USDA Releases 2022 Census of Agriculture

LAKEWOOD, Colo. – February 13, 2024 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National  Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) announced the results of the 2022 Census of Agriculture, spanning  more than 6 million data points about America’s farms and ranches and the people who operate them down to the county level. The information collected directly from producers shows a sharp fall in the total  number of Colorado farms. However, the data also show a distinct rise in the number of new and beginning (operating 10 or fewer years on any farm), while the number of young (under the age of 35)  producers in Colorado showed a slight decline. The full Census of Agriculture report as well as  publication dates for additional ag census data products can be found at nass.usda.gov/AgCensus. Ag  census data can also be found in NASS’s searchable online database, Quick Stats.

“We are pleased to provide updated Census of Agriculture data to all those who serve U.S. agriculture,  especially the producers who gave their time to complete the questionnaire. Census of Agriculture data  tell a story. This comprehensive snapshot every five years helps data users to see trends and shifts in the  industry over time and helps producers do business,” said NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “Overall,  though there are always changes across U.S. agriculture, the data remain largely consistent with the  previous ag census. Data users will also notice some new data on the topics of hemp, precision  agriculture, and internet access.”

Ag census data provide valuable insights into demographics, economics, land use and activities on  Colorado farms and ranches such as:

  • There were 36,056 farms and ranches in Colorado (down 7.3% from 2017) with an average size of 838 acres (up 2.4%) on 30.2 million acres of farmland (down 5.1%). That is 3.4% of all U.S. farmland.
  • Family-owned and operated farms accounted for 79.5% of all Colorado farms and operated 53.7%  of land in farms.
  • Colorado farms and ranches produced $9.22 billion in agricultural products, up from $7.49 billion in 2017. With farm production expenses of $8.16 million, Colorado farms had net cash income of $1.83 million. Average farm income rose to $50,692. A total of 34.8% of Colorado farms had  positive net cash farm income in 2022.
  • Colorado farms with internet access continued to rise from 81% in 2017 to 83.2% in 2022.
  • A total of 4,960 Colorado farms and ranches used renewable energy producing systems compared to 4,609 farms in 2017, a 7.6% increase. The majority of Colorado farms (86.6%) with renewable energy systems reported using solar panels.
  • In 2022, there were 2,425 Colorado farms that sold directly to consumers, with sales of $30.3 million. Value of sales increased 1.4% from 2017.
  • The 1,000 farms with sales of $1 million or more were 2.8% of Colorado farms and 23.1% of farmland; they sold more than 82% of all agricultural products in Colorado. The 29,017 Colorado farms with sales of $50,000 or less accounted for 80.5% of farms, 24.7% of farmland, and 1.8% of sales in Colorado.
  • The average age of all Colorado producers was 58.3, up 0.7 year from 2017. This is a slightly smaller increase than the average age increase between prior censuses.
  • There were 24,166 Colorado farmers with 10 or fewer years of experience, an increase in the number of beginning farmers from 2017 of 14.2%. Beginning farmers in Colorado are younger than all farmers, with an average age of 49.
  • The number of Colorado producers under age 35 was 5,439, comprising 8% of all Colorado producers. The 4,061 Colorado farms with young producers making decisions tend to be larger than average in both acres and sales.
  • In 2022, the 27,746 female producers accounted for 40.9% of all Colorado producers. Sixty-nine percent of all Colorado farms had at least one female decision maker.

“The tremendous number of data points generated from the 2022 Census of Agriculture tell the story of  Colorado agriculture, as well as agriculture across the Nation. NASS is delighted provide this information  to all that serve agriculture at both the state and national levels,” said NASS Mountain Regional Field  Office Director, Rodger Ott. “We would especially like to thank each producer that took their time to  complete the questionnaire. This comprehensive look at American agriculture details trends over a 5-year  period, and helps identify industry shifts to help producers make business decisions.”

The national response rate for the 2022 Census of Agriculture was 61%; more than 40% of responses  were submitted online. To address questions about the 2022 Census of Agriculture data, NASS will host a  live X Stat Chat (@usda_nass) for the public on Wednesday, Feb. 14, at 1 p.m. EST. Ag census data  highlight publications are available at nass.usda.gov/Publications/Highlights. Additional products, including state and county profiles and congressional district, will be available later this year.

First conducted in 1840 in conjunction with the decennial Census and conducted since 1997 by USDA  NASS – the federal statistical agency responsible for producing official data about U.S. agriculture – the  Census of Agriculture remains the most comprehensive agricultural data for every state and county in the  nation.

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NASS is the federal statistical agency responsible for producing official data about U.S. agriculture and  is committed to providing timely, accurate, and useful statistics in service to U.S. agriculture. 

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

 

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