Every five years, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) conducts a census of U.S. agriculture. The objective is to obtain a complete picture of agriculture in the U.S. We last reviewed the status of Massachusetts agriculture following the 2002 Census – it’s time for an update.
Basic census information about Massachusetts agriculture is presented with comparisons to previous census years in the pages of this website. The basic statistical unit of measurement is a “farm,” defined as any place that produces $1,000 or more of agricultural products (What is a farm?). You’ll notice that we show two values for 1997 in most of our graphs and tables. This is because the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) changed its reporting for the 2002 Agricultural Census, showing coverage adjusted totals for all data. In previous years, coverage adjusted totals were only available for some data and were not presented in the main tables. To illustrate how the coverage adjustments affect descriptive measures, both unadjusted and adjusted measures are shown for 1997 in our graphs and tables (What is a coverage adjustment?).