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Massachusetts Agricultural Data

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 2017 Census in Massachusetts. It was prepared by the Department of Resource Economics at UMass Amherst.

About the Agricultural Census

Basic census information about Massachusetts agriculture is presented with comparisons to previous census years within the pages of this section.

Top Five Types of Massachusetts Farms

When identifying the most prominent types of farms in Massachusetts, there are many different ranking systems that can be adopted.

Number of Farms

In general, throughout the 1970s and 1980s, farm numbers in Massachusetts increased as measured by the Census of Agriculture. The number of farms remains relatively high, though there was a slight decrease in farm numbers in 2017.

Land in Farms

Between 1997 and 2017, as the number of farms declined in Massachusetts, so did the total land in agriculture.

Market Value

After a consistent upward trend during the prior three decades, the value of agricultural products sold declined between 1997 and 2002, recovered over the following ten years, and has decreased slightly in 2017.

Farm Operators/ Producers

Before 2017, the Agricultural Census reported information for primary farm operators. From 1974 to 1987, the number of full time farmers grew by 22.4 percent. By 1987, there were nearly as many part-time farmers in the state as there were full-time farmers. In 2017, the Agricultural Census changed the way it collects information about who runs farms. Up to four producers can now be identified. This change makes it difficult to identify trends between pre- and post- 2017 census data.

Demographics of Farm Operators/ Producers

Female principal farm operators/ producers increased between 2002 and 2017, and male principal farm operators/ producers declined over this period.

Types of Business Organizations

In 2017, 5,773 farms of the total 7,241 (79.7 percent) were individually or family owned.

Farm Real Estate Values

New England has some of the highest farm real estate values in the country.

Input Price Indices

The ratio of farm prices received to prices paid has steadily decreased since 1990.

Renewable Energy

The 2017 Agricultural Census provides data on the number of farms that use renewable energy production systems. 

Additional Massachusetts Agricultural Data

Economic Impact of the Turfgrass Industry in New England

2017 Northeast Economic Engine: Agriculture, Forest Products and Commercial