The number of farms in the United States in 2009 is estimated at 2.2 million, virtually unchanged from 2008, according to the USDA Farms, Land in Farms, and Livestock Operations 2009 Summary report issued Feb. 12. Total land in farms in 2009, at 919.8 million acres, decreased 110,000 acres from 2008. The average farm size is 418 acres, unchanged from the previous year.
Farm numbers and land in farms are broken down into five economic sales classes. Farms and ranches are classified into these "sales classes" by summing their sales of agricultural products and government program payments. Sales class breaks occur at $10,000, $100,000, $250,000, and $500,000.
Farm numbers declined slightly in the $10,000-$99,999 and $500,000 and over sales classes. Lower commodity prices and smaller value of sales contributed to changes in the number of farms within these sales classes. Farm numbers increased 0.5 percent, to 1.23 million farms, in the $1,000 - $9,999 sales class. Meanwhile, the number of farms in the $500,000 and over sales class decreased by 1.0 percent to 124,720 farms.
Land in farms decreased in the smallest and largest sales classes. In the $1,000-$9,999 sales class, land in farms dropped 1.1 percent, to 105.5 million acres. Land operated by farms in the $500,000 & over in sales class decreased 1.0 percent, to 290.0 million acres. Land operated by farms with $250,000-$499,999 in sales increased by 4.1 percent.
The number of operations with hogs totaled 71,450 for 2009, down 2 percent from 2008. Places with 2,000 or more head accounted for 86 percent of the inventory.
The number of operations with cattle totaled 950,000 for 2009, down 1 percent from 2008. Beef cow operations in 2009, at 753,000, were also down 1 percent from last year. The number of milk cow operations for 2009 totaled 65,000, down 3 percent from 2008.
Read the full report.