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Ag Census Shows Long-Term Trends Continue

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Spencer, IA: (Feb. 24, 2014) – In a nutshell, the 2012 Preliminary Census of Agriculture shows the U.S. farmer getting older, the average farm getting bigger and the number of mid-sized farms declining.

The report shows U.S. farms sold nearly $395 billion in agricultural products in 2012. That’s record high and up 33 percent from the last Census in 2007.

Crop sales in 2012 were up 48% from 2007 at more than $68 billion. Livestock sales were over $28 billion, a 19% increase. It was only the second time in Census history that crop sales exceeded livestock sales. The other year was in 1974.

In 2012, the average age of the principal farm operator was 58.3 years, up 1.2 years from 2007 and continuing a thirty year trend of steady increase. Six percent are under 35. Sixty-one percent are between 35 & 54 years of age, and 33% are 65 and over.

Ninety-two percent of farm operators are white, 86% are men, and 78% have been in the current operation ten years or more.

The average size of an Iowa farm in 2012 was 345 acres, up from 331 acres in 2007. The number of Iowa farms 1000 acres or more totaled 8239 in 2012, up from 7451 in 2007.

The full 2012 Census of Agriculture will be released in May.

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