USDA's 2012 Census of Ag Results

On Friday, May 2nd, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released the final 2012 Census of Agriculture results sharing a wide-range of information about what agricultural products were raised in the United States in 2012, and where, how and by whom they were grown. The data, which is reported at the national, state and county level, will help farmers, ranchers, local officials, agribusiness and others make decisions for the future.

“Census data provides the foundation of information needed to design programs and initiatives that support agriculture and serve the farmers across Minnesota”, said Dave Frederickson, Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture.

The 2012 Census of Agriculture data show the following key trends for Minnesota.

  • Number of farms in Minnesota, at 74,542, fell 8 percent from 2007. This reversed a short term trend where farm numbers increased slightly in 1997, 2002 and 2007. Although the count of farm operations with harvested cropland was relatively unchanged, declines in the count of operations with other types of land and livestock enterprises contributed to the overall decline in farms. A farm is defined as any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the Census year.
  • Land in farms in Minnesota totaled 26.0 million acres, down 3 percent from 2007. Declines in pasture, other cropland, and wood land acres off-set an increase in cropland harvested acres.
  • Market value of agricultural products sold increased 61 percent over 2007 while total production expenses increased 50 percent. This resulted in an increase of net cash farm income which averaged $94,345 per farm.
  • Average age of the principal operator in 2012 was 56.6 years, continuing the steady long term increasing trend.
  • Beginning farmers, those who have operated a farm for less than 10 years, account for 17 percent of all principle operators.
  • Women are principal operators for 6,370 farms in Minnesota, down from 7,361 in 2007. These operations make up 9 percent of all farms, 4 percent of land in farms and sold 398 million dollars worth of agricultural products in 2012.

“The 2012 Census of Agriculture provides a wide range of demographic, economic, land, and crop and livestock production information,” said Dan Lofthus, State Statistician for the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, Minnesota Field Office. “Many of these data about Minnesota and our counties are only collected and reported as part of the every-five-year census.”

For more information about the Census of Agriculture including all the final 2012 Census of Agriculture results, and tools to access and share the data, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov.

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