The number of U.S. farms continues slow decline

Farms, land in farms, and average acres per farm, 1850–2023

After peaking at 6.8 million farms in 1935, the number of U.S. farms fell sharply until the early 1970s. Rapidly falling farm numbers during the earlier period reflected growing productivity in agriculture and increased nonfarm employment opportunities. Since 1982, the number of U.S. farms has continued to decline, but much more slowly. In the most recent survey, there were 1.89 million U.S. farms in 2023, down 7 percent from the 2.04 million found in the 2017 Census of Agriculture. Similarly, acres of land in farms continued a downward trend with 879 million acres in 2023, down from 900 million acres in 2017. The average farm size was 464 acres in 2023, only slightly greater than the 440 acres recorded in the early 1970s.

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