The Census of Agriculture is a complete count of America’s farms, ranches, and the people who operate them. Conducted once every five years, Census of Agriculture results provide valuable insights into the lives of America’s farmers and ranchers for people outside of agriculture as well as state and federal governing bodies. For producers, Census results can inform management decisions now and into the future.
USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service released the 2017 Census of Agriculture results on April 11. Here are some of the key takeaways according to the USDA.
- In 2017, the total number of producers in the U.S. was 3.4 million.
- The total number of female producers increased by nearly 27 percent since 2012.
- The average age of all producers in 2017 was 57.5 years, which is 1.2 years older than 2012’s average.
- Beginning farmers made up 27% of all producers in 2017.
- Over 370,000 producers had served or were serving in the military in 2017.
- In 2017, farms and ranches across the U.S. produced $389 billion in agricultural products.
- The total number of farms across the country declined between 2012 and 2017, from 2.11 to 2.04 million.
- The number of mid-sized farms declined between 2012 and 2017, but very small farms and very large farms increased in number.
- Cattle/calves was the top ranked commodity in 2017, with over $77 billion in sales.
- In 2017, 75 percent of farms in the U.S. had internet access.
The USDA says they’re thankful for the 3.4 million producers across the country who participated in the 2017 Census of Agriculture. The results gained will help USDA to manage programs and services to best serve America’s farmers and ranchers.