By Doug Graves
EAST LANSING, Mich. – Recently, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) field offices across the nation released information pertaining to the number of farms in each state.
NASS defines a farm as any establishment from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the year. That $1,000 threshold can be met by any combination of sales and government payments. Land in farms includes crop and livestock acreage, wasteland, woodland, pasture, idle cropland, land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program, and other set-aside or commodity acreage programs.
According to Indiana state statistician Nathanial Warenski the number of farms in Indiana in 2022 was 54,800, down 300 from 2021. Land in farms was 14.8 million acres, unchanged from the previous year. The average size farm in Indiana, he said, was 270 acres per farm, up one acre from 2021.
In the primary Farm World readership area, Michigan has seen the largest deficit in farms, losing more than 4,500 farms since the 2017 Census of Agriculture. Michigan saw a drop of 1,700 farms from 2021 to 2022.
Ty Kalaus, deputy regional director with the NASS Great Lakes Regional Field Office, says most of those losses are from very small farms.
“Over half of that decrease occurred in the sales group of $2,500 or less,” he said. “We did see an increase in the number of fruit farms, the number of vegetable farms and the number of hog farms.”
Decreases, he said, occurred mostly in the grain and oilseed, horticultural, poultry, beef and dairy sectors.
“The number of farms in Michigan in 2022 was 44,300, down from 46,000 the prior year,” said Marlo Johnson, director of the Great Lakes office. “Land in farms was 9.2 million acres, down 500,000 acres from last year. The average farm in Michigan was 208 acres per farm, and that is down from 211 acres in 2011.”
The number of Michigan farms with $1 million or more in sales was 1,700 in 2022 but the highest number of farms (22,800) was in the $1,000 to $9,999 range.
David Knopf, regional director of the NASS Eastern Mountain Regional Field Office, pointed out that there were 73,500 farm operations in Kentucky, down from 74,100 the previous year.
“The number of operations producing $1 million or more held steady at 1,200 over the past two years,” he said. “There was no change in the number of farm operations (43,200) producing between $1,000 to $9,999 the past two years. The biggest decrease came in those operations which produced $10,000 to $99,999, falling from 24,300 in 2021 to 23,700 in 2022.”
According to Cheryl Turner, state statistician of the NASS field office in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, the number of farms in Ohio in 2022 was 76,500, down from 76,900 in 2021. Land in farms was 13.1 million acres, down 400,000 acres from the previous year. The average farm size for 2022 is 446 acres, up from 445 acres the previous year.
Illinois State Statistician Mark Schleusener reported there were 70,700 farms on 27 million acres in the state in 2022. There were 70,900 farms in the state in 2021. The average farm consisted of 382 acres in 2022, up from 381 the year before.
“Illinois farmland covers 27 million acres, or about 75 percent of the state’s total acreage,” he said. “The large number of farms, coupled with the diversity of commodities produced, makes it difficult to describe a typical operation.”
Most of Illinois’ farm acreage is devoted to grain, mainly corn and soybeans. About 3 percent of Illinois farms have swine. Beef cows are found on about 22 percent of farms, while about 1 percent have dairy cows.
Nationwide, the number of farms in the U.S. for 2022 is estimated at 1,002,700, down 9,350 farms from 2021. The total land in farms, at 893,400,000 acres, decreased 1.9 million acres from 2021. The average farm size for 2022 is 446 acres, up from 445 acres the previous year.
Dr. Michael Langemeier, professor of agriculture economics at Purdue University, says the decline in the number of farms across the county has been going on for several decades.
“When you see a disappearance of farms, a lot of times it’s because people are retiring from the farm and there is nobody there to take over, or something similar to that,” he said. “The size of farms is increasing due to growing productivity with the use of precision agriculture. Those are going to be labor-saving technologies and so you’re probably going to see a reduction in the number of farmers in production agriculture, and an increase in output.”