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USDA: More farms in U.S. but smaller in size

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A USDA study finds that there are more farms today than five years ago, but they are smaller in size
A USDA study finds that there are more farms today than five years ago, but they are smaller in size

A new survey from the U.S. Department of Agriculture finds that the number of farms across the country has ticked up slightly over the last five years with almost 300,000 new farms over that time.

Yesterday the USDA released the 2007 Census of Agriculture which found that there were 2,204,792 farms in the United States, a net growth of 75,810 farms since the previous survey in 2002.

But while the survey found overall gains in the number of farms operating, some areas saw their farms disappear over that period.

In those five years, the tiny state of Delaware lost 30,000 acres of farmland. Michael McGrath, the chief of planning for the state's Department of Agriculture, says the country should be worried about food in the same way it's concerned about energy and security.

"We've crossed a line where we can't feed ourselves," said McGrath. “If we're losing farmland, how long before we can't feed ourselves in the United States?"

The census found that while the increase in the number of farms over the five years increased, the number of mid-sized farms decreased, leaving only small or large farms in its wake. According to the figures, the number of farms with sales of less than $2,500 increased by 74,000 over the five years.ADNFCR-2034-ID-19012033-ADNFCR

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