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May 5, 2014

Census shows fewer, larger farms

Number of Cass farms drops 20 percent

(Continued)

Forgey attributed the decrease in farmed acreage locally to recent development in rural areas, particularly road and housing construction. However, some farmland may be reclaimed in the future, he added, with the use of no-till farming practices that reduce the likelihood of erosion.

Between 2007 and 2012, the amount of land in farms nationwide continued a slow downward trend, declining from 922 million acres to 915 million. That wasa decline of less than 1 percent and was the third smallest decline between censuses since 1950.

Conducted since 1840, the Census of Agriculture accounts for all U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. More information about the census is available at www.agcensus.usda.gov.

Reach Sarah Einselen at sarah.einselen@pharostribune.com or 574-732-5151.

Snapshot: A look at 2012 numbers for Cass County farms • 688 farms • 200,257 acres of farmland • 291 acres on average farm, 63 acres on median farm • $1.575 million average market value of land and buildings • $5,412 average market value per acre • Average age of principal farm operator 57.3 years Source: 2012 Census of Agriculture

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