The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) just released the final 2012 Census of Agriculture results sharing a wide-range of information about agriculture at the national, state, and county level. This census provides a wide range of demographic, economic, land, and crop and livestock production information. Much of the Iowa data is only collected and reported as part of this every-five-year census.
According to Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, “The results again show the tremendous economic impact of agriculture on our state’s economy and the importance of Iowa agriculture nationally. It also contains valuable information about the conservation practices used on farms, showing that farmers use no-till or conservation tillage on two-thirds of their crop acres.”
The overall number of U.S. farmers dropped 4.3% from 2007, to 2.1 million. The 2012 Census of Agriculture data show the following key trends for Iowa.
- In 2012, the value of agricultural products sold by Iowa farmers totaled $30.8 billion, up nearly 51 percent or $10.4 billion from 2007. Crop sales accounted for $17.4 billion of the total and livestock sales accounted for $13.4 billion, up 68 and 34 percent, respectively, from 2007.
- Iowa ranked 2nd nationally for total value of agricultural products, crop sales, and livestock sales in 2012, with Iowa moving up one position from 2007 for each item.
- Farmers in Sioux, Lyon, and Kossuth counties had the largest value of sales in 2012, with Kossuth county ranking as the top corn producing county in the U.S. and Sioux county ranking 3rd nationally for the number of hogs and pigs sold.
- Farmers spent a total of $23.7 billion on production expenses in 2012, up nearly 54 percent from the $15.4 billion in 2007.
- The amount of land operated by Iowa farmers declined by less than one percent between 2007 and 2012, from 30.7 million acres.
- Farmers harvested crops from 24.5 million acres in 2012 with no-till practices used on 6.95 million acres and conservation tillage practices used on 8.76 million acres.
- The average farm size of the 88,637 Iowa farms was 345 acres in 2012.
For more information about the Census of Agriculture, including all the final 2012 Census of Agriculture results, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov.