Mary Auth

By: Mary Auth on May 22nd, 2019

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Census of Agriculture: It Takes a Big Percentage to Raise Livestock

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The 2017 ag census was recently released, and it shows that the highest percentage of total farm expenditures – 15.3 % – is spent on animal feed and that livestock, poultry and related expense take another 11.7 %. Remarkably, tractors and self-propelled farm machinery only account for 3.5 %.

The census is taken every five years and takes a year to report, but it is a robust report.  You can drill down to the county level and learn what kind of revenue and expenses farming costs. Here are a few highlights:

  • The average age of all producers is 57.5, up 1.2 years from 2012.
  • More than any other age group, young producers make decisions regarding livestock, though the difference is slight.
  • There are 321,261 young producers age 35 or less on 240,141 farms.
  • Farms with young producers making decisions tend to be larger than average in both acres and sales.
  • Farm expenses are $326 billion with feed, livestock purchased, hired labor, fertilizer and cash rents topping the list of farm expenses in 2017.
  • In 2017, agricultural production in the U.S. was valued at $389 billion.

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