USDA Releases Final 2012 Census Results

On Friday, May 2, the United States Department of Agriculture released its final report on the 2012 Census of Agriculture.

Several trends were revealed nationwide which put a new spin on the preliminary report released in February:

  • As mentioned in the preliminary report, sales of agricultural products in 2012 reached a record high of $394.6 billion.  At the same time, however, production expenses also set a new record—$328.9 billion.
  • Although average sales per farm were $187,093, three quarters of all farms in America sold less than $50,000 worth of agricultural products.  Of the total sales in 2012, 66% came from farms selling over $1 million in products, 4% of the total number of farms.
  • Crop sales values exceeded livestock sales values for the second time in census history, but the largest category of operations in America was beef cattle, with 29% of all farms and ranches specializing in this area.
  • The average American farmer is now 58.3 years old.  On the other hand, the number of young start-up farmers increased from 36,396 in 2007 to 40,499 in 2012, an increase of 11.3%.

Also of interest nationwide:

  • 87% of all American farms are operated by families or individuals.
  • For the first time ever, corn and soybeans dominated over half of the acres harvested in the United States.
  • Direct-marketing sales exceeded $1.3 billion in 2012, a 8.1% increase compared to 2007.
  • Organic sales reached $3.12 billion in 2012, compared to $1.7 billion in 2007.

The top five ag products in Kansas in 2012, ranked by value, were:

  1. Cattle and calves (55.0% of total sales).
  2. Grains, oilseeds, dry beans, and dry peas (35.2%).
  3. Hogs and pigs (3.8%).
  4. Milk from cows (2.6%).
  5. Other crops and hay (1.9%).

The ten leading counties in farm-related income were:

  1. Finney.
  2. Thomas.
  3. Scott.
  4. Nemaha.
  5. Reno.
  6. Sumner.
  7. Osage.
  8. McPherson.
  9. Rawlins.
  10. Gove.

The next USDA census will be in 2017.

Helpful Resources

2012 Census Publications
If you need more information from the 2012 census, start here and find links to a wide range of national, state, and county data.

To help you decipher the ag product terminology in the lists above.