CENSUS OF AGRICULTURE IN THE BAY STATE

By Bob Katzen

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its findings from the 2017 U.S. Census of Agriculture last week. Key findings about Massachusetts farms include a 514 drop in the number of farms in Massachusetts — from 7,755 in 2012 to 7,241 today; and a decrease of 31,864 in the acres covered by farms from 523,517 in 2012 to 491,653 today. This census is done every five years.

“We were disappointed, but not surprised, to learn that the number of farming operations in Massachusetts has decreased from 2012 to 2017 by about 500 farms,” said Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation President Mark Amato. “With a crippling drought a few years ago, increasing expenses and increasingly tough regulations, agriculture in the commonwealth has been hard hit.”

“However, there were still some bright spots to this report, including that there are 1,238 young producers under the age of 35 who farm 73,389 acres in the commonwealth,” continued Amato. “While this hasn’t been measured before, it is refreshing to see this large number of young folks interested in farming.”

Here are some other numbers from the census of the Bay State’s farming industry:

3,538

The number of new and beginning producers in Massachusetts who farm 126,026 acres.

5,572

Number of female producers who farm 284,208 acres in Massachusetts

204

The number of organic farms in Massachusetts

$32.8 million

The dollar increase in the sale of organic products

$10,894

The value per acre of Massachusetts farmland

1,435

The number of operations that are harvesting renewable energy. This is an increase of 970 from the 2012 total of 465- The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its findings from the 2017 U.S. Census of Agriculture last week. Key findings about Massachusetts farms include a 514 drop in the number of farms in Massachusetts — from 7,755 in 2012 to 7,241 today; and a decrease of 31,864 in the acres covered by farms from 523,517 in 2012 to 491,653 today. This census is done every five years.

“We were disappointed, but not surprised, to learn that the number of farming operations in Massachusetts has decreased from 2012 to 2017 by about 500 farms,” said Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation President Mark Amato. “With a crippling drought a few years ago, increasing expenses and increasingly tough regulations, agriculture in the commonwealth has been hard hit.”

“However, there were still some bright spots to this report, including that there are 1,238 young producers under the age of 35 who farm 73,389 acres in the commonwealth,” continued Amato. “While this hasn’t been measured before, it is refreshing to see this large number of young folks interested in farming.”

Here are some other numbers from the census of the Bay State’s farming industry:

3,538

The number of new and beginning producers in Massachusetts who farm 126,026 acres.

5,572

Number of female producers who farm 284,208 acres in Massachusetts

204

The number of organic farms in Massachusetts

$32.8 million

The dollar increase in the sale of organic products

$10,894

The value per acre of Massachusetts farmland

1,435

The number of operations that are harvesting renewable energy. This is an increase of 970 from the 2012 total of 465

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