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U.S. Department of Agriculture Releases 2017 Census of Agriculture

Photo credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service

New Data Shows Increase in Number of Maryland Farms and Total Commodity Sales

ANNAPOLIS, MD – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) published the results of the 2017 Census of Agriculture today with new information about the 12,429 Maryland farms and those who operate them, including first-time data about on-farm decision making, down to the county level.

“The release of the 2017 Census of Agriculture has been highly anticipated by everyone in the agriculture community. This important data helps Maryland farmers make critical decisions about the future of their operations,” said Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder. “I am pleased to see that this census reflects Maryland agriculture’s strong presence in the state and the forward progression of the industry.”

Census data provide valuable insights into demographics, economics, land, and activities on U.S. farms. Some key Maryland highlights include:

  • The total value of production of Maryland agriculture increased by 9 percent from 2012, totaling $2,472,805,000 in 2017.
  • The per farm average net income increased from $38,920 in 2012 to $52,997 in 2017 – up nearly 36 percent.
  • The number of farms increased from 12,256 in 2012 to 12,429 in 2017, due in part to an increase in smaller farms with 1 to 9 acres of land.
  • The average age of all producers was 57 years old.
  • The number of female producers increased by nearly 33 percent from 2012, totaling 8,148 producers in 2017.

For the 2017 Census of Agriculture, NASS changed the demographic questions to better represent the roles of all persons involved in on-farm decision making. As a result, in 2017 the number of all producers in Maryland was 21,279, up from 19,055 producers in 2012.

“The Census shows new data that can be compared to previous censuses for insights into agricultural trends and changes down to the county level,” said NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “We are pleased to share first-time data on topics such as military status and on-farm decision making. To make it easier to delve into the data, we are pleased to make the results available in many online formats including a new data query interface, as well as traditional data tables.”

Other Maryland demographic highlights include:

  • New and beginning producers with 10 years or less of farming comprised of 5,764 producers.
  • Producers with military service was published for the first time with 2,054 producers represented.
  • Young producers, age 35 years or less, comprised of 2,262 producers with an average age of 28.6 years old.

Results are available in many online formats including video presentations, a new data query interface, maps, and traditional data tables. All Census of Agriculture information is available at

The Census tells the story of American agriculture and is an important part of our history. First conducted in 1840 in conjunction with the decennial Census, the Census of Agriculture accounts for all U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. After 1920, the Census happened every four to five years. By 1982, it was regularly conducted once every five years. Today, NASS sends questionnaires to nearly 3 million potential U.S. farms and ranches. Nearly 25 percent of those who responded did so online. Conducted since 1997 by USDA NASS – the federal statistical agency responsible for producing official data about U.S. agriculture – it remains the only source of comprehensive agricultural data for every state and county in the nation and is invaluable for planning the future.


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Contact Information

If you have any questions, need additional information or would like to arrange an interview, please contact:

Jason Schellhardt
Director of Communications
Telephone: 410-841-5888

Megan Guilfoyle
Public Information Officer
Telephone: 410-841-5889