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February 2, 2007

2006 Missouri Farm Numbers Steady

COLUMBIA, MO - “Missouri farm numbers are estimated at 105,000, unchanged from last year,” said Gene Danekas, Director of the USDA-Missouri Agricultural Statistics Service. “Farm numbers in the State have been steadily creeping downward over the past decade, but the decline paused this year.” A farm is defined as “any establishment from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were sold or would be sold during the year.” Missouri ranks second in total number of farms, following Texas. Total land in Missouri farms is estimated at 30.1 million acres with an average farm size of 287 acres.

Missouri farms in the economic sales class of $1,000 to $9,999 are estimated at 56,800, down 2 percent from a year earlier. Farms in the sales group of $10,000 to $99,999 totaled 37,700, up 4 percent over 2004. The $100,000 to $249,000 group is estimated at 6,000, down 6 percent from last year. Farms in the sales groups of $250,000 to $499,000 totaled 2,500, down 200 farms from 2005, while farms with sales of $500,000 and over totaled 2,000, up 100 farms from 2005.

Number of Farms and Land in Farms 2006 U.S. Summary

The number of farms in the United States in 2006 is estimated at 2.09 million, 0.4 percent fewer than in 2005. Total land in farms, at 932.4 million acres, decreased 780 thousand acres, or 0.08 percent, from 2005. The average farm size was 446 acres during 2006, an increase of one acre from the previous year. The decline in the number of farms and land in farms reflects a continuing consolidation in farming operations and diversion of agricultural land to nonagricultural uses.

Farm numbers and land in farms are broken down into five economic sales classes. Farms and ranches are classified into these “sales classes” by summing their sales of agricultural products and government program payments. Sales class breaks occur at $10,000, $100,000, $250,000, and $500,000.

Farm numbers declined in the $1,000-$9,999 and the $100,000 - $249,999 sales classes. Farm numbers rose slightly in the $10,000 - $99,999 and the two largest sales classes. The decline in the smallest sales class is most likely due to normal attrition, such as retirements, and rising incomes. The changes within the other sales classes were a result of operations moving to larger sales classes by consolidation and expansion. Because of rising incomes, many farms and ranches near the top of their sales class in 2005 moved into the next higher sales class in 2006 without adding land or otherwise expanding their operations.

The largest percentage changes from 2005 occurred in the smallest and largest sales classes. Farm numbers declined 1.1 percent, to 1.15 million farms, in the $1,000 - $9,999 sales class. Meanwhile, farm numbers increased 2.4 percent, to 81,350 farms, in the $500,000 & over sales class. The number of farms with less than $100,000 in sales fell 0.6 percent from 2005 and the number of farms with $100,000 or more in sales rose 0.7 percent.

Land in farms also shifted from lower sales classes to higher sales classes. In the $1,000-$9,999 sales class, land in farms dropped 3.0 percent, to 114.7 million acres, while land operated by farms in the largest sales class, $500,000 & over in sales, increased 1.7 percent, to 213.4 million acres.

Over all, the average farm size increased 1 acre in 2006. However, average farm sizes declined in some of the sales classes due to smaller farms moving up to higher sales classes.