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Illinois farm consolidation down, average farmer age up

The 2017 Census of Ag data showed Illinois farm consolidation rates are down and the average age of the farmer is up.

Illinois Farm Bureau economist Mike Doherty says there was very little increase in the number of farms with 2,000 acres or more, showing that consolidation rates have slowed down in the last decade.

“Here in Illinois, 96% of our farms are family owned businesses. From that standpoint it was good to see that we have not had a rapid increase in consolidation.”

And, in the last ten years, the average age of the Illinois farmer has increased from 54.5 to 58. Doherty says he thinks technology like auto steer has influenced this change.

“That is allowing older producers to stay engaged in these farming businesses and so that is playing a role with these numbers.”

Illinois was number one in soybean, pumpkin and horseradish production, second in corn production, fourth in hog inventory and had the highest census response rate in the country at 78%.

Doherty says Illinois Farm Bureau appreciates farmer participation because census data allows them to create programs and work for the changing needs of the state’s farmers.

Interview with Mike Doherty

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