Massachusetts Agricultural Census 2012
The total value of agricultural products sold directly to consumers in Massachusetts increased by 14 percent between 2007 and 2012, from $42.07 million to about $47.91 million. The market value of agricultural products sold to individuals has been showing an increasing trend with only an observed decline of 2 percent in sales between the year of 1982 and 1992. The number of farms that sold directly to consumers increased by 32 percent in 2007 to 1,659 farms, and again by 33 percent to 2,209 farms in 2012. Figure 4.5 below shows that the number of farms has been increasing since 1978 with an exception for the period between the years of 1982 and 1992, where there was a 22 percent decline in the number of farms, the period between 1997 and 2002, where there was a 14 percent decline in the number of farms.
When we calculate sales directly to consumers on a per farm basis, Massachusetts is second in the nation with a per farm average of $21,718 per agricultural products being sold directly to consumers, behind only Delaware ($24,034) and ahead of Connecticut ($21,436) and California ($19,785). Despite the high rank, the figure for 2012 represents a 14 percent decrease in direct-to-consumer sales for Massachusetts compared to 2007. Of the six highest-ranking states for direct-to-consumer sales, only Delaware saw an average per farm increase (48 percent) in sales between 2007 and 2012. Rhode Island farmers sold an average of $16,630 per farm directly to consumers in 2007. a decrease of 34 percent compared to 2007. Despite the decreases, which may be attributable to the national economic downturn during this period, Massachusetts farmers continue to find ways to effectively capture a larger portion of local consumer dollars through direct sales.