U.S. farm numbers down slightly, increase in largest three sales class
February 19, 2008
The number of farms and ranches in Wyoming in 2007 is estimated at 8,800, according to Nancy Hussey with the Wyoming Field Office of USDA NASS. This is down 300 farms from 2006. A farm is defined as “any establishment from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were sold or would normally be sold during the year.”
Total land in farms and ranches was 34,400,000 acres, unchanged from 2005 and 2006, but down 40,000 acres or 0.1 percent from 2004 and 2003 and down from 34,500,000 in 2002, 2001 and 2000. Wyoming ranks first in the Nation in average size of farms and ranches at 3,909 acres. Arizona ranks second at 2,600 acres.
In Wyoming, there were 3,350 farms (38 percent) with less than $10,000 of agricultural sales in 2007, down 250 farms from last three years and down 350 farms from both 2003 and 2002. This group accounted for 3,300,000 acres or 10 percent of the total land.
The number of farms in the United States in 2007 is estimated at 2.08 million, 0.6 percent fewer than in 2006. Total land in farms, at 930.9 million acres, decreased 1.5 million acres, or 0.16 percent, from 2006. The average farm size was 449 acres during 2007, an increase of three acres from the previous year. The decline in the number of farms and land in farms reflects a continuing consolidation in farming operations and diversion of Agricultural land to nonagricultural uses.
Farm numbers declined in the $1,000 – $9,999 and the $10,000 -$99,999 sales classes. Farm numbers rose slightly in the three largest sales classes. The changes within the sales classes were a result of operations moving to larger sales classes by consolidation or expansion and rising incomes as result of strong commodity prices. Because of rising incomes, many farms and ranches near the top of their sales class in 2006 moved into the next higher sales class in 2007 without adding land or otherwise expanding their operations.
The largest percentage changes from 2006 occurred in the smallest and largest sales classes.
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Farm numbers declined 1.5 percent, to 1.14 million farms, in the $1,000 – $9,999 sales class. Meanwhile, farm numbers increased 4.4 percent, to 84,970 farms, in the $500,000 and over sales class. The number of farms with less than $100,000 in sales fell 1.2 percent from 2006 while the number of farms with $100,000 or more in sales rose 2.2 percent.
Land in farms also shifted from lower sales classes to higher sales classes. In the $1,000 – $9,999 sales class, land in farms dropped 1.6 percent, to 112.8 million acres, while land operated by farms in the largest sales class, $500,000 & over in sales, increased 1.8 percent, to 217.3 million acres.
Over all, the average farm size increased three acres in 2007. However, average farm sizes declined in some of the sales classes due to smaller farms moving up to higher sales classes.