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2020 Provided More Stability to Farmers

(Washington, D.C.) - There was little change last year in the number of farms nationwide.


According to National Agricultural Statistics Service under USDA, the number of farms remained the same from the previous year in 26 states like Ohio.


Four states witnessed slight gains in the amount of farms.


There was a slight decrease in farms in the remaining states like Indiana, Michigan, Illinois and Kentucky.


Michael Langemeier, an agricultural economist at Purdue University, said the figures were not surprising because declining farm numbers typically happen gradually and profit margins were substantially better in 2020 from the previous year.

“That would tend to create a smaller number of farms exiting the business when you see a situation like that,” he said.


The NASS figures released February 22 show the number of farms declined by 500 in Indiana and Michigan.


There were 300 fewer farms in Illinois and Kentucky while Ohio equaled its total from 2019.


According to NASS, there were 55,500 farms in Indiana last year; 46,500 in Michigan; 71,100 in Illinois 74,500 in Kentucky and 77,800 in Ohio.


The number of farms nationwide in 2020 stood at slightly over two million after shedding 4,400 farms over the previous 12 months.


Langemeier described the losses as “very small” considering the number of farms going out of business from year to year can be substantially higher particularly during tough economic times.


“I wouldn’t necessarily call it good news or bad news.  The good news is really related to 2020 being a much more profitable year for farms of all sizes,” he said.   


The largest increase in farms was in Florida whose total rose by 300 to 47,500, according to NASS.


According to NASS, there was no change in the average size of a farm in the U.S. at

444 acres.


On average, a farm in Illinois contained 378 acres and 266 acres in Indiana.


The average size of farms in Michigan, Kentucky and Ohio ranged from 172 to 209 acres.


According to NASS, the amount of land in production across the country dropped by four million acres.


However, the amount of acres farmed in 2020 was 896 million.

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