Ag Census

Deadline to reply to Census of Agriculture looms, says USDA

Last winter, the USDA gave balky farmers and ranchers five additional months to fill out their Census of Agriculture forms because of a lower than desired response rate. The last chance to participate is arriving for the census that provides the most comprehensive picture of the farm sector, said the USDA on Monday.

Rising age of farmers seen leading to larger farms

"One of the best-known trends in American agriculture is the aging farmer," writes David Widmar at the blog Agricultural Economic Insights, suggesting one result will be increased concentration of farmland ownership.

Big in some regions, ag is small potatoes in much of U.S.

Agriculture is a major industry in the Plains, Midwest, South and California, USDA data show, and the obverse holds too - in many congressional districts, farming and ranching is a minor economic factor. USDA's 2012 Census of Agriculture says there are fewer than 5,000 farms in 57 percent of the 435 congressional districts. In 62 percent of congressional districts, the market value of agricultural products sold was less than $500 million; in 77 percent of them, sales were less than $1 billion.

A broadband bottleneck for Big Data in agriculture

While urban America has nearly universal access to wired broadband, the rate in rural America is 78 percent, according to industry data. USDA's 2012 Census of Agriculture says 70 percent of farms have Internet access but...

Women are getting counted as farmers

Sondra Pierce, who grows sugar beets, hay and sunflowers on a Colorado farm, "doesn't look like the average American principal (farm) operator," says Harvest Public Media, but she is emblematic of a change in agriculture and its data-keeping.

Nebraska tops US in irrigated land, California in water use

Some 55.3 million acres of U.S. farmland are irrigated, says the Farm and Ranch Irrigation Survey, drawn from USDA's 2012 Census of Agriculture.

Are older farmers a sign of multi-generational operations?

One of the most-reported statistics about American agriculture is the rising average age of farmers - 58.3 years in the 2012 Census of Agriculture, an increase of 1.2 years from the 2007 census, writes economist David Widmar at the blog Agricultural Economic Insights.

US tractor and combine fleet is much newer than usual

Farmers modernized their tractors and combines during the agricultural boom that started in 2006, says analyst David Widmar at the blog Agricultural Economic Insights.