Ag census: Average Ohio farm smaller than in 2012

By: 
Staff Writer

The average size of an Ohio farm in 2017 was 179 acres – about six acres smaller than in 2012, according to data from the recently released 2017 Census of Agriculture by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Most farms in Ohio continue to fall in the ranges of 10 to 49 acres (26,533 farms in 2017) and 50 to 179 acres (23,671), according to the census, which also shows there were 27,164 farms in 2017 which had sales of less than $2,500. There were 13,839 farms with sales of $100,000 or more.
Nationwide, the data collected by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service indicates the farm numbers and land in farms have had ongoing small percentage declines since the last census in 2012. At the same time, there continue to be more of the largest and smallest operations and fewer in the mid ranges.
Some key highlights include:
- There are 2.04 million farms and ranches (down 3.2 percent from 2012) with an average size of 441 acres (up 1.6 percent) on 900 million acres (down 1.6 percent).
- The 273,000 smallest (1-9 acres) farms make up 0.1 percent of all farmland while the 85,127 largest (2,000 or more acres) farms make up 58 percent of farmland.
-Just 105,453 farms produced 75 percent of all sales in 2017, down from 119,908 in 2012.
- Of the 2.04 million farms and ranches, the 76,865 making $1 million or more in 2017 represent just over two-thirds of the $389 billion in total value of production while the 1.56 million operations making under $50,000 represent just 2.9 percent.
- Farm expenses are $326 billion with feed, livestock purchased, hired labor, fertilizer and cash rents topping the list of farm expenses in 2017.
- Average farm income is $43,053. A total of 43.6 percent of farms had positive net cash farm income in 2017.
- Ninety-six percent of farms and ranches are family owned.
- Farms with Internet access rose from 69.6 percent in 2012 to 75.4 percent in 2017.
For the 2017 census, the NASS changed the demographic questions. As a result, in 2017 the number of producers is up by nearly seven percent to 3.4 million, because more farms reported multiple producers. Most of the newly identified producers are female. While the number of male producers fell 1.7 percent to 2.17 million from 2012 to 2017, the number of female producers increased by nearly 27 percent to 1.23 million.

Other demographic highlights include:
- The average age of all producers is 57.5, up 1.2 years from 2012.
- There are 321,261 producers age 35 or less on 240,141 farms. Farms with young producers making decisions tend to be larger than average in both acres and sales.
- One in four producers is a beginning farmer with 10 or fewer years of experience and an average age of 46.3. Farms with new or beginning producers making decisions tend to be smaller than average in both acres and value of production.
- Thirty-six percent of all producers are female and 56 percent of all farms have at least one female decision maker. Farms with female producers making decisions tend to be smaller than average in both acres and value of production.

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