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Farmland and Cropland Concentration Measures

Overview

According to recent Census of Agriculture data, the number of large farms and very small farms has increased, while the number of small to midsized farms has declined. The changing size distribution of farms makes it difficult to capture trends in the concentration of production using common measures, such as the average or median farm size. This data product provides a size measure (the acre-weighted median for cropland and for farmland) that reflects the increasing concentration of production on large farms. The acre-weighted median, here provided at the county level, is calculated by ordering farms from smallest to largest and picking the farm size at the middle acre (the standard median focuses on the middle farm). Half of all land is on farms smaller than the acre-weighted median, and half of land is on bigger farms. A county's acre-weighted median better reflects the size of operations where most production occurs.

The data sources and process of defining county-level concentration measures are described in detail in the documentation.

Data Files

County-level farmland and cropland concentration measures, 1982, 1987, 1992, 1997, and 2002
Data table—Acre-weighted median farmland and cropland, by county, for Census of Agriculture years 1982-2002

Data Documentation and Methods

Get details about how the measure is constructed, and examples of its use in research.

Related Resources

Updates

There are currently no plans to update this product.

 

For more information, contact: Nigel Key

Web administration: webadmin@ers.usda.gov

Updated date: October 31, 2007