Announcement from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service
The USDA’s National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) has announced the results of the 2017 Census of Agriculture with new information about U.S farms and ranches and those who operate them, including first-time data about on-farm decision making, down to the county level.
“The Census shows new data that can be compared to previous censuses for insights into agricultural trends and changes down to the county level,” said NASS Pacific Region Director Gary R. Keough. “We are pleased to share first-time data on topics such as military status and on-farm decision making. To make it easier to delve into the data, we made the results available in many online formats including a new data query interface, as well as traditional data tables.”
- Top commodities were: fruits and nuts with $17.5 billion in farmgate value, vegetables with $8.2 billion, milk with $6.5 billion, cattle and calves with $3.1 billion, and horticulture with $2.9 billion.
- Fresno, Kern, Merced, Monterey, Stanislaus, San Joaquin and Tulare counties lead all U.S. counties in sales.
- Total farm production expenses for California totaled $37.8 billion, up $2.3 billion from 2012.
- The average age of the California farmer is 59.2, up from 57.9 in 2012.
- Military veterans account for 10 percent of California farmers.
- At 14,552 farms, California is the top state using renewable energy producing systems in agriculture. Solar is the most common renewable energy producing system on farms and ranches in the Golden State.
The Census tells the story of American agriculture and is an important part of our history. First conducted in 1840 in conjunction with the decennial Census, the Census of Agriculture accounts for all U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. After 1920, the Census happened every four to five years. By 1982, it was regularly conducted once every five years. Today, NASS sends questionnaires to nearly 3 million potential U.S. farms and ranches. Nearly 25 percent of those who responded did so online. Conducted since 1997 by USDA NASS – the federal statistical agency responsible for producing official data about U.S. agriculture – it remains the only source of comprehensive agricultural data for every state and county in the nation and is invaluable for planning the future.