Iowa, Nebraska Echo National Decline in Number of Farms

February 20, 2017 03:33 PM

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says there were 500 fewer farms in Iowa last year and the average farm size rose slightly but the amount of total land in farms remained at 30.5 million acres.

The annual report on farms released Friday says Iowa has 87,000 farms. The average farm size rose slightly to 351 acres from 349 in 2015.

The report shows similar trends in Nebraska where there were 300 fewer farms in 2016 with a total of 48,400 and the average farm size rose to 934 acres from 928. Land in farms remained at 45.2 million acres.

Nationally the number of farms fell by 8,000 to 2.06 million.

Half of all farms reported annual sales between $1,000 and $10,000 and 30 percent sold between $10,000 and $100,000.

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Spell Check

Scottsboro, AL
2/22/2017 09:05 AM

  More than half of the farmers who read this can calculate the average farm size from the total farm area and the total number of farms. There are interesting numbers implied by this story. Why not include them? It appears that 20% of the farms account for the vast majority of production. I wonder? It appears that the disappearing farms are generally small. I wonder? When you guys use averages and medians without providing connections, you create junk out of possibly meaningful statistics. If you can't do the analysis, just provide the data so that someone can. John

Lincoln, NE
2/23/2017 11:56 AM

  As a Nebraskan, I'm from a farming family. Dad is 93 years young still residing on his farm with mother. My brother is the farmer in the family and he is 61. This will be the last farm family generation. Similar situation in Nebraska. Family farm is near the average Nebraska average of 934 acres. Size of Nebraska farms is difficult due to ranches are considerably larger with 2,000 acres consider small in scale. There are some ranches over 20,000 acres and I know of a farm family having 13,000 acres of irrigated corn and soybeans. Added to this concern is the average age of farmers nearing 65 years old. Few youth are interested in risky life on farms and ranches. Economics of larger is better is questionable with agriculture products value and cost of production. Value of agriculture land in Nebraska is distorted facing new challenges of property taxation, replacement costs of machinery and tractors, and Nebraska taxation system. The future of agriculture is a global competition system of producers? New beginnings for a young farmer is nearly impossible facing tremendous challenges. Diversity of products, niche products, direct markets to consumers of agriculture products, added value products and new systems contracts of production are important for farmers to pursue. Chicken production in one Nebraska is facing challenges of costs of buildings, environmental regulations and oversite, and challenges to those producers. Nebraska has many seed corn producing companies with favorable incentives on irrigated land with productive soils. Beef industry is another agriculture diversity product in Nebraska. THERE ARE MANY RISKS BUT AGRICULTURE IS A RISKY OCCUPATION WITH REWARDS TO THOSE WHO ARE PLAN FOR THEIR FUTURE.


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