Skip to main content

Minnesota farms are fewer, larger; farmers are older


The U.S. Department of Agriculture provided a look at the nation's farms with its preliminary 2012 Census of Agriculture, a review that it produces twice every decade.

The Associated Press reports the snapshot, released Thursday, shows that the financial picture for those who make their living from agriculture has improved, with market values for crops, livestock and products reaching record highs. The 10 states with the most farms are Texas, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma, California, Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The survey found that long-term trends include fewer but bigger farms and an aging population of farmers. The Pioneer Press reports that much of the data pertaining to Minnesota farms is consistent with national findings. The story noted that there were 8 percent fewer farms in Minnesota in 2012 than there were five years earlier. Nationwide, there was a 4 percent drop in farm numbers in that same time period. There was a steeper decrease in the number of smaller "hobby" farms in Minnesota, with the 20 percent drop believed to be a casualty of the recession.

In the national survey, the average farmer's age is 58.3 years old. Minnesota farmers are slightly younger, averaging 56.6 years of age. But in the last study, the average age of Minnesota farmers was 55.3 years.

The number of Minnesota farms with $1 million in sales nearly doubled in the past five years, reflecting both larger operations and higher crop prices.

The survey showed growth in nontraditional elements of agriculture. While the industry is still overwhelmingly white, there's been a rise in the number of minority-operated farms. But only 14 percent of farms are operated by women.

U.S. farms sold nearly $395 billion in products in 2012, a third more than five years earlier. That averaged to about $187,000 per farm — or an increase of $52,000 over 2007 totals.

Next Up

Eric Kendricks

Vikings downgrade Eric Kendricks to out against Lions

The Vikings have also activated Michael Pierce from injured reserve.

u.s. attorney

Minnesotan sentenced after assaulting man with baseball bat

Marshall Wayne Boshey was sentenced to 30 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release.

Target store

Target's gift card discount is back, but for this weekend only

The fine print: for Target Circle members only (but membership is free).

Screen Shot 2020-06-15 at 7.11.05 AM

Minneapolis teen arrested in St. Cloud after fleeing police in stolen vehicle

The vehicle was stolen in a car-jacking in Minneapolis Thursday.

snow, blowing snow

Winter storm warnings issued with heavy snow set to slam MN

Parts of northern Minnesota could see more than a foot of snow, but there won't be much in the Twin Cities.

D'Angelo Russell

With KAT out, Timberwolves can't upset Nets

D'Angelo Russell stepped up but couldn't overcome Brooklyn's firepower.

Everson Griffen Vikings dot com

Everson Griffen confirms he has bipolar disorder

"I’ve been running from it a long time. I’m not ashamed of it anymore.”

Angela Renee Jones, St. Cloud murder suspect

St. Cloud suspect now charged in two local murder cases

Both murders happened within a day of each other in June.

st anthony 3 crop

Twin Cities police ask for help finding missing 16-year-old

Police say all her family and friends have been contacted, and none of them know where she is.

mpd suspect 12.3.21 - 1 - CROP

MPD releases photos of shooting suspect, asks for public's help

The man is wanted in connection with a fatal shooting that happened Wednesday evening.