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February 26, 2014
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U.S. Ag Census Report: 75-and-up age bracket sees largest growth in Colo. farmers

The preliminary report of the U.S. Ag Census released this past week might have done little to calm any concerns about the aging farmer — including such worries in Colorado.

The full report, which is released every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and includes in-depth, county-by-county breakdowns of ag production, won’t be released until the spring.

However, the USDA did put out a preliminary report this past week, comparing some of its 2012 figures to 2007 numbers. Among the numbers that stood out was the continued growth in the older age brackets for farmers in Colorado and nationwide.

In Colorado, the average age of the farmer increased from 57 years old in 2007 up to 58.9 years old in 2012.

Percentage wise, the age group that saw the biggest increase in numbers was farmers 75 years and older, seeing a 15.1 percent jump, from 3,907 farmers in 2007 up to 4,497 in 2012.

Seeing the next biggest percentage increases were the 55 to 64 age group, which saw an upswing of 11.8 percent, from 9,719 farmers in 2007 up to 10,873 farmers in 2012, and the 65 to 74 age group, which saw an increase of 11.6 percent, from 7,017 farmers in 2007 up to 7,829 farmers in 2012.

Seeing the biggest decrease in Colorado was the 45 to 54 age group, which dropped by 24.5 percent, from 10,449 farmers in 2007 down to 7,809 in 2012.

Many agriculture and economics experts have cited the aging farmer and rancher as a source of concern for rural economies. Nationwide, the recent U.S. Census preliminary report showed the average age of the farmer increased as well, from 57.1 years old in 2007 up to 58.3 years old in 2012. The age group that saw the biggest decrease in the number of farmers was 35 to 44, which dropped by 20.4 percent, from 268,818 farmers to 214,135.

The age group that saw the biggest increase across the U.S. was 65 to 74, seeing a 7.6 percent increase, from 412,182 farmers in 2007 up to 443,558 in 2012.

Farmers 75 years and older increased nationwide by 5.8 percent, from 243,472 in 2007 up to 257,697 in 2012.

In other categories:

Farm and land

Colorado

» The number of farms decreased by about 2.4 percent, from 37,054 farms in 2007 to 36,180 in 2012.

» However, the total amount of land in farms increased slightly, by less than 1 percent, from 31.6 million acres in 2007 up to 31.9 million in 2012.

» The average size of the farm increased by 3.4 percent, from 853 acres in 2007 up to 881 in 2012.

Nationwide

» Across the United States, the number of farms decreased by 4.3 percent, from about 2.2 million farms in 2007 down to about 2.1 million in 2012.

» The total acres in farms and ranches decreased by less than 1 percent, from about 922.1 million acres in 2007 down to about 914.6 million acres in 2012.

» The average size of the U.S. farm increased by about 3.8 percent, from 418 acres in 2007 up to 434 acres in 2012.

Value of Goods

Colorado

» Largely because of an increase in crop prices, the total market value of agricultural products sold, combined with government payments to farmers, saw a 28.3 percent increase, from about $6.1 billion in 2007 up to $7.8 billion in 2012.

» The average market value of ag products sold and government payments per farm increased 31.4 percent, from $163,576 in 2007 to $214,957 in 2012.

» The value of all crops sold jumped nearly 22.9 percent, from $1.98 billion in 2007 up to $2.43 billion in 2012.

» The value of livestock sold jumped nearly 31 percent, from nearly $4.1 billion in 2007 up to $5.34 billion in 2012.

Nationwide

» The total market value of agricultural products sold, combined with government payments to farmers, saw a 32.8 percent increase, from $297.2 billion in 2007 to $394.6 billion in 2012.

» The average market value of ag products sold and government payments per U.S. farm increased 38.8 percent, from taking in $134,807 in 2007 to taking in $187,093 in 2012.

» The value of crops sold jumped nearly 48 percent, from $143.7 billion in 2007 up to $212.4 billion in 2012.

» The value of livestock sold jumped 18.7 percent, from $153.6 billion in 2007 up to $182.2 billion in 2012.

Government Payments

Colorado

» Government payments to farmers increased by about 6.2 percent, from about $156 million in 2007 up to $165.6 million in 2012.

Nationwide

» Government payments to farmers increased by less than 1 percent, from $7.98 billion in 2007 up to $8.05 billion in 2012.

Economic Class of Farms

Colorado

» Because of increases in price for a number of commodities and increases in land values, the number of farms in the “$1 million and up” economic class saw the biggest increase in numbers, jumping by 25.4 percent, from 765 farms in that class in 2007 to 959 farms in 2012.

Nationwide

» The number of farms in the $1 million and up economic class experienced the biggest increase in numbers, jumping by 42.4 percent, from 57,292 farms in 2007 up to 81,634 farms in 2007.


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My Windsor Now Updated Feb 26, 2014 12:01AM Published Mar 1, 2014 01:13AM Copyright 2014 My Windsor Now. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.