Wednesday, May 6, 2009

2007 Agricultural Census

Well, the results are in! Yes, the 2007 Agricultural Census is available. Some of the results are not at all surprising to us, and others are enough to win a trivial pursuit game, so we'll share those too.

The Census of Agriculture is conducted by the USDA's National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS) every five years. It takes a complete count of U.S. farms and the people who operate them. It also examines land use, operator characteristics, production practices, and farm income/expenditures.

The link above provides data on the PA level, however, you can also obtain data on a national level and county level.

Some of the highlights include:
  • There were 63,163 farms in PA in 2007 (up 9% from 2002).
  • The counties with the largest increase in farms were Montour, Philadelphia, and Wyoming (each up more than 80%).
  • The counties who lost farms were Chester, Lehigh, Susquehanna and Washington (down 9% or more).
  • PA farms sold more than $5.8 billion in agricultural products.
  • 51% of the above sales figure occurred in the counties of Adams, Berks, Chester, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon and York.
  • Farms with sales between $25,000 to $49,999 increased the fastest (25%).
  • Farms with sales between $50,000 to $99,999 had the largest decrease (20%).
  • 40 of PA's 67 counties gained farmland. The counties with the largest increases? Delaware, Forest and Pike (50% or more).
  • 29 counties lost farmland, among them Susquehanna, Washington and Wayne had the greatest decline (more than 15%).
  • In 2002, the average cost of fuel per acre was $16.20...in 2007 it was $31.45 per acre.
  • PA has 680 organic farms (ranking PA 6th in the nation in terms of organic farming).
  • Women were the principal operators of 8,550 farms (13% of all farms)--an increase of 41% over 2002 figures.
  • 46% of all PA farms have barns built before 1960 (being a barn enthusiast, I find this interesting--just in case you are wondering why I threw it in).
  • 379 farms in PA marketed products through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Lancaster and Chester counties had the most CSAs.
  • Bradford County and Fulton County have more cows than people (this is for the trivial pursuit game).

For more information on the Census of Agriculture, be sure to visit the link above.

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