2022 USDA Ag Census Released

Feb 18, 2024 | Uncategorized

Here’s some highlights…

Per the USDA:

The Census of Agriculture is a complete count of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. Even small plots of land – whether rural or urban – count if $1,000 or more of such products were raised and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the census year. The Census of Agriculture, taken only once every five years, looks at land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures.

Now, it’s a 757 page report, so today’s highlights are barely scratching the surface.

Also, I think it’s important to point out what qualifies as a “farm” for purposes of USDA’s Census: it’s any operation that produces $1,000 or more of agricultural products whether sold or not. So, the vast majority of the 1.9 million farms would be small, “hobby” farms.

Now that we have that lens to filter things through, here’s some highlights that stood out to me:

Producer Demographic Stats

  • 1.9 million farms
  • 880.1 million acres
  • 3.37 million producers

Producers By Age:

  • 300 thousand younger than 35 (↑3.9%)
  • 1.78 million age 35-64 (↓9%)
  • 1.29 million age 65+ (↑12.1%)

→ 30% of all producers have been farming for 10 years or less.

→ 62% worked “off-farm” either part-time or full-time

Finally, 42% of producers said their primary occupation was farming, and 58% said farming was a secondary occupation.

Note: USDA defines a “Producer” as: The term producer designates a person who is involved with making decisions for the farm operation… The producer may be the owner, a member of the owner’s household, a hired manager, a tenant, a renter, or a sharecropper.

Production & Sales Stats

→ The largest farms are fewer than 1% of the farms, but accounted for 42% of all ($543.1 billion) sales.

→ The smallest farms are 74% of the farms, but accounted for only 2% of all sales.

  • 1% of farms had > $5 million in sales (42% of total)
  • 5% of farms had $1M to $5M in sales (36% of total)
  • 8% of farms had $250K to $1M in sales (15% of total)
  • 12% of farms had $50K to $250K in sales (5% of total)
  • 74% of farms had < $50K in sales (2% of total)

The report also breaks down top commodities by sales $:

Cattle & calves
Poultry & eggs
$89.4 billion
$88.5 billion
$76.5 billion
$55.4 billion
$52.8 billion

Finally, of all commodity sales:

  • Crops made up 52% ($281 billion)
  • Livestock made up 48% ($262 billion)

As an aside, I found this stat to be confusing… mainly because I’m not tech savvy, but I would have expected this to be much closer to 100%:

Click here to view the entire 757 page Ag Census report

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