USDA Census Reveals Decline in U.S. Farms

By Trish Svoboda

The USDA Census of Agriculture, released in February, reports that the number of farms in the United States has decreased to less than 2 million, down from nearly 7 million in the 1930s. The census, conducted every five years, provides detailed information about the agricultural sector. The data shows trends such as fewer farms, older farmers, and less farmland.

The census indicated that Kansas, in line with the national trend, has 55,734 farms, a decrease of nearly 3,000 from 2017, marking a 25-year low. The average farm size increased by 25 acres to 804 acres compared to five years ago. However, the total farming land decreased by almost 1 million acres, resulting in 44,784,702 acres.

In 2022, fewer than one-third of farms reported sales exceeding $100,000. Most Kansas farms are partnership, family, or individually owned. Corporations own just under 7% of farms, with the majority still being family-owned businesses.

Despite the decrease in the number of farms, the farmer population exceeded 100,000, with over a third being women. The average age of a Kansas farmer rose marginally to 58.2 years, slightly above the national average. However, the population of farmers aged 34 and below saw an increase of over 1,100, reaching 9,700.

In 2022, Kansas farmers generated revenues just below $24 billion. Livestock sales contributed $15.5 billion, while crop sales brought in an additional $8.4 billion. However, expenses amounted to $21.5 billion, resulting in a gross profit of approximately $2.5 billion. This translates to less than $45,000 per farm, showing the slim profit margins in farming.

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