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Wisconsin now has fewer farms, but those remaining are getting larger
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Wisconsin has fewer farms, but the ones that remain are growing in acreage and profitability.

According to the latest numbers from the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, the state had 69,800 farms in 2013, down 6,600 from 2008 and unchanged from 2012.

But those farms are getting larger, with an average size of 209 acres, up from 196 in 2008.

They are also getting more profitable, with 5,100 farms reporting sales of $500,000 and over, up 1,000 from 2008.

Number of farms

The statistical service explained that the decrease in the number of operations, especially between 2011 and 2013, came predominately from farms with sales of agricultural products and government payments in the $1,000 to $10,000 range—the smallest operations.

But those small farms still accounted for 31,000 of the total, the largest individual category. Farms with sales of $10,000 to $100,000 came next, at 21,200; followed by 7,500 farms at the $100,000 to $250,000 range; and 5,000 at $250,000 to $500,000.

Land in farms

Total land in farms in Wisconsin in 2013 was unchanged from the previous two years at 14.6 million acres. Farms in the $500,000 and over sales class increased by 400,000 acres between 2011 and 2013.

Smaller farms, with under $10,000 in sales, covered 2.1 million; with sales under $100,000, covered 2.9 million acres.

Medium-sized farms, $100,000 to $250,000, covered 2 million acres; and larger farms with up to $500,000 in sales totaled 2.1 million.

Average farm size

Not surprisingly, the largest farms in terms of sales volume—$500,000 and over—were the biggest, at an average of 1,078 acres. That’s up from 983 acres in 2008.

After that, size fell dramatically to 420 acres for farms with up to $500,000 in sales; 267 acres for farms up to $250,000; and 137 acres for farms posting up to $100,000 in sales.

The smallest farms averaged 68 acres, basically unchanged since 2008.


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Forage was being chopped and loaded north of Antigo on Angle Road Tuesday afternoon.
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