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Number of Farms in U.S. Drops as Acreage Size Grows

The number of farms in the U.S. for 2016 is estimated at 2.06 million, down 8,000 farms from 2015, according to USDA data released today.

Total land in farms, at 911 million acres, decreased 1 million acres from 2015.

The average farm size for 2016 is 442 acres, up 1 acre from the previous year.

The number of farms in sales class $250,000 - $499,999 increased, while all other sales classes declined slightly.

The data shows that 50% of all farms had less than $10,000 in sales; 80% of all farms had less than $100,000 in sales; and 8% of all farms had sales of $500,000 or more.  

Land in farms, at 911 million acres, was down 1 million acres from 2015. The biggest changes for 2016 are that producers in Sales Class $250,000-$499,999 operated 1.29 million more acres, and those in Sales Class $1,000,000-or-more operated 1.01 million fewer acres.

Similar to the previous year, in 2016 nearly 31% of all farmland was operated by farms with less than $100,000 in sales; 41% of all farmland was operated by farms with sales of $500,000 or more.

The average farm size continued to increase in 2016 as the number of farms declined more than land in farms. The overall average size increased by 1 acre to 442 acres per farm. Average farm sizes increased in the $10,000 - $99,999; $250,000 - $499,999; and $500,000 - $999,999 sales classes and decreased in the others.

Average farm size by sales class are:

  • Sales Class $1,000 - $9,999: 84 acres
  • Sales Class $10,000 - $99,999: 309 acres
  • Sales Class $100,000 - $249,999: 896 acres
  • Sales Class $250,000 - $499,999: 1,296 acres
  • Sales Class $500,000 - $999,999: 1,897 acres
  • Sales Class $1,000,000 or more: 2,656 acres
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