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USDA Ag Census: Amount Of Farms In New York On A Steady Decline

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The USDA recently released its 2017 Agriculture Census and one if its major findings pertaining to New Yorkers is that the amount of farms in our state is on the decline.

USDA surveys farmers every five years and then takes more than a year to compile the data before an official report is released.

According to the latest census, there were just over 33,400 farms in New York in 2017–more than 2,000 fewer farms than in 2012.

This represents the largest drop in more than two decades and is triple the national average of a three-percent loss.

The losses include a nine-percent drop in both the smallest and largest farms in terms of value of sales. New York also saw a nearly 20-percent decline in the number of dairy farms in the state.

On the positive side, there were elements of growth. New York saw a 35% increase in organic farms and there were also slight increases in other fruit, vegetable and maple farms.

According to the market value summary, the number of vegetable farms in the state is 3,544 farms, up two-percent, and fruit farms rose eight-percent to 3,083 farms. New York had a 15% jump in maple operations to 1,662 in the state.

Additional numbers:

  • 98% of farms in New York are family owned
  • 6,866,171 acres in production, down from 7,183,576 in 2012
  • Average farm size is 205 acres, up from 202 acres in 2012
  • 21,860 female producers and 35,985 male producers
  • Average producer age is 55.8 years old.
  • 6,718 producers under the age of 35
  • Hired farm labor is 55,363 employee

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