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Cuyahoga County Agricultural Census Snapshot
posted by Erika Meschkat
written by Nicole Wright, OSU Extension, Cuyahoga County
Last month, the USDA released the results of 2012’s Census of Agriculture, a survey conducted every five years to collect details about our agricultural landscape, production, and farm operations. A farm, as defined by the USDA, is any place from which $1000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the census year. Land in farms includes land used for crops, pastures, and grazing, as well as some woodland such as maple trees tapped for maple syrup and land that has value for wood products. U.S. land in farms and the number of farms have been declining for decades, but the average size of a farm nationally has been increasing over time. Nationally, the average age of an American farmer continues to rise. While the number of beginning farmers (those in operation for less than 10 years) is increasing, the increase is in no way keeping pace with the number of farmers retiring. What changes need to happen to recruit and retain our future food producers?
Some highlights from 2012’s ag census:
- 40% of all U.S. land is in farms.
- The amount of land in farms in the United States declined between the 2007 and 2012 Censuses from 922 million acres to 915 million acres.
- 2% of U.S. farm land grows fruits and vegetables, while 59% grows commodity crops.This is the first time that acres of soybean and corn for grain made up more than half of all cropland harvested.
- 4.5 million acres of fruits and vegetables were harvested for sale
- 75, 462 farms (down 1% from 2007)
- 13, 960, 604 acres (0% change from 2007)
- Average size of farm, 185 acres (up 1% from 2007)
In Cuyahoga County,
- 114 farms (down 10% from 2007)
- 2608 acres (down 10% from 2007)
- Average size of farm, 23 acres (0% change from 2007)
For a complete look at the numbers, the USDA Census of Agriculture website contains links to data and analysis for 2012 and previous years: http://www.agcensus.usda.gov/
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has done a 2012 Census drilldown to look deeper into what the numbers mean: http://sustainableagriculture.net/blog/2012-agriculture-census/