Census of Agriculture highlights continued trends in Indiana

The 2017 Census of Ag shows that the number of farms in Indiana are down, and medium-sized farms saw the biggest declines.

Bob White is the director of national government relations with Indiana Farm Bureau.

“We’ve seen the squeeze in medium-sized farms,” he says. “We’ve seen an increase in the number of smaller farms and an increase in the largest farms. So, that’s the continuation of a trend that’s been going on for quite awhile.”

He tells Brownfield he thinks the growth in small and large famers will continue.

“When the margins get really, really tight as they are right now, the only way to increase is to raise more livestock or have more acres of crops,” he says.

White says another trend is that most farms are still family farms.

“The other trend that has stayed fairly steady is that 96 percent of farms are still family-owned,” he says.

He says the census also showed an increase in young, beginning, and women farmers.

“A lot of the questions I’ve received over the last 5-7 years have been from young people on how to get started and involved and from women on how to get started,” he says. “You’re seeing more and more of those types of groups pop up in various parts of Indiana and throughout the nation.”

White says another key takeaway is some 105,000 farms accounted for 75 percent of all sales in 2017. That’s down from nearly 120,000 in 2012.

The Census of Agriculture is conducted once every five years.

Audio: Bob White, Indiana Farm Bureau

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