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Number of Farms by Market Value

Massachusetts Agricultural Census 2017

We have observed that most Massachusetts farms operate on a limited number of acres. It is also true that most Massachusetts farms are small when we consider the market value of products sold. The pie chart below shows the percentages of Massachusetts farms that fall into each of eight different sales categories. When represented as a percentage of the total number of farms in 2017, there appears to be a slight decrease in the number of farms that sold $2,500 or less in agricultural products as compared to 2012; 45 percent of the state's farms fall into this category, compared to 47 percent in 2012. In 2017, 11 percent of the state's farms sold between $10,000 and $24,999 in agricultural products, the same as in 2012.  Ten percent of the state's farms had sales in the range of $2,500 to $4,999 and 11 percent sold less than $9,999 but more than $5,000. Only 3 percent of the state's farms sold $500,000 or more of agricultural products, which has held steady since 2007.

The decrease in overall farm numbers is revealed in decreases in the numbers of farms in the different sales categories. The distribution of farms by the value of products sold has seen some changes in the past five years. In 2017, 3,258 farms fell into the category of making less than $2,500 for that year. This number decreased by 11.1 percent from 2012 and represents the largest decrease in a value of sales class. The number of farms that sold between $10,000 and $24,999 of agricultural products also declined, by 10.1 percent between 2012 and 2017, which shows a reversal from the nearly 45 percent increase in this sales class between 2002 and 2007. There were 774 farms in this sales class in Massachusetts in 2017. The largest increase of 8.5 percent in the number of farms occurred in the sales value category of more than $500,000. The number of farms in this category increased to 217 in 2017 as compared to 200 farms in 2012. The next largest increase occurred in the $25,000 to $49,999 sales value category, which saw a similar 8.2 percent increase between 2012 and 2017.