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Farm Action Responds to 2022 Census of Agriculture, Corporate Consolidation’s Impact on Farmers

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service released the 2022 Census of Agriculture, which reports data every five years on America’s farms, ranches, and those who operate them.

In response, Farm Action released the following statement which can be attributed to Joe Maxwell, a farmer and Chief Strategy Officer for Farm Action:

“Today’s census substantiates what farmers have known to be true for decades: Increasing concentration within our agricultural markets is squeezing America’s small and mid-sized farms out of business. While our farmers struggle with fewer suppliers to buy from and purchasers to sell to, the largest food and agriculture corporations are gaining greater power and raking in record profits off the backs of farmers and driving them off the land.

“These numbers scare the hell out of me, and this census should be a call to action for the Biden administration and Congress to take a hard line against the dominant firms controlling our food and farm system.”

The latest census outlines the consolidation of America’s farmland. Small and mid-sized farms declined rapidly while the number of large farms increased. Between 2017 to 2022, the U.S. lost a total of 141,733 farms, or roughly 7%. According to the 2022 Census of Agriculture:

  • While inventories remained relatively stable, since 2017, we lost 34% of dairy farms, 8.5% of hog farms, 7% of beef cattle farms, and 12% of our feedlots.

  • Since 2002, we have lost 61% of our dairy farms, 23% of hog farms, 13% of beef cattle farms, and 72% of our feedlots.

  • The largest farms (with sales of $5 million or more) accounted for fewer than 1% of all farms but 42% of all sales.

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