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February 1, 2008

2007 Missouri Farm Numbers Show Small Decline

COLUMBIA, MO - “Missouri farm numbers are estimated at 104,500, down slightly from last year,” said Gene Danekas, Director of the USDA-Missouri Agricultural Statistics Service. “We have seen a steady decline in the number of small farms over the last decade, while the number of large farms has been creeping upward.” 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 30.0 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 57,200, up 1 percent from a year earlier. Farms in the sales group of $10,000 to $99,999 totaled 35,600, down 6 percent from 2006. The $100,000 to $249,000 group is estimated at 6,800, up 13 percent from last year. Farms in the sales groups of $250,000 to $499,000 totaled 2,700, up 200 farms from 2006, while farms with sales of $500,000 and over totaled 2,200, also up 200 farms.

Number of Farms and Land in Farms 2007 U.S. Summary

The number of farms in the United States in 2007 is estimated at 2.08 million, 0.6 percent fewer than in 2006. Total land in farms, at 930.9 million acres, decreased 1.5 million acres, or 0.16 percent, from 2006. The average farm size was 449 acres during 2007, an increase of three acres 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 $10,000 - $99,999 sales classes. Farm numbers rose slightly in the three largest sales classes. The changes within the sales classes were a result of operations moving to larger sales classes by consolidation or expansion and rising incomes as result of strong commodity prices. Because of rising incomes, many farms and ranches near the top of their sales class in 2006 moved into the next higher sales class in 2007 without adding land or otherwise expanding their operations.

The largest percentage changes from 2006 occurred in the smallest and largest sales classes. Farm numbers declined 1.5 percent, to 1.14 million farms, in the $1,000 - $9,999 sales class. Meanwhile, farm numbers increased 4.4 percent, to 84,970 farms, in the $500,000 and over sales class. The number of farms with less than $100,000 in sales fell 1.2 percent from 2006 while the number of farms with $100,000 or more in sales rose 2.2 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 1.6 percent, to 112.8 million acres, while land operated by farms in the largest sales class, $500,000 & over in sales, increased 1.8 percent, to 217.3 million acres.

Over all, the average farm size increased three acres in 2007. However, average farm sizes declined in some of the sales classes due to smaller farms moving up to higher sales classes.