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Michigan Bits: USDA report says the state lost 300 farms last year.

February 29, 2024

2 Min Read
Panelist sit on a stage during USDA’s Ag Outlook Forum in Washington, D.C.
AG OUTLOOK: Tim Boring (left) was part of USDA’s Ag Outlook Forum in Washington, D.C. Photos by MDARD

During USDA’s recent Ag Outlook Forum in Washington, D.C., three state ag leaders — including Tim Boring, director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development — shared their perspectives on the future of U.S. agriculture and the challenges that producers are facing.

“Extreme weather continues to create a lot of challenges for us in Michigan, whether it’s too much rain at inopportune times or these short-term flash droughts,” Boring said. “Temperature swings are a big thing in a state like Michigan, where we’re dependent on trees budding out of the proper time in the spring so that they don’t get nipped by frost. The continued challenges the producers have of dealing with the effects of climate change.”

Boring said growers will need to build resiliency and diversity. “And to me that’s one of the true values of the work on the Climate Smart Commodities Program,” he said. “How do you incentivize soil health practices in the way that’s focused on outcomes to get us where we need to go to mitigate the effects of climate change, ultimately reverse some of these drivers of it?”

Boring was joined on stage by Alabama Agriculture Commissioner Rick Pate and Maine Agriculture Commissioner Amanda Beal.

Tim Boring, Rick Pate, Amanda Beal and Xochitl Torres Small pose for a group photo

USDA says Michigan lost 300 farms last year

The number of farms in Michigan in 2023 was 45,300, down 300 from the previous year, according to Marlo D. Johnson, director of the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service Great Lakes Regional Office. Land in farms was 9.5 million acres, unchanged from last year. The average-sized farm in Michigan was 210 acres per farm, up from 208 acres in 2022. 

The number of farms in the U.S. for 2023 is estimated at 1,894,950, down 5,700 farms from 2022. Total land in farms, at 878,560,000 acres, decreased 1,100,000 acres from 2022. The average farm size for 2023 is 464 acres, up from 463 acres the previous year.

A farm is defined as any establishment from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold during the year.

Find the full report on the NASS website.

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