State Statistician Troy Marshall Breaks Down the Numbers in the 2017 Ag Census for OklahomaThu, 11 Apr 2019 15:36:56 CDT
After Thursday’s release of the 2017 Census of Agriculture by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Oklahoma State Statistician Troy Marshall with the USDA’s local National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) office, delivered a brief on the data from an Oklahoma perspective. Marshall digested information relevant to Oklahoma’s farms and ranches and those who operate them, and highlighted some of the most interesting findings into three main areas: Farms and Ranches, Economics, and Demographics. Congruent with the national trends, the information indicates both farm numbers and land in farms have ongoing small percentage declines since the last Census in 2012. At the same time, there continue to be more of the largest and smallest operations and fewer middle-sized farms. In addition, the average age of all farmers and ranchers continues to rise as does the number of female producers in the state.
Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Associate Farm Director Carson Horn was joined by Sam Knipp of American Farmers & Ranchers in speaking with Oklahoma State Statistician Troy Marshall during the briefing on the 2017 Ag Census. You can listen to that complete interview to hear Marshall’s commentary on the census, by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
According to the brief, Oklahoma’s response rate for the survey, conducted every five years and the fifth one to be administered by NASS, was very good, according to Marshall. Oklahoma’s response rate was calculated at 72.4 percent, above the national average of 71.8 percent. Based on the information provided by respondents of the survey, Oklahoma currently retains 78,531 farms, down 2.1 percent from the last census in 2012 which then reported 80,245 farms in the state. Land in farms is down 0.6 percent compared to the previous report at 34.2 million acres from 34.4 million acres. However, the average farm size in Oklahoma is 1.6 percent larger at 435 acres compared to 428 acres in 2012. Lincoln County has the most farms with 2,231 followed by Creek County with 1,893. Mayes County ranked tenth on the top ten list of counties with 1,552 farms within its limits.
The breakdown of land in farms shows that of that 34.2 million acres, 19.3 million acres are used as permanent pasture; 11.7 percent as cropland (7.8 percent harvested cropland); 2.5 percent as woodland and the remaining 0.7 percent designated as “other.”
While there were marginal increases in the number of small farms between 1 to 49 acres and large farms from 1,000 to 2,000+ acres, the number of Oklahoma’s midsized farms (between 50 and 999 acres) decreased. This suggests that land has been acquired by larger farming operations as midsized farmers have divested from their property holdings. A 30 percent change in the number of small farms 1 to 9 acres in area suggests growing interest in hobby farming and gardening activities within urban areas.
Despite the decrease in the number of farms and land in farms, Marshall says the information supports the idea that farmers are doing more with less. The report indicates a 5 percent increase in Total Value Production compared to 2012. Texas County ranked highest in the state with $1,136,000,000 TVP. Texas County is also the 25th highest ranked county in the nation. Grady County is ranked tenth in the state at $153,000,000 TVP. For the state as a whole, 80 percent of TVP was contributed by livestock, up 6 percent from the 2012 census. Crops contributed 20 percent TVP, even with the 2007 report and 2 percent lower than the first NASS census in 1997. Cattle remains Oklahoma lead ag product, attributed with 50.0 percent of total sales. Hogs and pigs is second, followed by poultry and eggs, grain and oilseed crops, and cotton and cottonseed ranked fifth. Milk from cows ranked sixth ahead of sales contributed by nurseries and greenhouses.
The impact of drought conditions that were occurring at the time producers were being surveyed are reflected in the data. Feed represents the largest line item in producer budgets at 25.3 percent of total expenses.
Similar to the national trend, Oklahoma’s average age of producers continues to rise. Nationally, the average age is reported at 57.5. Oklahoma’s slightly below that at 57.0, up from 56.2 in 2012 and 55.3 in 2007. Young producers (age 35 or younger) account for 10.4 percent of all producers with an average age of 29.4, one point above the national average of 9.4 percent. New and beginning producers (10 years or less on any farm) account for 30 percent of all producers in the state, three point greater than the national average, with an average age of 45.8. Oklahoma is third among the nation for the most young and beginning farmers, behind Texas and Missouri.
Overall, there was a 7.6 percent increase in the total number of producers compared to the last report, from 120,448 in 2012 to 129,619. Males account for 79,858 of that total number. The number of female producers jumped 28.7 percent in this report from 38,672 in 2012 to 49,761.
“It shows that our Oklahoma producers are definitely dedicated to putting out good wholesome products. We can definitely see in the numbers that even with a decline in farms, we still have an increase in the value of product going out the door. So, we’re very specialized in that,” Marshall said, summarizing the story he sees in the numbers provided in this report. “Looking at some of the other tables like conservation - you’re seeing producers that are utilizing cover crops more, we’re seeing less tillage practices. So, I think they’re really diving in and investing for sustainable agriculture - that they are going to do something that’s going to last for generations to come. They’re really wanting to make sure the next generation is there to fulfill what they’re doing and what their families are going to be doing for generations.”
To view the Oklahoma digest of the 2017 Ag Census, follow the link below, or click here to review the complete Oklahoma version of the report or here to review the national version of the census.
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