Census of Agriculture
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the following statement on the 2012 Census of Agriculture preliminary results:
"The preliminary data released today provide a snapshot of a strong rural America that has remained stable during difficult economic times.
We have slowed significantly the loss of farmland, which has totaled 72 million acres since 1982. New tools provided in the 2014 Farm Bill will help to further slow and reverse this trend.
The data confirm that farm income is at a record high. However, the prolonged drought and lack of disaster assistance have made it more difficult for livestock producers and mid-sized farms to survive. The 2014 Farm Bill guarantees disaster assistance and provides additional stability for farmers and ranchers.
A bright spot in the data is the slight increase in young farmers and the stable number of small farms and large-scale farms. This reflects our work to grow both local and regional food systems and exports, but we must do more for mid-sized operations. The 2014 Farm Bill will expand support for beginning farmers and new market opportunities for all producers.
Finally, the data illustrate the strength of diversity in crop production, markets, people and land use across the agricultural sector. While the aging nature of the farming population is a concern, we are hopeful that as we attract and retain the next generation of talent into rural America, this trend can also be reversed."
Visit USDA's Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG) website to access the latest information for this grant program, now closed for this application period.
Contact the USDA Rural Development (RD) office in your state - The most recent information on funding availability and applications is available through your state USDA RD Office.
Net Farm Income Forecast to Fall
Net farm income is forecast to be $95.8 billion in 2014, down 26.6 percent from 2013’s forecast of $130.5 billion. The 2014 forecast would be the lowest since 2010, but would remain $8 billion above the previous 10-year average. Lower crop cash receipts, and, to a lesser degree, a change in the value of crop inventories and reduced government farm payments, drive the expected drop in net farm income.