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2012 Census of Agriculture Reveals New Trends in Farming

 

May 2 - There are now 3.2 million farmers operating 2.1 million farms on 914.5 million acres of farmland across the United States, according to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, released recently by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The agriculture census presents more than 6 million pieces of information, which provide a detailed look at the U.S. farm sector at the national, state and county levels.

“Once every five years, farmers, ranchers and growers have the unique opportunity to let the world know how U.S. agriculture is changing, what is staying the same, what’s working and what we can do differently,” said Dr. Cynthia Clark, the retiring head of USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, which administered the survey.  “Today, we can start to delve into the details.” 

Census data provide valuable insight into the U.S. farmer demographics, economics and production practices. Some of the key findings include:

"This information is critical to understanding the conditions of U.S. agriculture and determining future policy,” said incoming NASS Administrator Joseph T. Reilly. “Today’s data release is the culmination of years’ worth of planning and work that NASS has made openly available for public use.”

Conducted since 1840, the Census of Agriculture accounts for all U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. The Census tells a story of how American agriculture is changing and lays the groundwork for new programs and policies that will invest in rural America; promote innovation and productivity; build the rural economy; and support our next generation of farmers and ranchers.

For access to the complete data series and tools to analyze this information, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov. A link to census data will also be available on the USDA Open Data portal, www.usda.gov/data.

 


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