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Farm Futures releases Best Places to Farm Report

Utilizing USDA Census of Agriculture data, the 20-year proprietary study tracks farm financial performance

1 Min Read
Ag census data from 2012 and 2017 show how financial performance migrated across the U.S. Record grain prices in 2012 helped profits surge across the Corn Belt and Prairies, but weather and rising surpluses punished 2017 crop incomes. Poultry saved the day for the Southeast in 2022.

In a new report from Farm Futures, the leading farm business magazine from Farm Progress, the Best Places to Farm ranks 3,056 counties across the United States by financial performance. By analyzing proprietary data and the recently released results from USDA’s 2022 Census of Agriculture, Farm Futures averaged weighted ranks of the ratios on return on assets, profit margins and asset turnover for each county. 

Contributing Market Analyst Bryce Knorr used the same formula to evaluate census data over the last 20 years. 

“In an era where size is seen as an economic driver for growers, our analysis shows farmland value and productivity are the other two legs of the performance stool,” said Pam Caraway, executive editor of Farm Futures. “Proximity to end users and diversity weigh heavily on whether farms prosper. The data is intriguing. The input provided by farmers across the country makes it fascinating.”

In this five-year cycle, several turbulent years led up to the 2022 U.S. Ag Census with a trade war, global pandemic, supply chain instability, plus a surge in inflation. Looking back on ag census data from 2012 and 2017 also shows how financial performance has moved across the U.S.

“Our dynamic report, Best Places to Farm, takes national on-farm financial performance data and makes it relevant on the local level,” said Mike Wilson, senior executive editor at Farm Progress. “Farming is local – and agriculture’s economic impact is essential for healthy rural communities.” 

To learn more about the Best Places to Farm report and view an interactive map to see how your county ranks, visit Best Places to Farm.

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