New York Farm Bureau Statement on New USDA Ag. Census

The following may be attributed to New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher:

“The USDA just released its 2017 Agriculture Census revealing an-depth look at agriculture in this state since the last census was released five years ago. USDA surveys farmers every five years and then takes more than a year to compile the data, which was released yesterday. The most startling statistic is we now have 33,438 farms in the state, about 2,100 fewer farms than 2012.  This is the largest drop in more than two decades and is triple the national average of a three-percent loss. The losses run the gamut, including a nine-percent drop in both the smallest and largest farms in terms of value of sales. New York also saw a nearly 20-percent decline in the number of dairy farms in the state. These losses coincide with nine-percent increase in labor costs, while some other production costs like feed, gasoline and chemicals declined. The average net farm income of $42,875 per farm is slightly below the national average

On the positive side, there were elements of growth. New York saw a 35% increase in organic farms, from 864 in 2012 to 1,330 farms in 2017. According to the market value summary, the number of vegetable farms in the state is 3,544 farms, up two-percent, and fruit farms rose eight-percent to 3,083 farms. New York had a 15% jump in maple operations to 1,662 in the state.

While there is still much more to learn as we evaluate the mountain of data, it is clear that the depressed farm economy has taken a toll on the overall number of farms in New York, as labor costs continue to mount for our family farms. At the same time, there are still opportunities across the board. Agriculture remains a leading driver of our rural economy and the data shows we must continue to invest in the farming community while also finding ways to improve the business climate for our more than 33,000 farms in the state.”

Additional numbers:

  • 98% of farms in New York are family owned
  • 6,866,171 acres in production, down from 7,183,576 in 2012
  • Average farm size is 205 acres, up from 202 acres in 2012
  • 21,860 female producers and 35,985 male producers
  • Average producer age is 55.8 years old.
  • 6,718 producers under the age of 35
  • Hired farm labor is 55,363 employees

For more information on the 2017 NY Ag Census, click here:,_Chapter_1_State_Level/New_York/

For more information on 2017 NY Ag. Census by County, click here:,_Chapter_2_County_Level/New_York/