Staff reports

Census: Weld County falls to No. 9 in U.S. for total ag sales; Colorado reaches top 10 in livestock

Weld County remains a top 10 ag-producing county in the nation, but has fallen one spot since the last time the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its last comprehensive report.

The full 2012 U.S. Census of Agriculture report was released Friday, showing Weld County is now No. 9 in the U.S. for the value of its total ag production.

The last U.S. Census of Agriculture, which was released in 2007, had Weld County at No. 8.

As was the case in the last census, California accounts for all nine of the other top 10 counties.

Fresno County, Calif., was number one in the U.S., with nearly $5 billion in sales in 2012 — greater than that of 23 states.

Although Weld County fell in rank, its value of ag production didn’t dip.

Weld’s total ag sales in 2012 was valued at about $1.86 billion — up by about $320 million from 2007, more than a 20 percent increase.

Other Colorado numbers from the U.S. Census of Agriculture

• Weld County, Colo., ranked No. 1 for its number of sheep and lambs, with 204,694 head. And Weld County was tops by a long shot. Second-place Kern County, Calif., had 114,571 head.

• Colorado was No. 10 in the U.S. in livestock sales. Going back to the 2007 Ag Census, Colorado didn’t make the top 10.

• Colorado ranked fifth nationally for its number of Hispanic farm operators.

• In Colorado, the average age of the farmer increased from 57 years old in 2007 up to 58.9 years old in 2012.

• Percentage-wise, the age group that saw the biggest increase in numbers was farmers 75 years and older, seeing a 15.1 percent jump, from 3,907 farmers in 2007 up to 4,497 in 2012. Seeing the biggest decrease in Colorado was the 45 to 54 age group, which dropped by 24.5 percent, from 10,449 farmers in 2007 down to 7,809 in 2012.

• The number of farms decreased by about 2.4 percent, from 37,054 farms in 2007 to 36,180 in 2012.

• However, the total amount of land in farms increased slightly, by less than 1 percent, from 31.6 million acres in 2007 up to 31.9 million in 2012.

• The average size of the farm increased by 3.4 percent, from 853 acres in 2007 up to 881 in 2012.

• Largely because of an increase in crop prices, the total market value of agricultural products sold, combined with government payments to farmers, saw a about 28 percent increase, from about $6.1 billion in 2007 up to $7.8 billion in 2012. (However, while sales increased, so, too, did production expenses. Nationally, farmers saw total input costs increase from $241.1 billion in 2007 to $328.9 billion in 2012.)

Nationally ...

• Still today, only 69.6 percent of farms have internet access, but that’s an increase from 2007, when only 56.5 percent of farms had internet access.

• 87 percent of all U.S. farms are operated by families or individuals.

• Principal operators were on average 58.3 years old and were predominantly male; second operators were slightly younger and most likely to be female; and third operators were younger still.

• Young, beginning principal operators who reported their primary occupation as farming increased 11.3 percent from 36,396 to 40,499 between 2007 and 2012.

• All categories of minority-operated farms increased between 2007 and 2012; the Hispanic-operated farms had a significant 21 percent increase.

• 57,299 farms produced on-farm renewable energy, more than double the 23,451 in 2007.

• Corn and soybean acres topped 50 percent of all harvested acres for the first time.

• The largest category of operations was beef cattle with 619,172 or 29 percent of all farms and ranches in 2012 specializing in cattle.

• Across the United States, the number of farms decreased by 4.3 percent, from about 2.2 million farms in 2007 down to about 2.1 million in 2012.

• The total acres in farms and ranches decreased by less than 1 percent, from about 922.1 million acres in 2007 down to about 914.6 million acres in 2012.

• The average size of the U.S. farm increased by about 3.8 percent, from 418 acres in 2007 up to 434 acres in 2012.

Top 3 States In Number of Farms

Texas — 248,809

Missouri — 99,171

Iowa — 88,637

TOP 3 STATES VALUE OF PRODUCTION

California — $42.6 billion

Iowa — $30.8 billion

Texas — $25.4 billion

Total Value of Agricultural Products Sold

2007 — $297.2 billion

2012 — $394.6 billion

Value of Crops sold

2007 — $143.6 billion

2012 — $212.4 billion

Value of Livestock sold

2007 — $153.6 billion

2012 — $182.2 billion

Average Sales per Farm

2007 — $134,807

2012 — $187,097

Government Payments Received

2007 — $8 billion

2012 — $8.1 billion

Production Expenses

2007 — $241.1 billion

2012 — $328.9 billion

Net Cash Farm Income

2007 — $74.6 billion

2012 — $92.3 billion

TOP 3 PRODUCTION EXPENSES

Feed — $75.7 billion (up 54.2 percent from 2007)

Non-breeding livestock — $37.2 billion (up 8 percent from 2007)

Fertilizer — $28.5 billion (up 57.6 percent from 2007)

Top 3 Land-Use Practices

Conventional Tillage — 105.7 million acres

No-Till — 96.5 million acres

Conservation Tillage — 76.6 million acres

TOP BEEF COW COUNTY

Cherry County, Neb. (135,852 head)

TOP MILK COW COUNTY

Tulare County, Calif. (489,436 head)

TOP WHEAT COUNTY

Whitman County, Wa. (32.9 million acres)

TOP CORN COUNTY

Kossuth County, Iowa (52 million acres)

TOP LAND-IN-VEGETABLES COUNTY

Monterey County, Calif. (261,546 acres)

TOP SOYBEAN COUNTY

Cass County, N.D. (16 million acres)

TOP HOG COUNTY

Duplin County, N.C. (6.7 million head sold)

TOP GOAT COUNTY

Sutton County, Texas (55,139)


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The Fence Post Updated May 5, 2014 11:38AM Published May 5, 2014 11:02AM Copyright 2014 The Fence Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.