Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

By Madysen McLain
Gazette Columnist 

Ag census numbers reflect farm consolidation trend


June 13, 2019

Whitman County is the 22nd in the country for market value of grain products sold, according to the 2017 agricultural census conducted by the USDA National Statistics Service

Whitman County was ranked number one for the market value of grains in the state, and number two for pigs, sheep and goats.

The number of farms in Whitman County as of 2017 was 1,039, a decrease of 13 percent since 2012.

Although the number of farms decreased, the average size of the farms increased by 16 percent. The average size of a farm being 1,240 acres, according to the census.

The number of acres for farms in the county was 1,287,978, a one percent increase.

Jim Barrett, USDA public affairs specialist, said this was the first census where farmers could submit their information online. The government also mails surveys out in the mail to farmers.

The total farm production expenses for Whitman County was $239,876,000, and the net cash farm income totaled to $79,359,000, according to the census. The numbers mark a 54 percent decrease in income from 2012.

Total per farm production expenses were $230,872 and the per farm net cash income was $76.380, average per farm drop of 47 percent.

The census showed that 42 percent of Whitman County farms had to hire farm labor, and 90 percent of the farms are family owned.


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