Helena, Mont. – USDA’s National Agricultural Statistic Service today released the 2017 Census of Agriculture, highlighting several key data points important to Montana’s agriculture industry. Montana’s report can be found here.
“The Census of Agriculture is an important tool for both producers and policy makers,” said Montana Department of Agriculture Director Ben Thomas. “While the report shows that Montana farmers have taken a big hit in farm income over the last 5 years, it also shows that our producers aren’t taking those hits lying down, as they continue to diversify and adopt new practices to make their operations more resilient.”
Perhaps the most significant datapoint from the report is that farm income in Montana is down nearly 30% since 2012. The loss in farm income shows that Montana farmers have not been immune to the higher input costs, extreme weather, and market volatility facing the industry.
There are also several bright spots included in the report:
The Census of Agriculture is a complete count of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. The Census of Agriculture, taken only once every five years, looks at land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures.
The Montana Department of Agriculture’s mission is to protect producers and consumers, and to enhance and develop agriculture and allied industries.