Farms and farmland are on the decline in Jackson County

Between 2007 and 2012, the number of Jackson County farms declined by 13 percent and land devoted to agriculture decreased by nearly that much as well, according to government figures released today.

However, the Census of Agriculture for 2012, prepared by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, showed the average farm size remained at 124 acres.

The market value of products sold by Jackson County farms in 2012 was more than $64.1 million, demonstrably short of the $79.1 million figure five years ago, but more than the $54.2 million reported in 2002. Local farms sold an average of $37.2 million of products in 2012, down from just over $40 million in 2007.

The median size farm was 17 acres; 722 operations fell into the 10- to 49-acre category. The government counted 519 farms between 1 and 9 acres; 321 between 50 and 179 acres; 119 between 180 and 499 acres; 20 spreads of 500 to 999 acres; and 21 operations of more than 1,000 acres.

About 45 percent of the local farmers reported annual sales of less than $2,500. The preponderance sold their products for between $2,500 and $25,000 each year. Just over 3 percent, 58 farms, reported sales of more than $100,000.

The government made subsidy payments to 66 farms totaling $252,000 in 2012, down from $458,000 in 2007.

— Greg Stiles

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