A few less farms in the U.S.

USDA’s Farms, Land in Farms and Livestock Operations summary for 2012 published on Tuesday. The U.S. had 2.2 million farms at the end of the year down 11,630 from 2011. Total land in farms was 914 million acres down 3 million from 2011. The average farm was 421 acres up 1 acre from the previous year. 

The number of farms with annual sales exceeding $500,000 increased 8.6 percent to 145,190 although some of those farms were pushed into the category by higher commodity prices. Land operated by those in the $500,000-plus category increased 3.7 percent to 317.1 million acres.

Texas has the most farms, 244,700 and the most acreage in farms 128 million while Wyoming has the largest average farm, 2,796 acres. The smallest average farm is in the smallest state, 57 acres in Rhode Island.

The number of operations with cattle declined 1 percent last year to 915,000; more than two-thirds of those herds had less than 50 head. The largest percentage of cattle and calves, 30 percent were in herds of 100 to 499 head.

There were 729,000 beef cow operations, down 1percent from 2011. 79 percent of those herds had less than 50 cows.

There were 58,000 dairy cow operations in the country in 2012, down 3 percent from the previous year. Every class of dairy herd saw a decline in numbers except 1,000 to 1,999 cows which held steady at 950. There 780 dairy operations in the country with 2,000-or-more cows housing 32.6 percent of the dairy cows and producing 34.7 percent of the nation’s milk. Half of the nation’s milk supply comes from operations with at least 1,000 cows.

Hog farm numbers also declined 1 percent to 68,300. 87 percent of the nation’s hogs are in operations with 2,000-or-more hogs. 62 percent of the nation’s hogs are in 3,300 operations with 5,000-or-more hogs.

Sheep operations declined 1 percent to 79,500 and farms with goats declined 1 percent to 149,000.

Read the full NASS report here


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