Census: Fewer But Larger Indiana Farms; Farm Operators Aging

The average age of Indiana farmers has increased in the last few years, as has the average size of the state’s farms, according to the USDA’s latest Census of Agriculture.

The USDA released data from the 2012 census this month. The results showed that the average age of Indiana farmers increased by 2.1 years over the last decade to 55.8 years old as fewer young people entered the industry.

That was a bit unexpected for some in agriculture who thought a prosperous few years for much of the industry would encourage younger people to enter the profession, said Purdue Extension agricultural economist Chris Hurt.

“There was some thought that the high incomes in recent years would have attracted more young farmers,” he said. “Since 2007, the number of Indiana farmers who were under 55 years of age declined by 13.9%, and the number 55 and over increased by 1,995, or 6.6%.”

The previous census had been conducted in 2007. Between 2007 and 2012, the number of Indiana farms declined by 3.7% to 58,695. During that same time period, Indiana farms grew in size from an average of 242 acres per farm to 251, with 75% of the state’s farms having less than 180 acres.

But while a majority of Indiana’s farms fall into the category of less than 180 acres, the number of small farms declined in the five years between censuses. The number of farms with less than 2,000 acres dropped by 2,354 or 3.9%, while the number of farms with more than 2,000 acres increased by 111, or 8.6%.

“The period from 2007 to 2012 in Indiana agriculture was one of growing incomes and growing farm wealth,” Hurt said. “But familiar long-term themes returned suggesting fewer, but larger farms with aging farm operators, and continued loss of farmlands to urbanization.”

Back in 2007, farms that annually sold at least $500,000 worth of farm products, represented just 6.9% of the state’s farms, but sold 68.2% of the state’s total farm products. In 2012, 9.3% of the state’s farms sold $500,000 or more and represented 75.7% of the state’s total farm product sales of $11.2 billion.

“This means Indiana is approaching the point where 10% of the farms are generating nearly 80% of the state’s agricultural output,” Hurt said.

Listen to Hurt discuss the number of farms and farm sizes.

Another interesting trend, Hurt said, is that census numbers showed more Indiana farmers selling farm products directly to consumers through farmers markets and other outlets.

The latest data shows that 3,673 Indiana farms were selling farm products for human consumption directly to consumers – an increase of 2.7% since 2007. But even with the increase, the value of products sold directly to consumers represented just 0.2% of the state’s total farm product sales.

Hurt pointed out a few other census highlights for Indiana:

  • Crops dominated the market value of agricultural products sold, representing 67.2% of the state’s total, compared with 32.8% for animal products.
  • Corn represented 36.3% of the state’s total agricultural production value, followed by soybeans at 26.4%, hogs at 11.4%, poultry and eggs at 10.4% and milk at 5.9%.
  • Overall production expenses rose by 45% since 2007, led by seed cost increases of 80%, fertilizer 63%, chemicals 51% and animal feed 46%.
  • The estimated value of real estate per farm rose by 55% to $1.3 million per farm.
  • Total land in farms declined by 52,788 acres, or 0.4% since 2007, mostly due to urbanization and new infrastructure, such as roads.

More information about the 2012 Census of Agriculture, including data reports, is available on the census Website.

