Idaho bucks national trend, adds more ag land

Published online: Mar 11, 2014
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USDA’s preliminary data on the 2012 Census of Agriculture shows Idaho farms and ranches following many of the national trends.

But the state bucked the national slowdown in the amount of land in agriculture and the national data showing crop sales exceeding livestock sales.

While the number of farms in Idaho in 2012, at 24,814, was down 535 farms from the 2007 Census, land in farms, at nearly 11.8 million acres, was up over 263,000 acres.

In addition, livestock sales, at $4.3 billion, were up nearly $1 billion from 2007, and exceeded crop sales by $0.9 billion. Crop sales, at $3.4 billion, were up a little more than $118 million from 2007.

In line with the national increase in the value of agricultural products, Idaho’s value of those products in 2012, at $7.8 billion, was up $96 million from 2007. Its per-farm average value of sales likewise increased, up $89,319 to $313,737.

The average age of farmers in Idaho also increased along the national trend, up 1.1 years to 57.6, compared with the national average of 58.3, up 1.2 years.

Idaho also follows the national trend of fewer mid-size farms and a fairly steady number of the smallest and largest farms, with the exception of farms with 180 to 499 acres. While that U.S. number is down, Idaho added 130 farms of that size, at 3,575.

The number of Idaho farms with 1 to 9 acres, at 4,861, declined by 30. The total number of farms under 180 acres, at 16,993 in 2012, declined by 620. The states farm’s with 500 to 999 acres, at 1,728, declined by 80, and the number of farms with 1,000 acres or more, at 2,518, increased by 25.

Idaho’s farms with less than $50,000 in annual sales decreased by 1,332. Those with sales of $50,000 to $249,000 increased by 230. Those with sales of $250,000 to $999,999 increased by 388, and those with sales of $1 million or more increased by 179.

Government payments to U.S. farmers, at nearly $8 billion, increased $69.2 million. Payments to Idaho farmers, at $99.5 million, increased $295,000.

Additional demographics for Idaho agriculture in the preliminary 2012 Census, compared with the 2007 Census, include:

• The number of farms with farming as the primary occupation, at 12,349, increased by 770, while “other” as the primary occupation, at 12,465, decreased by 1,315. Both are in line with the national trend.

• Male operators, at 21,814, decreased by 379. Female operators, at 2,995, decreased by 156. Both are in line with the national trend.

• Operators with Spanish, Hispanic or Latino origin, at 695, increased by 85. American Indian or Alaska Native operators, at 154, decreased by 69. Asian operators, at 85, increased by 9. Black or African America operators, at 14, increased by 6. Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander operators, at 18, increased by 4. White operators, at 24,422, decreased by 496. All are in line with the national trend.

• Operators with 2 or less years on the farm, at 921, decreased by 148. Those with three to four years, at 1,185, decreased 718. Those with 5 to 9, at 3,995, decreased 242. Those with 10 or more years, at 18,713, increased 673. All are in line with the national trend.

• The number of farmers under age 25, at 111, decreased by 1. Those age 25 to 34, at 1,436, increased 110. Those 35 to 44, at 2,559, decreased 370. Those 45 to 54, at 5,497, decreased 1,546. Those 55 to 64, at 7,765, increased 674. Those 65 to 74, at 4,783, increased 277. Those 75 and older, at 2,663, increased 311. All are in line with the national trend.