Massachusetts Agricultural Census 2012
Farm Sizes Remain Constant
Although the state of Massachusetts saw an increase of nearly 27 percent in the number of farms from 2002 to 2007, not all farm classifications were affected equally. The percentages of smaller farms, those in the categories 179 acres and smaller all increased (Figure 3.3). The percentage of farms in the 180-499 acre range stayed virtually the same between 2002 and 2007. The percentages of large farms, those of 500 acres and more, decreased between 2002 and 2007.
Farms that were 1,000 or more acres in size took on the biggest increase of over 14 percent. Farms 1 to 9 acres and 10 to 49 acres in size also saw increases, between 0.9 to 5.5 percent. Although the state as a whole saw a 0.8 percent gain in the number of farms, farms sized 50 to 179 acres, 180 to 499 acres, and 500 to 999 acres actually saw a reduction in their numbers. Farms of 500 to 999 acres experienced a decrease in their numbers by 10 percent. Farms of 50 to 179 acres and 180 to 499 acres saw slightly less drastic reductions of 3.7 and 2 percent, respectively.
Although these decreases may seem significant, when taken into perspective of the distribution of farms for the entire state of Massachusetts, these decreases barely made a difference. The proportions of farms by size stayed nearly the same from 2007 to 2012. For example, farms of 1,000 acres or more increased in number by 14 percent, but changed very little when considered as a percentage of the total number of farms in the state (0.36 percent in 2007 compared to 0.41 percent in 2012.) The number of farms in the 500 to 999 acre size class declined by about 10 percent but still represents about 1 percent of all Massachusetts farms. The same is true across other categories of farms. While we saw changes in numbers, the percentages remained fairly constant, which can be seen by the distributions shown in Figure 3.3.