Farm Numbers Decrease
February 24, 2012

The number of farms in the United States in 2011 is estimated at 2.2 million, down slightly from 2010. Total land in farms, at 917 million acres, decreased 1.85 million acres from 2010. The average farm size is 420 acres, up one acre from the previous year. This information was revealed in the 2011 Summary of Farms, Land in Farms and Livestock Operations recently issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). 
 
The number of operations with cattle totaled 922,000 for 2011, down 1 percent from 2010. Beef cow operations in 2011, at 734,000, were also down 1 percent from last year. The number of milk cow operations for 2011 totaled 60,000, down 4 percent from 2010. 
 
The number of operations with hogs totaled 69,100 for 2011, unchanged from 2010. Places with 2,000 or more head accounted for 87 percent of the inventory. 
 
The number of operations with sheep totaled 80,000 for 2011, down 1 percent from 2010. Of all sheep operations that include breeding sheep, 93.5 percent were comprised of 1-99 head, 5.4 percent had 100-499 head and the remaining 1.1 percent were operations with 500 head or more. Operations with 1-99 head account for 35.9 percent of the inventory, 100-499 head account for 21.1 percent of the inventory and 500+ head account for 43 percent of the inventory. 
 
The full NASS report is available at http://usda01.library.cornell.edu/usda/nass/FarmLandIn//2010s/2012/FarmLandIn-02-17-2012.pdf.