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Results from 2012 Census of Agriculture reveal positive findings for Virginia

virginia-blue-oversizeOn May 2, the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released final figures from the 2012 Census of Agriculture. These final results follow preliminary figures released by Governor McAuliffe on February 24 indicating many growth areas in Virginia agriculture. According to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), the final results confirm those earlier figures and reveal several key trends for Virginia:

·     The market value of all agriculture products sold was $3.75 billion, up 29 percent from $2.91 billion in 2007

·     The market value for crops sold was $1.36 billion, up 58.5 percent from $858 million in 2007

·     The market value for livestock sold was 2.39 billion, up 16.9 percent from 2.05 billion in 2007

·     The average value of agriculture products sold per farm was $81,540 compared to $61,334 in 2007.

“This is exciting news for Virginia’s agricultural producers,” said Todd Haymore, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry. “Agriculture is Virginia’s largest industry, and today we learned that in market value and other areas, the industry has grown considerably since the last census in 2007.  While the number of farms declined during the last five years, we actually have more acreage in farms now than then. There are still challenges facing our family farms and producers, but I’m hopeful that as the global economy improves we’ll continue to see more opportunities for our diversified agricultural economy to grow and prosper.”

Key statistics from Virginia include:

· Land in farms, 8.30 million acres, is up 2.4 percent from 8.10 million acres in 2007

· In 2012, the number of farms in Virginia totaled 46,030, down 2.9 percent (or 1,353 farms) from 47,383 farms in 2007

· The average size of a Virginia farm was 180 acres compared to 171 acres in 2007

· The average age of the principal farm operator was 59.5 years, compared to 58.2 years in 2007

· There were 38,377 principal male operators and 7,653 principal female operators in 2012, compared to 39,537 male and 7,846 female in 2007.

The National Agricultural Statistics Services (NASS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture released census figures May 2 for the entire nation. The census results share a wide-range of information about what agricultural products were raised in the United States in 2012, and where, how and by whom these products were grown. The data, which is reported at the national, state and county level, will help farmers, ranchers, local officials, agribusinesses and others make decisions for the future.

“The 2012 Census of Agriculture provides a wide range of demographic, economic, land, crop and livestock production information as well as first-time or expanded data,” said Herman Ellison, Virginia’s State Statistician with NASS. “Many of these data about Virginia and our counties are only collected and reported as part of the every-five-year census.”

To provide easier access to the data, NASS created a number of online tools for people to find and use census data, including: Quick Stats 2.0 – an online database to retrieve customized tables (a new tutorial video provides easy-to-follow instructions); API – a tool for developer; Agricultural Atlas Maps – profiles of the nation’s agriculture at the county-level in a series of multicolor pattern and dot maps and Desktop Data Query Tool- a downloadable desktop tool to analyze data without internet access once you have downloaded and installed this tool.

For more information about the Census of Agriculture including all the final 2012 Census of Agriculture results, and tools to access and share the data, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov.

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