2012 Census of Agriculture: Beginning Farmers

25 percent of 2.1 million U.S. farmers in 2012 were beginning farmers. *Click Here to Tweet.*

Today’s Friday Fun Ag fact will be focused on beginning farmers based on information from the 2012 Census of Agriculture. The 2014 Farm Bill has implemented many different rules and regulations to help beginning farmers and we wanted to take an in-depth look at the makeup of this demographic. 

In 2012, the United States had 522,058 beginning farmers (principal operators who were on their current operation ten years or less). This was 20 percent fewer than in 2007, when the last agriculture census was conducted. Nevertheless, in 2012, beginning farmers operated one fourth of the 2.1 million U.S. farms.

Beginning farmers operated 25 percent of U.S. farms, controlled 16 percent of farmland, and produced 15 percent of the value of agricultural products sold. They accounted for 22 percent of products sold directly to consumers and 26 percent of the value of organic sales.

ProAg Friday Fun Ag Fact: Beginning Farmers Shares of Ag Assets and Receipts 2012 Ag Census 


Beginning farmers are found across the country, with some areas having relatively higher concentrations and some having few beginning farmers (map). The top ten states in percent of principal operators who are beginning farmers:

ProAg Friday Fun Ag Fact: 2012 Ag Census Beginning Farmers Top States 


ProAg Friday Fun Ag Fact: 2012 Ag Census Beginning Farmers Map of Location 

We hope you enjoyed this ProAg Friday Fun Ag fact about the demographics of beginning farmers from the 2012 Census of Agriculture. Don’t forget to share via the social share buttons above.

Source: USDA Ag Census

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