Farming continues to be major contributor to Iowa economy

Farming continues to be major contributor to Iowa economy

Posted May 2, 2014

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service released the final 2012 Census of Agriculture results today, sharing a wide-range of information about agriculture at the national, state and county level.

This information will be used by farmers, ranchers, local officials, agribusiness, commodity groups and others to guide future decisions, in evaluating and implementing policies, and to educate consumers, which will provide a return on the investment made by the thousands of farmers who completed their Census form.

“The 2012 Census of Agriculture provides a wide range of demographic, economic, land, and crop and livestock production information as well as first-time or expanded data,” said Greg Thessen, regional director. “Many of these data about Iowa and our counties are only collected and reported as part of the every-five-year census.”

The 2012 Census of Agriculture data show the following key trends for Iowa.

• In 2012, the value of agricultural products sold by Iowa farmers totaled $30.8 billion, up nearly 51 percent, or $10.4 billion from 2007. Crop sales accounted for $17.4 billion of the total and livestock sales accounted for $13.4 billion, up 68 and 34 percent, respectively, from 2007.
• Iowa ranked 2nd nationally for total value of agricultural products, crop sales and livestock sales in 2012, with Iowa moving up one position from 2007 for each item.
• Farmers in Sioux, Lyon and Kossuth counties had the largest value of sales in 2012, with Kossuth County ranking as the top corn producing county in the U.S. and Sioux County ranking 3rd nationally for the number of hogs and pigs sold.
• Farmers spent a total of $23.7 billion on production expenses in 2012, up nearly 54 percent from the $15.4 billion in 2007.
• The amount of land operated by Iowa farmers declined by less than one percent between 2007 and 2012, from 30.7 million acres.
• Farmers harvested crops from 24.5 million acres in 2012 with no-till practices used on 6.95 million acres and conservation tillage practices used on 8.76 million acres.

• The average size of the state’s 88,637 farms was 345 acres in 2012.
 “The Census of Ag is an extremely valuable snapshot of agriculture in Iowa and across the nation that helps tell the story of our state’s farmers,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. “The results released today again show the tremendous economic impact of agriculture on our state’s economy and the importance of Iowa agriculture nationally. It also contains valuable information about the conservation practices used on farms, showing that farmers use no-till or conservation tillage on two-thirds of their crop acres.”