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A shift in the makeup of US farms

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Over the last three decades there has been a significant shift in the way farms are structured.  While a recent report from the Economic Research Service shows the average number of acres on crop farms has changed little over the last 30 years, the number misses an important element.

The midpoint acreage has more than doubled. That’s the point at which half of all cropland acres are on farms with more cropland and half are on farms with less.  In 1982, the midpoint acreage was 500-600 acres, and according to the most recent Census of Agriculture, the midpoint now is 1,200 acres.

The report also shows the number of mid-size farms has declined and the number of farms at the extremes, both large and small, have grown.

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