Staff reports

Ag Census: Nebraska features three of the nation’s top five beef-cow counties

From 2007 to 2012, Nebraska was able to maintain its No. 4 ranking in the U.S. for overall ag sales.

Having three of the nation’s top five beef-cow counties in the Cornhusker State certainly played a big part in Nebraska getting there.

Cherry County, Neb., was tops in the nation with its 135,852 beef cows — easily topping second-place Okeechobee County, Fla., with 88,046.

Close behind were Holt County, Neb., (87,142 beef cows) and Custer County, Neb. (86,057).

Those numbers were part of the recently released, comprehensive U.S. Census of Agriculture, which was based on 2012 numbers.

Other Nebraska Numbers from the Ag Census

■ A national trend that has worried many farmers for years is the declining number of farms. However, the exact opposite is true in Nebraska. The number of Nebraska farms increased 4.7 percent to 49,969 from 2007 to 2012. Nationally, the number of farms decreased by 4 percent.

■ The increased number of farms comes when the average size of the Nebraska farm is declining, falling from 953 acres to 907 acres.

■ The amount of land being farmed in Nebraska also fell, nearly 148,000 acres to 45.3 million acres.

■ Nebraska saw a slight decrease in farm operator age, from 55.9 years old to 55.7 years old.

■ The state saw an increase in the number of young farmers, in the under 25 age category, and the biggest jump was in the 25 to 34 years of age category. Nebraska saw an increase of more than 1,000 operators in this category.

■ Nebraska saw an increase in female principle, operators, American Indian principle operators, Asian and Black principle operators.

■ Nebraska remained fifth in value of crops sold at $11.4 billion, up from 6.8 billion.

■ Nebraska moved from fifth to fourth in value of livestock sold, up to $11.7 billion from 8.7 billion.

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 so–ybean 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 U.S. Value of Ag Products Sold

2007 — $297.2 billion

2012 — $394.6 billion

Value of U.S. Crops sold

2007 — $143.6 billion

2012 — $212.4 billion

Value of U.S. Livestock sold

2007 — $153.6 billion

2012 — $182.2 billion

Average Sales per U.S. 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 3 COUNTIES IN THE U.S. FOR OVERALL AG SALES

Fresno County, Calif. ($4.97 billion)

Tulare County, Calif. ($4.02 billion)

Kern County, Calif. ($3.99 billion)

(Weld County, Colo., at No. 9, was the only top-10 county not in California)

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 21, 2014 11:43AM Published May 21, 2014 11:24AM Copyright 2014 The Fence Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.