WASHINGTON Feb 20 The proportion of U.S. farms
with annual sales and government payments of $1 million or more
doubled in the five years through 2012, the U.S. Department of
Agriculture said on Thursday.
The figures were part of the USDA's "Census of Agriculture,"
which surveys all U.S. farms and ranches and the people who
operate them every five years. Results of the Census form the
backbone of U.S. agricultural policy.
The Census showed average farm size rose to 434 acres from
418 acres five years earlier. Most of the decline came in
medium-sized farms, the USDA said. The number of large and very
small farms did not change significantly.
Overall, the number of farms in the United States fell 4.3
percent, to about 2.1 million, continuing a long-term decline.
In 2012, some 4 percent of U.S. farms had sales and
government payments of $1 million or more, versus 2 percent in
the previous Census.
Most U.S. farms are considered small, though, with some 75
percent generating annual sales of less than $50,000.
Overall, agricultural sales per farm averaged $187,000 in
2012, up more than $52,000 or about 39 percent over 2007.
U.S. farms sold nearly $395 billion in agricultural products
in 2012, up 33 percent from five years earlier. In that year,
when many major producing areas experienced a severe drought,
the market values of crops and livestock were at record highs.
(Reporting by Ros Krasny; Editing by Jan Paschal)