SW MN Farm Size Pt II

Source: US Census of Agriculture

There are over 8,000 farms in the nine counties of Region 8 in Southwest Minnesota.  Measured by acreage, the largest cohort of farms in the state is 50-179 acres, while the largest group in our region is 180-499 acres.

Measured by the market value of production, Southwest Minnesota has generally fewer of the very small farms—what the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) terms Limited Resource or Lifestyle farms with low gross sales and an operater engaged in another primary occupation.  The ERS typology then splits farms where the operator is primarily engaged in farming into those with sales over or under $100,000 a year.  Almost half of farms in Southwest Minnesota reported sales over $100k in 2007.

This profile varies some across the region.  For example, Lincoln County farmers report lower gross sales; in fact, there were more farms with sales below $1,000 than above $100,000.  This is the norm statewide but unique in the region.  Lincoln County grows the most wheat and least corn and soybeans in the region.  Another factor may be that Lincoln County has a large percentage of population of retirement age which may affect returns.  By contrast, almost 25% of farms in Rock County had sales over $500,000 compared to 8% statewide.  Rock County relies most heavily on livestock production in the region. 

I’m sure other aspects come into play with our agricultural economy.  It will be interesting to see what the numbers have yet to say.

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1 Comment

  1. 20 March 2009 at 19:54

    […] a complicated question, as discussed (here, here, here and here) when we looked at the US Dept of Agriculture’s Census of Agriculture returns.  […]


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