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Smaller farms decline continues

The number of farms and ranches in the United States in 2000 is estimated at 2.17 million, down 0.9 percent from 1999.

The USDA says the decline in farms and ranches occurred primarily in agricultural operations with less than $10,000 in sales. This is the largest decline in farms and ranches since 1991 when just over 29,000 operations were lost.

Total land in farms, at 943.0 million acres, declined 0.5 percent or 4.4 million acres from a year earlier. The average size of farms increased two acres from 432 acres in 1999 to 434 acres in 2000.

Statistics show the number of U.S. agricultural operations in the economic sales class of $1,000-$9,999 declined 1.7 percent to 1,173,650 in 2000. Farms and ranches with sales in the $10,000-$99,999 economic class increased slightly to 649,350 operations, while operations with over $100,000 rose 0.1 percent to 349,080.

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