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.
farmland and cropland concentration measures, 1982, 1987,
1992, 1997, and 2002
median farmland and cropland, by county, for Census of Agriculture
Data Documentation and Methods
Get details about how the measure is
constructed, and examples of its use in research.
There are currently no plans to update this product.