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Contact: Sarah Hoffman (202) 720-0684
Deborah Norton (202) 690-8124

 

2002 Census of Agriculture Reveals Facts on Asian-American Farmers

 

WASHINGTON, May 5, 2005 - According to the 2002 Census of Agriculture, U.S. farms and ranches with operators reporting their race as Asian sold a total of $2.26 billion in agricultural products. Released in June 2004, the Census reported sales of $2 billion in crops and $254 million in livestock and poultry for Asian farmers. The average value of products sold per farm was $270,000. Conducted every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the Census of Agriculture is the only source of consistent, comparable and detailed agricultural data for every county in America.

"We recognize the importance of providing more detailed data on minority farm operators and operations in the U.S., and are pleased to provide information specifically on Asian farmers for the first time," announced Ron Bosecker, Administrator of NASS.

As reflected in the reported amount of agricultural sales, the primary source of revenue for Asian farmers in the U.S. comes from crop operations. Almost 75 percent of all Asian farms produce crops in three commodity categories: fruit, tree and nut farming (3,422 farms); greenhouse, nursery and floriculture (1,589 farms); and vegetable and melon farming (1,203 farms).

While 10,300 Asian farms were reported nationwide, the Census indicated that most Asian farms are located in the following five states: California with 4,022 farms; Hawaii with 2,969 farms; Florida with 557 farms; Texas with 440 farms; and Washington with 385 farms. In terms of acreage, the top five states were: California with 529,162 acres; Hawaii with 157,235 acres; Texas with 130,153 acres; Montana with 83,107 acres; and Oregon with 70,068 acres. The total acreage of farmland operated by Asian farmers was 1,448,061 acres. On average, an Asian farmer operated 118 acres of land.

In 2002, it was reported that 8,375 farms and ranches had an Asian principal operator; of these farms 1,283 reported an Asian woman as principal operator. The average age of an Asian principal operator in the U.S. is 55.2 years-old, almost identical to the U.S. average age of 55.3 years-old for all operators. Of all Asian principal operators, 64 percent listed farming as their primary occupation, compared to only 58 percent of all U.S. principal operators who listed their primary occupation as farming. Most Asian operated farms and ranches, 77.6 percent, were family or individually owned, rather than partnership or corporation. This is less than the reported 89.7 percent of all farms in the U.S. that are family or individually owned.

NASS collects and provides a vast array of production, economic, demographic and environmental facts about U. S. agriculture through regularly scheduled weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual reports. For more census information, visit NASS online at www.nass.usda.gov and click on "Census of Agriculture" for aggregate facts and figures. Or call the Agricultural Statistics Hotline at 1-800-727-9540.

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