Million-dollar farms in U.S. on the rise

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Reuters) — 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 figures were part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’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.

The number of farms in the United States fell 4.3 percent to about 2.1 million, continuing a long-term decline.

Four percent of U.S. farms had sales and government payments of $1 million or more in 2012, compared to two percent in the previous census.

However, most U.S. farms are considered small, with 75 percent generating annual sales of less than $50,000.

Agricultural sales per farm averaged $187,000 in 2012, up more than $52,000 from 2007, or 39 percent.

U.S. farms sold nearly $395 billion in agricultural products in 2012, up 33 percent from five years earlier.


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