First Glimpse at 2022 Census of Agriculture Results

What does a snapshot of US agriculture look like? Glimpses are now available courtesy of the initial data points released from the 2022 census of agriculture. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack reacted to two significant pieces of information gleaned from the latest census.

Survey after survey continues to show a decline in the number of farms and in the farmland in 2017. When we did the survey, there were 2,042,220 farms. Today, the survey reports we have 1,900,487 farms. That’s 142,000 fewer farms in five years. In 2017, we had almost a little over 900 million acres of land in farming. Five years later, we have 880 million acres. So we’ve lost 20 million acres.

What has also been a concerning trend throughout recent censuses of agriculture, the increasing average age of farm producers in our country. Brian Combs of USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service notes that found in the 2022 census…

(The) overall average of all producers was 58.1

Yet to add a six-month increase from the 2017 Census of Agriculture, that is a smaller census-to-census rise at average producer age than seen in recent surveys. However, the demographic category of new and beginning and young farmers from various data points.

Young producers, anyone who was involved in farm decision making under the age of 35, as of December 31 2022, and the census shows that 296,480 young producers were reported.

There was also an 11% increase in the number of beginning farmers from the 2017 census when looking at beginning farmers within the latest census. From an average age standpoint…

The average age of these new and beginning producers is 47.1, which is lower than the overall average of all producers.

And within the total number of ag producers in the US…

Thirty percent of producers were considered new and beginning for the 2022 Census of Agriculture.

One additional demographic data point:

Female producers accounted for 36% of all producers, and 58% of farms have at least one female producer.