Leave a Reply

Crop Inputs Stories

Syngenta headquarters in Basel, Switzerland
Crop InputsFortune: Inside China’s $43 Billion Bid for Food Security
April 26, 2017
(Via Fortune.com) The worst famine in human history occurred in China from 1959 to 1961. An estimated 34 million people Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsSyngenta Announces Changes in Board of Directors
April 26, 2017
ChemChina and Syngenta announced changes relating to the new Board of Directors of Syngenta following the closing of the ChemChina Read More
Crop InputsBioSafe Systems Introduces PerCarb Broad-Spectrum Bactericide / Fungicide
April 26, 2017
BioSafe Systems announces PerCarb (Sodium Carbonate Peroxyhydrate), a new alternative to potassium bicarbonate and lime sulfur products for use in Read More
Donald Trump
Crop InputsTrump Targets Agriculture with Latest Executive Order
April 26, 2017
(Via UPI.com) President Donald Trump on Tuesday took executive action in an effort to help grow the domestic agriculture industry Read More
Trending Articles
Crop InputsFlying Under the Radar No More, FMC Goes Big
April 13, 2017
Describing FMC as “under the radar,” admittedly, is probably a stretch. But in a snap of the fingers, FMC upped Read More
Young Corn Plants
Crop NutritionStill Hunting Yields
April 1, 2017
There’s no denying it — the agricultural marketplace today is undergoing a fundamental shift in fortunes. Not too many years Read More
Nutrients for Life Foundation Teacher
FertilizerNutrients For Life Foundation Celebrates 10 Years Teaching Fertilizer Education
March 23, 2017
Those in agriculture know fertilizer is a vital ingredient to grow strong, productive crops. In fact, fertilizer is responsible for Read More
AdjuvantsA New Weed-Control Era Begins: But First, One Last Obstacle
March 4, 2017
There is trepidation, there is reluctance, and there is excitement. Ag retailers feel it all about the new dicamba and Read More
LIFT Academy video screenshot
Crop InputsLIFT Agriculture Academy: A Q&A With West Central Distribution’s Dean Hendrickson
March 1, 2017
West Central Distribution recently launched its LIFT Agriculture Academy, a new, premiere training and professional development resource for West Central’s ag Read More
Farmer and aptop
Matt Hopkins10 Warning Signs Your Website Is Grossly Outdated
February 8, 2017
Your Website is often a visitor’s first impression of your ag retail business. A positive first impression can set the Read More
Latest News
ManagementWashington Update, Dow-DuPont Earnings, and the Passing…
April 27, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about the latest Beltway news, crop protection company 1st quarter numbers, and the Read More
BRANDT
CropLife 100Former PotashCorp COO Joins BRANDT Board
April 27, 2017
BRANDT has announced the appointment of another industry veteran to its board of directors. David Delaney, most recently EVP and Read More
Syngenta headquarters in Basel, Switzerland
Crop InputsFortune: Inside China’s $43 Billion Bid for Food …
April 26, 2017
(Via Fortune.com) The worst famine in human history occurred in China from 1959 to 1961. An estimated 34 million people Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsSyngenta Announces Changes in Board of Directors
April 26, 2017
ChemChina and Syngenta announced changes relating to the new Board of Directors of Syngenta following the closing of the ChemChina Read More
Crop InputsBioSafe Systems Introduces PerCarb Broad-Spectrum Bacte…
April 26, 2017
BioSafe Systems announces PerCarb (Sodium Carbonate Peroxyhydrate), a new alternative to potassium bicarbonate and lime sulfur products for use in Read More
Deere Twitter
EquipmentTop 10 Twitter Pics for #Plant17
April 26, 2017
Despite some wet weather in parts of the Midwest, growers and ag retailers are working feverishly to plant this year’s Read More
Donald Trump
Crop InputsTrump Targets Agriculture with Latest Executive Order
April 26, 2017
(Via UPI.com) President Donald Trump on Tuesday took executive action in an effort to help grow the domestic agriculture industry Read More
AGCO Ratliff featured
EquipmentAGCO Mourns Passing of Company Founder, Industry Vision…
April 25, 2017
AGCO Corp., a worldwide manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment and solutions, mourns the passing of founder and former President, Read More
Engenia soybeans
Crop InputsINNVICTIS CROP CARE Introduces VANDAL MOC Soybean Herbi…
April 25, 2017
INNVICTIS CROP CARE, LLC has announced the U.S. EPA registration for VANDAL MOC, a combination of sulfentrazone plus metolachlor. VANDAL Read More
Kochia
HerbicidesINNVICTIS CROP CARE Launches STAVE Post-Emerge Broadlea…
April 25, 2017
INNVICTIS CROP CARE, LLC has introduced STAVE as the newest addition to­ its expanding portfolio. STAVE will be a great Read More
Sonny Perdue
LegislationSonny Perdue Confirmed by Senate as Next Agriculture Se…
April 25, 2017
After months without a secretary of agriculture, the Senate voted Monday evening to confirm former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to Read More
BPIA logo
Seed/BiotechBPIA Files Comments with USDA
April 24, 2017
The Biological Products Industry Alliance (BPIA) has filed comments with the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Plant Read More
Eric SfiligojHope for Application Equipment Sales
April 24, 2017
The old saying goes that a “rising tide lifts all boats.” If this is indeed the case, then things may Read More
Stewardship video screenshot
ManagementNew Video Raises Awareness of 2,4-D Stewardship
April 24, 2017
A new public service video developed and produced by the 2,4-D Research Task Force, in conjunction with the American Soybean Read More
ManagementAn Inside Look at Award Winning Ag Retailer Gar Tooteli…
April 20, 2017
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj discusses An Inside Look at Award Winning Ag Retailer Gar Tootelian Read More
Students Soybean Field
Industry NewsMACA Announces 2017 Young Leader Scholarship Recipients
April 19, 2017
The Mid America CropLife Association (MACA) Board of Directors selected 11 college students to receive the MACA Young Leader Scholarship Read More
Growmark FS Outlet
SoftwareKnoa Software Solution Helps GROWMARK Boost System Perf…
April 19, 2017
Knoa Software, a leading provider of user experience management (UEM) software, has announced that GROWMARK, Inc., a regional agricultural cooperative Read More
Crop InputsFBN Publishes ‘Voice of the Farmer’ Agricul…
April 17, 2017
Farmer’s Business Network (FBN) released today its “The Voice of the Farmer”, which the company is describing as “a special Read More