The 2007 USDA Agriculture Census was released yesterday and reported that there are 2,204,792 farms in the U.S., a 4% increase over 5 years earlier, and the first increase in 60 years. According to Stu Ellis of the University of Illinois Extension Farm Gate in an Agriculture Online article:
“Operations that declined included beef enterprises, grain and oilseed farms, dairy farms, nursery and greenhouses, swine operations, cotton farms and tobacco farms,” Ellis says. “Operations that grew in number compared to 2002 included hay and other crop farms, aquaculture, fruits and nuts farms, sheep and goat farms, poultry and egg farms and vegetable operations.”
One of the biggest surprises on the census was the rising number of “principal operators” that were female, which experienced a nearly 30% increase since 2002.