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Fast Facts

A statistical accompaniment to the FarmLife special report, “Youth Movement.”

Luke and Libba Peek

Luke and Libba Peek

The following facts and figures help tell the story of an aging farming populace and the difficulties of young producers getting into the business.

The Aging Farm Population

Average age of a U.S. farmer in 2007: 57.1
— Average age of a U.S. farmer in 1978: 50.3
Average age of a Canadian farmer in 2011: 52 years
— Average age of a Canadian farmer in 1991: 47.5
Decrease in U.S. farmers younger than 45, since 2002: 21%.
Decrease in Canadian farmers younger than 35, since 1991: 60%
Number of farmers in U.S. under 35 in 1978: 350,000
— Number in 2007: 70,000
Sources: USDA AgCensus, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, USDA Census of Agriculture, Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute

Farm Stats

Average farm size in the U.S.: 414 acres
Average land price: $2,350/acre
Average farm cost: $972,900
Average beef cattle herd size: 44 head
Average beef cattle price: $1.15 per pound
Price of an average beef herd: $50,600
2011 total U.S. Farm Income: $100.9 billion
— Highest on record
2010 total U.S. Farm Income: $79.1 billion
— Percent increase from 2010 to 2011: 28
2011 Canadian Total Net Farm Income Forecast: $1.024 billion
— Percent increase from 2010 to 2011: 52
Percent Increase in 2011 fertilizer cost, U.S.: 28
Percent Increase in 2011 feed cost, U.S.: 23
Percent Increase in 2011 purchased livestock and poultry cost, U.S.: 18
Sources: USDA, USDA Census of Agriculture and Agriculture and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Changing Landscape

Farmland that will change ownership over the next 20 years: 400 million acres
2011 average price/ acre of agricultural real estate, U.S.: $2,350
— Highest average on record
— Percent increase of ag land value in the Midwest and Great Plains from 2010 to 2011: 25 (largest regional increase in U.S., as of August 2011)
2011 average price/ acre of agricultural real estate, Canada: $1,526
— Percent increase of ag land value in Saskatchewan from 2010 to 2011: 11.6 (largest regional increase in Canada, as of June 2011)
Sources: Sustainable Ag Coalition, USDA Census of Agriculture, USDA, Farm Credit Canada

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