We all know that the U.S. Midwest is the heart of farm country. In fact, in America’s midsection, nearly one-third of the population are farmers. Compare that to the coasts where only about one or two out of every 100 people work as farmers. Keep in mind, a farm is defined by the U.S. government as “any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the year.”
According to the USDA’s most recent census, there are about 2.04 million farms and ranches in the country, down 3.2% from 2012, but the average acres per farm has inched up to 441, a +1.6% increase. Interestingly though, the number of acres being farmed has barely changed at all, down just over -1.5% at 900 million. It’s worth noting that of the 2.04 million farms and ranches, the 76,865 making +$1 million or more in 2017 represents 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%.
Seven (7) states had more than 70,000 farms in 2019: Texas, Missouri, Iowa, Ohio, Oklahoma, Kentucky & Illinois
Texas, which accounts for nearly 14% of all the farmland in use, continues to lead all states with 247,000 total farms and ranches, more than double second and third place Missouri and Iowa combined. At the other end of the spectrum was Rhode Island and Alaska battling it out for 50th place with 1,100 and 1,050 farms respectively. If you’re looking for big acres being farmed you’ll need to head to Wyoming, who had the largest average farm size in the United States in 2019, at just over 2,400 acres followed by Montana & Nevada. It’s worth mentioning, Wyoming and Montana are the only two states in the United States with average farm sizes over 2,000 acres.
Over the last five years, we’ve seen a number of states drop anywhere from 2-5,000 farms from their totals, meaning that big farms in those states are getting bigger, a trend I suspect that continues. You can see the entire list HERE. (Source: USDA, Beef2Live, Statistica)