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2012 Census of Agriculture Preliminary Data Released

For Immediate Release: February 24, 2014
Contact: Lynne Richmond            
(609) 633-2954 

(TRENTON) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture 2012 Census of Agriculture released last week shows the average New Jersey farm is larger and more productive than it was in 2007.

Preliminary data from the census show the average size of a New Jersey farm increased from 71 to 79 acres from 2007 to 2012.  The market value of products sold on those farms went up from $95,564 to $111,030 per farm.  In total, the market value of products sold on all New Jersey farms increased from $986.9 million to $1.01 billion.

“We are seeing consolidation in every industry,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher.  “Farms are expanding, becoming more diverse in operations and increasing their production.”

Between 2007 and 2012 there was a decrease in the number of the state’s smallest farms, those between one and nine acres.  That number dropped 24 percent from 2,950 to 2,237.  However, the number of farms between 50 and 179 acres increased 7 percent from 1,675 to 1,790 during that time period.

The census also showed farmers in the U.S. are getting older.  The average age of a New Jersey farmer went up from 57 in 2007 to 59 in 2012.

Conducted since 1840, the Census of Agriculture accounts for all U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. When available in May, the final report will provide even more detailed information for New Jersey providing data on all farm operators and data down to the county level. The publication also will provide new insights into the agriculture industry reporting new or expanded data on Internet access, regional food systems, biomass production, agro-forestry and equine.

To be counted in the federal census, a farm must have sold or had the potential to sell at least $1,000 worth of agricultural products.