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Iowa one of the few states to see farms increase in 2022 Ag Census
 
By Michele F. Mihaljevich
Indiana Correspondent

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana leads the states in gourd production, a category that didn’t exist separately until the 2022 Census of Agriculture.
In previous census years, gourd production was listed under “other vegetables.” Indiana was credited with 304 acres in gourd production in 2022. Nationally, there were 1,890 acres of gourds harvested. In the region, Ohio (ranked no. 3) had 140 acres and Michigan, 101 (no. 5).
The Hoosier state also ranked no. 1 in production of popcorn and ducks; no. 2 for pumpkins; no. 3 for spearmint and turkeys; no. 4 for peppermint and soybeans; and no. 5 for corn and hogs. The value of agricultural production in the state was $18 billion, according to the census.
“This data shows that agriculture remains a pillar of the Indiana economy with the total value of agriculture production growing 62 percent over the five-year period,” Indiana Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, secretary of agriculture and rural development, said in a release. “The Census of Agriculture is all encompassing, and it allows us to compare ourselves to fellow states, whether that is in ranking of commodities, prices, demographics and more.”
Many of the other states in Farm World’s primary readership area also ranked high nationwide in various commodities. Iowa was no. 1 in corn and hogs, no. 2 in soybeans, and no. 8 in turkeys. Illinois was no. 1 in soybeans, no. 2 in corn, no. 4 in hogs, and no. 7 in ducks. Ohio was no. 5 in ducks, no. 6 in soybeans, no. 7 in corn and turkeys, and no. 8 in hogs and maple production. Michigan was no. 6 in maple production.
Iowa was one of just a handful of states to gain farms in the 2022 census. The number of farms in the state rose 0.9 percent.
“From 2017 to 2022, the number of farms in Iowa increased, which is encouraging,” Dr. Christopher Pudenz, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation economics and research manager, told Farm World. “The number of farms in Iowa decreased from the 2007 census through the 2017 census, so only time will tell whether or not this is the start of a trend reversal.
“Similarly, the average Iowa farm size in the 2022 census was 345 acres, down from 355 in 2017. This is a small change, but when (national headlines say) ‘America has fewer farms, bigger farms and less farmland,’ it’s notable to be the outlier.”
Pudenz said it’s hard to say for sure why the state retained farms while most states did not.
“Iowa’s crop farmers did have a very strong couple of years in 2021 and 2022 due to high corn and soybean prices,” he said. “Given that Iowa ranked first in corn production and second in soybean production in 2022, this undoubtedly has something to do with Iowa’s increased number of farms.
“That said, other Corn Belt states lost farms, so it can’t be the whole picture. I think this is where livestock factors in, with Iowa ranking first in hog inventory.”
Iowa ranked second nationwide – behind California – in total value of agricultural production. Illinois was sixth and Indiana ninth.
Iowa is blessed to have soils that are some of the most productive and resilient in the world, Pudenz noted. Those soils allow the state to grow large quantities of corn and soybeans, which are valuable in their own right, but that also serve as inputs for value-added products such as pork and beef, he said. These value-added industries have developed in the state alongside row crop production to a greater degree than many other states, Pudenz pointed out.
Ohio lost a “staggering” 1,796 farms from 2017 to 2022, Ty Higgins, senior director of communications and media relations for Ohio Farm Bureau, told Farm World. The state lost more than 300,000 farm acres over the five years.
“This decline in farm numbers and acreage is alarming and indicative of the challenges our farmers are facing,” he explained. “Increased regulations, rising supply costs, labor shortages and weather disasters have all contributed to squeezing farmers to the point where many find it economically unsustainable to continue their operations.”
Despite the drop in number of farms and amount of farmland, the value of agricultural production in the state rose to $15.4 billion.
“With each growing season, farmers are learning how to be more efficient in many ways,” Higgins said. “By using state-of-the-art technology to place nutrients, laser-focused precision tools to protect crops and water, and the latest weather adapting seed traits available to them, farmers have been able to find their own path to sustainability.”

States by the numbers
Illinois - number of farms: 71,123 in 2022, 72,651 in 2017; land in farms: 26.3 million acres in 2022, 27 million in 2017; value of agricultural production: $26.4 billion in 2022, $17 billion in 2017.
Indiana - number of farms: 53,599 in 2022, 56,649 in 2017; land in farms: 14.6 million acres in 2022, 14.97 million in 2017; value of agricultural production: $18 billion in 2022, $11.1 billion in 2017.
Iowa - number of farms: 86,911 in 2022, 86,104 in 2017; land in farms: nearly 30 million acres in 2022, 30.56 million in 2017; value of agricultural production: $43.9 billion in 2022, nearly $29 billion in 2017.
Kentucky - number of farms: 69,425 in 2022, 75,966 in 2017; land in farms: 12.4 million acres in 2022, 12.96 million in 2017; value of agricultural production: $8 billion in 2022, $5.7 billion in 2017.
Michigan - number of farms: 45,581 in 2022, 47,641 in 2017; land in farms: 9.5 million acres in 2022, 9.8 million in 2017; value of agricultural production: $12.2 billion in 2022, $8.2 billion in 2017.
Ohio - number of farms: 76,009 in 2022, 77,805 in 2017; land in farms: 13.7 million acres in 2022, 13.97 million in 2017; value of agricultural production: $15.4 billion in 2022, $9.3 billion in 2017.
Tennessee - number of farms: 63,105 in 2022, 69,983 in 2017; land in farms: 10.7 million acres in 2022, 10.87 million in 2017; value of agricultural production: $5.2 billion in 2022, $3.8 billion in 2017.

3/5/2024