The latest U.S. Census of Agriculture shows the average size of an Iowa farm operation continues to grow, while the number of farmers continues to shrink.
The USDA releases this census data every five years. The agency’s preliminary report concludes there were 88,631 farms in Iowa in 2012. That’s a 6.6 percent drop in five years.
Iowa ranks third among the states in the total number of farms — behind Texas and Missouri. The average age for an Iowa farmer is about 63.
Iowa ranked second, behind California, in total ag sales — almost 31-billion dollars worth of crops and livestock from Iowa were sold in 2012.
The number of farms declined in 34 states over the five year period covered by the census.