2017 Census of Agriculture data now available

usdaThe Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, in partnership with the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, announced the first look at state and national data from the 2017 Census of Agriculture.

The 2017 Ag Census includes new information about Virginia farms and ranches and those who operate them, including first-time data about on-farm decision making, down to the county level.

For Virginia, the 2017 Ag Census market value for products sold is up six percent from 2012. The market for livestock sold is $2.60 billion, which is up 8.6 percent from $2.39 billion in 2012. The market value for crops is $1.36 billion, which is up slightly from 2012.

“The 2017 Census of Agriculture provides a wide range of demographic, economic, land, crop and livestock production information,” said VDACS Commissioner Dr. Jewel Bronaugh. “This is vitally important information as much of the data about Virginia and our counties are only collected and reported as part of the every-five-year census.”

“The Census shows new data that can be compared to previous censuses for insights into agricultural trends and changes down to the county level,” said NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “We are pleased to share first-time data on topics such as military status and on-farm decision making. To make it easier to delve into the data, we are pleased to make the results available in many online formats including a new data query interface, as well as traditional data tables.”

Some key Virginia data include:

  • Market value of agriculture products sold was $3.96 billion, up 6 percent from $3.75 billion in 2012.
  • The average value of agriculture products sold per farm was $91,625, compared to $81,540 in 2012.
  • The average size of a farm in Virginia was 180 acres, no change when compared to 2012.
  • In 2017, the number of farms in Virginia totaled 43,225, down 6.1 percent from 46,030 farms in 2012.
  • Land in farms, 7.80 million acres, down 6.1 percent from 8.30 acres in 2012.

For the 2017 Census of Agriculture, NASS changed the demographic questions to better represent the roles of all persons involved in on-farm decision making. As a result, in 2017 the number of all producers totaled 70,594, up 2.4 percent from 2012.

Other demographic data include:

  • The number of female producers totaled 25,509, up 18 percent from 2012.
  • The number of male producers totaled 45,085, down 4.8 percent when compared to 2012.
  • The average age of the all producers was 58.5 years, compared to 57.2 years in 2012.
  • The young producers (age 35 years or less) totaled 5,996 or 8.5 percent of all producers.
  • The number of producers who served in the military was 9,217 or 13 percent of all producers.
  • The new and beginning producers (10 years or less on any farm) totaled 18,957 or 27 percent of all producers.

Results are available in many online formats including video presentations, a new data query interface, maps, and traditional data tables. To address questions about the 2017 Census of Agriculture data, @USDA_NASS will host a live Twitter “Ask the Census Experts” #StatChat on Friday, April 12 at 1 p.m. ET. All Census of Agriculture information is available at www.nass.usda.gov/AgCensus.

The Census tells the story of American agriculture and is an important part of our history. First conducted in 1840 in conjunction with the decennial Census, the Census of Agriculture accounts for all U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. After 1920, the Census happened every four to five years. By 1982, it was regularly conducted once every five years. Today, NASS sends questionnaires to nearly 3 million potential U.S. farms and ranches. Nearly 25 percent of those who responded did so online. Conducted since 1997 by USDA NASS – the federal statistical agency responsible for producing official data about U.S. agriculture – it remains the only source of comprehensive agricultural data for every state and county in the nation and is invaluable for planning the future.

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