 2007.

• Iowa ranked 2nd nationally for total value of agricultural products, crop sales and livestock sales in 2012, with Iowa moving up one position from 2007 for each item.

• Farmers in Sioux, Lyon, and Kossuth counties had the largest value of sales in 2012, with Kossuth county ranking as the top corn producing county in the U.S. and Sioux county ranking 3rd nationally for the number of hogs and pigs sold.

• Farmers spent a total of $23.7 billion on production expenses in 2012, up nearly 54 percent from the $15.4 billion in 2007.

• The amount of land operated by Iowa farmers declined by less than one percent between 2007 and 2012, from 30.7 million acres.

• Farmers harvested crops from 24.5 million acres in 2012 with no-till practices used on 6.95 million acres and conservation tillage practices used on 8.76 million acres.

• The average farm size of the 88,637 Iowa farms was 345 acres in 2012.

“The Census of Ag is an extremely valuable snapshot of agriculture in Iowa and across the nation that helps tell the story of our state’s farmers,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. “The results released today again show the tremendous economic impact of agriculture on our state’s economy and the importance of Iowa agriculture nationally. It also contains valuable information about the conservation practices used on farms, showing that farmers use no-till or conservation tillage on two-thirds of their crop acres.”

United States

Highlights of the 2012 Census of Agriculture data release include:

• 22% of all farmers were beginning farmers in 2012. That means 1 out of every 5 farmers operated a farm for less than 10 years.

• Young, beginning principal operators who reported their primary occupation as farming increased from 36,396 to 40,499 between 2007 and 2012. That’s an 11.3% increase in the number of young people getting into agriculture as a full-time job.

• 969,672 farm operators were female—30% of all farm operators in the U.S.

• The number of farms ran by Latino farmers increased from 82,462 in 2007 to 99,734 in 2012. That 21% increase reflects the changing face of America as a whole.

• 70% of all farms in the U.S. had internet access in 2012, up from 56.5% in 2007, but there is more work to be done to expand internet access in rural America.

• Farmers and ranchers continue to lead the charge towards a more sustainable energy future. 57,299 farms reported using a renewable energy producing system in 2012. That’s more than double the 23,451 operations that reported the same in 2007. Solar panels accounted for 63% of renewable energy producing systems on farms, with 36,331 farms reporting their use.

• Nearly 150,000 farmers and ranchers nationwide are selling their products directly to consumers, and 50,000 are selling to local retailers. Industry estimates valued local food sales at $7 billion in 2011, reflecting the growing importance of this new market to farm and ranch businesses.

• Total organic product sales by farms have increased by 82% since 2007, from $1.76 billion in 2007 to $3.1 billion in 2012. Organic products were a $35 billion industry in the United States in 2013.