Talk Nerdy To Me: 2022 Ag Census Results Available

Feb 16, 2024

The 2022 Ag Census collected 6M data points on producers, production, economics, and almost every aspect of agriculture you can imagine.


What’s the big deal? Census data might bore you just thinking about it—but this ag-focused survey can give a helpful “snapshot in time” of what’s happening with the nation’s farmland, how policy is impacting the ag sector, and potential problems on the horizon.


One of the biggest (and most worrisome?) trends this year was the decline in farmland, which Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack called a “wake-up call.”

Here are some of the other major takeaways from the census:

  • Total number of farms and ranches is down 7% from 2017, at 1.9M. There were 880M farmland acres (which accounts for 39% of all U.S. land), and the average size for each farm or ranch was 463 acres (up 5%).
  • What’s that farmland being used for? Almost 3/4 of farmland was used for two commodity categories: oilseed and grain production (32%) and beef cattle production (40%).
  • Young guns: There were 296,480 producers 35 and younger (accounting for 9% of all producers). There was also a big increase (up 11% from 2017) of farmers with a decade or less of experience (about 1M farmers in 2022). Meanwhile, the average age of all producers ticked up just a bit (up 0.6 years from 2017) to 58.1. That increase was still smaller than previous censuses’ average age increases, though.
  • Girl power: In 2022, more than a third (36%) of all producers were women, with 1.2M in 2022. There was also at least one female decision-maker on more than half (58%) of all farms.



Soundbite: “This survey is essentially asking the critical question of whether as a country are we okay with losing that many farms? Are we okay with losing that much farmland or is there a better way? That’s the importance of this survey.” — Tom Vilsack 

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