Farm Demographics Destiny

Teresa Olson
By Teresa Olson September 4, 2018 15:06


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It’s no secret…

The results of the most recent census published by the USDA show continual downturns compared to the previous data collected.  Here are some comparisons between the 2012 and 2007 census results:




The only bright spot in this information was the fact that 70 percent of farms had internet access which was up compared to 2007.


Joseph F. Coughlin said this in an article over a year ago:

Where have all the farmers gone? Most farms have been family affairs for generations. Baby boomer farmers, like most everyone else in the baby boomer cohort, had fewer children than their parents. It will be at least a decade before the coming wave of millennials potentially fill the void left by retiring baby boomers. And, many of those children will be lured to urban centers by the promise of economic opportunity. Farming parents are very likely to have encouraged their children to go to college and to seek ‘new and different’ – leaving most of the nation’s highly agricultural states with the highest concentrations of older adults.


The majority of the nation’s 2.1 million farmers are small in terms of sales:  75% sold less than $50,000 in ag products in 2012 and 57% had sales less than $10,000.  For 1.5 million farm households, less than 25% of their income came from their farm.  In 2012, 61% worked off the farm at least a few days, while 40% worked off the farm for 200 or more days.


Experts who study food and farming trends look at the year 2050.  They expect the world’s population to grow from 2016’s 7.4 billion to 9.1 billion by that time, and that translates into a needed food production increase over 2007 of 70%.


David Widmar, Purdue University ag economist says the 2012 ag census information about farmer ages suggests some major changes for the future.  For the first time, growers who are older than 65  outnumber those younger than 45 by 2 to 1, so as older growers leave the business, consolidation will be notable and swift.  In his words, farming will go:

…from a one-man show to something resembling a medium-to-large business…As a farmer, it will be very complicated, with a mix of multi-generational family members and hired employees…


I might live to see that, but having grown up on a small family farm, I’m not so sure I want to…


-Terry Olson, Titan Outlet Store Team





Teresa Olson
By Teresa Olson September 4, 2018 15:06
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1 Comment

  1. jimkurk September 6, 23:19

    i can not believe all the towns that have physically disappeared but are on old maps

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