Census of Agriculture: Number of farms across region declines again

The number of farms in New York dropped again, according to the latest Census of Agriculture released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The 2017 census found there are 33,438 farms in New York, down from 35,537 in 2012. The state’s farms occupy 6,866,171 acres, which is lower than the 7,183,576 acres farms had five years ago.

David Fisher, president of the New York Farm Bureau, called the reduction in the number of farms “startling.” He noted that there are about 2,100 fewer farms now than there was in 2012.

“This is the largest drop in more than two decades and is triple the national average of a 3 percent loss,” Fisher said.

There are 49 fewer farms in Cayuga County, according to the new census. The total number of farms fell from 891 to 842 over a five-year period.

While there is a statewide decline in the number of farms, there are more small farms in operation. The total number of farms with one to nine acres of land in production grew from 2,901 in 2012 to 3,641 in 2017. Among farms with at least 2,000 acres in production there was also an increase. There are now 390 farms in this category, up from 344 five years ago.

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