Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's 2017 Census shows that beginning farmers, those with 10 or fewer years of farming experience made up 27% of U.S. producers in 2017. Their average age was 46.3, and their farms were smaller than average in both acres and sales.
A breakdown by size of farm shows the changes in the number of beginning farmers since the 2012 Census:
- Those operating 1-9.9 acres increased about 18%.
- Those operating 10-49.9 acres declined about 1%.
- Those operating 50 to 179 acres declined 12%.
The top states by percentage of beginning farmers are:
- Alaska, 46%
- Georgia, 33%
- Maine, 33%
- Hawaii, 32%
- Florida, 31%
- Rhode Island, 31%
- West Virginia, 31%
- New Hampshire, 31%
- Colorado 31%
The Census of Agriculture, conducted once every 5 years, is a complete count of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. Demographic information is available at national, state, and county levels, as well as for classes of farm and congressional districts. Click here to access more data.
More on the Census: