2012 Agricultural census shows increase in female, Latino farmers

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the data for the 2012 agricultural census this month, which includes figures and statistics for the entire industry in the 586-page report. The statistics show that farms are increasing in size, value and expenses.

Even more recently, Tom Vilsack, agriculture secretary, issued a press release on the data.

“The census results reiterate the continued need for policies that help grow the rural economy from the middle out,” Vilsack said in the release. “The census also shows the potential for continued growth in the bioeconomy, organics and local and regional food systems.”

The press release goes on to highlight some further facts from the census, including the types of individuals operating farms.

Females made a great showing in 2012: 969,672 farms were operated by females, accounting for 30% of all operators in the U.S.

Latino operators also increased from the last census in 2007. The number jumped 21%, which the USDA says reflects the “changing face of America as a whole.”

One of the most impressive statistics focuses in on organic sales, which have increased 82% since 2007. Further data shows that organic products were a $35 billion industry in the U.S. in 2013.

“The data illustrate the power of USDA efforts to grow the economy and strengthen infrastructure in rural America, create new market opportunities for farmers and ranchers and provide access to capital, credit and disaster assistance for producers of all sizes,” Vilsack said. “The USDA will continue to focus on innovative, creative policies that give farmers, ranchers and entrepreneurs the tools they need to attract a bright and diverse body of talent to rural America.”

For the complete census, click here.

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