Massachusetts Agricultural Census
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 nation. These web pages provide an overview of the results of the 2012 Census in Massachusetts. It was prepared by the Department of Resource Economics at UMass Amherst.
Basic census information about Massachusetts agriculture is presented with comparisons to previous census years within the pages of this section.
When identifying the most prominent types of farms in Massachusetts, there are many different ranking systems that can be adopted.
In general, throughout the 1970s and 1980s, farm numbers in Massachusetts increased as measured by the Census of Agriculture.
Between 1997 and 2002, as the number of farms declined in Massachusetts, so did the total land in agriculture.
After a consistent upward trend during the prior three decades, the value of agricultural products sold declined between 1997 and 2002, but seems to have recovered over the following ten years.
From 1974 to 1987, the number of full time farmers grew by 22.4 percent compared to nearly 72 percent for part-time farmers. By 1987, there were nearly as many part-time farmers in the state as there were full-time farmers.
Female principal farm operators increased between 2002 and 2007 by 921 and between 2007 and 2012 by 281.
In 2012, 6,168 farms of the total 7,755 (79.5 percent) were individually or family owned.
New England has some of the highest farm real estate values in the country.
Prices received by farmers in the U.S. increased almost one and a half times, from an index value of 94 in 1979 to 139 in 2010 (the indexes have a common base year where 1977=100).