Blog: 2017 Census of Agriculture: Highlights for Wheat

What is the Census of Agriculture?

The Census of Agriculture is a comprehensive count of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. Taken once every five years, the Census looks at land use ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures.

Data is used by those who serve farmers and rural communities including federal, state and local governments, agribusinesses, trade associations, and many others. Decision makers utilize the Census data to shape agricultural research and education programs, inform farm programs, boost rural infrastructure, determine disaster relief needs, and more.

What did the results show?

The 2017 Census was distributed to 3 million known and potential farms with a national response rate of 71.5%. Additionally, the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) changed the demographic questions to better represent the roles of all persons involved in on-farm decision making.

As a result, the number of producers increased by nearly seven percent to 3.4 million, because more farms reported multiple producers. The number of male producers fell 1.7 percent to 2.17 million, while the number of female producers increased by 27 percent to 1.23 million.

Other highlights include:

  • There are 2.04 million farms and ranches, which is down 3.2% from 2012
  • The average size of farms are 441 acres
  • The average age of producers is 57.5
  • There are 321,261 young producers age 35 or less
  • 1 in 4 producers is a beginning farmer with 10 or fewer years of experience
  • 36 percent of all producers are female

What did the 2017 Census tell us about wheat?

NASS also launched the Census Data Query Tool (CDQT), which is a web based tool that is available to access and download Census data. Since 2012, there has been a decline in all data presented for wheat except for spring durum acres harvested.

The table below represents statistics from CDQT for spring durum, spring excel durum, and winter wheat.