USDA Releases Preliminary 2012 Census Results

On Thursday, February 20, the USDA released the preliminary results of the 2012 Census of Agriculture.  The census shows that while the number of farms in America continues to gradually decline, the value of farm products sold in the United States has increased by 33% from 2007.

Here are a few of the highlights of the census:

  • Sales values of agricultural products were up, mostly due to a 48% increase in the value of crops sold between the two census years.  In 2012, farms across the country sold nearly $395 billion in agricultural products compared to $297 billion in 2007.  Average sales per farm were $187,093 in 2012 compared to $134,807 in 2007.
  • For the second time in census history crop sales exceeded livestock sales in 2012.  Crop sales were valued at $212.4 billion, while livestock sales were $182.2 billion.
  • The downward trend in mid-sized farms continues.  Census results show that the smallest- and largest-size farms held steady.  2012 census results show 2.1 million farms in the United States compared to 2.2 million in 2007.
  • The American farmer is still getting older.  The average age of farmers is now 58.3 compared to 57.1 in 2007.

Of special interest to Kansans:

  • Kansas ranked 6th in the nation in total ag sales, 9th in crop sales, and 5th in livestock sales.
  • The value of ag sales was nearly $18.5 billion in 2012 compared to $14.4 billion in 2007.
  • There were 61,773 farms in the state in 2012 compared to 65,531 in 2007, a decrease of 6%.
  • The average size of a farm in Kansas is 747 acres.

The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) continues to review the data at the county level.  A release date for the final census results has not been announced yet, but NASS Administrator Cynthia Clark indicates that the final report will be published in May.

Helpful Resource

U.S. and State Data
Here you can view the preliminary report by the numbers.  Or view just the highlights.