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Average Farm Size

Massachusetts Agricultural Census 2017

Small Farms Increase in Number, Other Sizes Decrease in Number

From 2002 to 2017, the percentages of smaller farms (1 to 9 acres and smaller) increased 66 percent (Figure 3.3). Farms between 10 to 49 acres also increased 14.3 percent between 2002 and 2017. The number of farms in the 180-499 acre range decreased slightly (7.7 percent) between 2002 and 2017. Large farms, those of 500 acres to 999 acres, decreased almost 29 percent between 2002 and 2017, and very large farms, those of 1,000 or more acres, decreased about 27.3 percent over that time.

Cited previously: Most Farms are Small Farms.
Cited previously: Distribution of Farms in Massachusetts Counties

Although these decreases may seem significant, they do not impact the overall distribution of farm sizes in the state of Massachusetts. The proportions of farms by size stayed nearly the same from 2002 to 2017. For example, farms of 1,000 acres or more decreased in number by 27.3 percent, but changed very little when considered as a percentage of the total number of farms in the state (0.54 percent in 2002 compared to 0.33 percent in 2002.) The number of farms in the 500 to 999 acre size class declined by about 29 percent but still represents about 1-2 percent of all Massachusetts farms. The number of farms in the 10 to 49 acre category have fluctuated somewhat between 2002 and 2017, but continue to represent between 35 percent and 37 percent of all 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.