Missouri is No. 2

Missouri agriculture remains second in the number of farms in the U.S. with more than 95,000 farms on 27.8 million acres, according to the 2017 Census of Agri­culture. The data showcases the state’s unique foothold in agriculture commodity diversity and ability to bring home the next generation of agriculture’s workforce.

Results from the latest census data, published in April by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, shows that soybean, corn, cattle, poultry and hog production account for 88 percent of Missouri agricultural sales. Specialty crops also thrive in the Show-Me State, home to several growing agricultural sectors, including elderberries, honey produc­tion, mushrooms, sheep and goats, among others.

Since the 2012 census, the average age of the Missouri farmer increased by one year to 59.4 years. However, farms specializing in the livestock sectors of hogs, dairy and poultry showed a significantly younger average age. Hog farms are made up of 25 percent young farmers, defined as 35 years or less. Data also showed that 16 to 20 percent of producers on dairy, poultry, sheep and goat farms are young farmers.

The data also confirmed the need for better connectivity in rural Missouri. The census revealed that only 73 percent of farms have access to some form of internet. Missouri farms rely predominately on mobile, DSL and satellite connections to gather, analyze and use their agricultural data.

The Census of Agriculture is a complete count of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. Even small plots of land—rural or urban—growing fruit, vegetables or some food animals count if $1,000 or more of such prod­ucts were raised and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the census year. Taken only once every five years, the census looks at land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expendi­tures. For additional details, visit nass.usda.gov/AgCensus.

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