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2017 Ag Census

The 2017 Census of Agriculture data, shows the average age of Illinois farmers continues to increase while the total number of farms in Illinois is decreasing.

Following a nationwide trend, the average age of Illinois farmers continues to increase, according to 2017 Census of Agriculture data released in April.  The data also showed a decrease in the total number of farms in Illinois between 2012 and 2017.  However, there was a nearly 40% increase in farm size 1 to 9 acres.  The Census of Agriculture, conducted every five years by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, captures information about a variety of topics- from land use practices and crop insurance to the use of fertilizers and farm labor. New questions attempted to capture changing farming demographics, including veterans, women, as well as new and beginner farmers.


“Farms are becoming increasingly multigenerational in their management, as they become larger and more complex as businesses,” Mike Doherty, Illinois Farm Bureau Senior Economist, said. “Additionally, much of the back-breaking labor of farming has been replaced with machine operations, which allows older farmers to remain much more productive and involved in the family farming operations well into their ‘senior’ years.”


State and County 2017 Census Data


USDA Statistics

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