Thirty-four percent of Alabama farms are owned by women, up from 13% five years ago and well above the national average of 27%.
And while the number of Alabama farms has declined, 91% of all farms in the state are family owned, the same as five years ago.
That data and more was released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) Alabama office. The report is based on the 2017 Census of Agriculture, which additionally showed first-time data about on-farm decision making, down to the county level.
“The census shows new data that can be compared to previous censuses for insights into agricultural trends and changes down to the county level,” said NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “We are pleased to share first-time data on topics such as military status and on-farm decision making.”
Key Alabama Highlights
- There were 40,592 farms in Alabama in 2017, down from 43,223 farms in 2012. That represents a loss of 2,631 farms across the state.
- Females make up 34% of Alabama’s farm population in 2017, higher than the national average of 27%. In 2012, just 13% of Alabama farmers were female.
- Ninety-one percent of all Alabama farms are operated by families or individuals, almost no change from 2012.
- Alabama farms comprised 8.58 million acres of land in 2017, down from 8.9 million acres in 2012.
- Alabama producers sold $5.98 billion worth of agricultural products in 2017, compared to $5.57 billion in 2012. It cost $4.61 billion to produce these products in 2017, down from $4.74 billion in 2012.
- Poultry and eggs contributed 87% of the total livestock, poultry and products sold in Alabama, up from 85.2% in 2012.
- Alabama ranks second in the U.S. for broilers sold, quail inventory, catfish value sold and pounds of peanuts produced.
- The Top 10 counties in terms of number of farms is DeKalb, Cullman, Marshall, Jackson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Morgan, Limestone, Blount and Madison.
- 1,813 Alabama farm operators reported selling products directly to consumers. In 2017, these sales totaled almost $9.4 million, up 2.2% from 2012.
- The average Alabama farmer in 2017 in 58 years old, down slightly from 59.3 years old in 2012.
- 772 Alabama farms produced on-farm renewable energy, up 208% from 2012.
- Alabama farms with Internet access rose from 65% in 2012 to 73% in 2017.
Census data provide valuable insights into demographics, economics, land and activities on U.S. farms and ranches. In addition to the release, census results are available in online formats including video presentations, a new data query interface, maps and traditional data tables. To address questions about the 2017 Census of Agriculture data, @USDA_NASS will host a live Twitter “Ask the Census Experts” #StatChat Friday, April 12 at 1 p.m. ET. All Census of Agriculture information is available at nass.usda.gov/AgCensus.