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Census: Young Farmers 12 Percent of All S.D. Producers
South Dakota Ag Connection - 04/12/2019

Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) 2017 Census of Agriculture show the number of farms in South Dakota during 2017 was 29,968, down 6 percent from the 2012 Census of Agriculture. Land in farms, at 43.2 million acres was down less than 1 percent from that reported five years prior. Land in farms account for 89.1 percent of the total land area in the state compared to 39.8 percent for the U.S. The average size of farms in South Dakota was 1,443 acres, up 7 percent or 91 acres from 2012.

The total value of agricultural products sold in 2017 was $9.7 billion, down 4 percent from 2012. Of the total value of production, 47 percent originated from livestock with 53 percent from crops. Average net income per farm was $81,763, down 20 percent from 2012.

During 2017, the average age of producers was 56.2 years compared to 54.3 years in 2012. The number of young producers, defined as age 35 or less, was 5,717, or 12 percent of all producers. The number of female producers was 14,862, or 30 percent of all producers. For 2017, data were collected from a maximum of four producers per farm, while for 2012 data were collected from a maximum of three producers per farm.

The Census of Agriculture contains numerous statistics not readily available from other sources. For example, 81 percent of South Dakota farms have Internet access compared to 75 percent for all U.S. farms. Additional information on demographics, decision making, and minor commodity statistics are also available.

In addition to State and County data publications, additional online resources are available such as a Census Data Query Tool, Agricultural Atlas, and Ag Census Highlights. Additional resources, scheduled to be available in September 2019, include Ag Census Web Maps and Zip Code Tabulations. Ranking and Profile tabulations will be available throughout 2019. All Census data products can be found at www.nass.usda.gov/AgCensus.

Results are available in many online formats including video presentations, a new data query interface, maps, and traditional data tables. To address questions about the 2017 Census of Agriculture data, @USDA_NASS will host a live Twitter "Ask the Census Experts" #StatChat on April 12 at 1 p.m. ET. All Census of Agriculture information is available at www.nass.usda.gov/AgCensus.

The Census tells the story of American agriculture and is an important part of our history. First conducted in 1840 in conjunction with the decennial Census, the Census of Agriculture accounts for all U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. After 1920, the Census happened every four to five years. By 1982, it was regularly conducted once every five years. Today, NASS sends questionnaires to nearly 3 million potential U.S. farms and ranches. Nearly 25 percent of those who responded did so online. Conducted since 1997 by USDA NASS -- the federal statistical agency responsible for producing official data about U.S. agriculture -- it remains the only source of comprehensive agricultural data for every state and county in the nation and is invaluable for planning the future.

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