Home > News > Press Releases
For Immediate Release: Contact:

Hope Gruzlovic

The USDA has released its 1997 Census of Agriculture, which shows that the 9,101 farms1 counted in New Jersey sold $697.4 million worth of agricultural products in 1997. The data also revealed that part-time farming continues to play a significant role in the Garden State, with 38 percent of farm operators working 200 days or more off the farm.

According to the census, 61 percent of New Jersey farms sold less than $10,000 worth of agricultural products in 1997, unchanged from the 1992 census, while 37 percent of the farms recorded sales of less than $2,500 in 1997. The 1997 census revealed other facts about New Jersey's agriculture including:
  • 43 percent of the state's farm operators considered farming to be their principal occupation. There were 833,000 acres of farmland in state. The average size of a New Jersey farm was 91 acres. Two-thirds of the state=s farms cover less than 50 acres.
  • The average age of a farm operator was 55 years.
Every five years, the Census of Agriculture takes a snapshot of America's agriculture. As the only source of comprehensive, comparable statistics for every county in the nation, the census is an invaluable tool for assessing trends and determining current needs of farmers and ranchers at the local level.

The census also shows national trends and averages. For example, the 1997 census counted 1,911,859 farming operations in the nation compared to 1,925,300 in 1992. From 1992 to 1997, average farm size decreased nationwide from 491 to 487 acres and the average expenses per farm rose from $67,928 to $78,771. Nationally, the average value of products sold jumped from $84,459 to $102,970.

These facts and more for every county and state are now available from the 1997 Census of Agriculture Highlights Tables on the USDA/NASS website at http://www.usda.gov/nass/. More detailed census reports will be released on March 20, 1999 on the Internet, on CD-ROM, and in printed publications. For more information call 1-800-328-0179.

1A farm is defined as any place which produced and sold, or normally would have sold, $1,000 or more of agricultural products during the reference year.