FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — A farm organization official said an
increase in “hobby farmers” eventually may skew the numbers in the Census of
Agriculture, which gathers information on the nation’s farms and the people who
Roger Hadley, Allen County Farm Bureau president, told
The Journal Gazette the
number of farms in some counties in northeast Indiana may have increased, but
the boost is misleading.
“There are folks with a few acres with horses or vegetables
that are being counted in the census data,” he said. “It’s something they do on
the side, and it’s not their main job. They’re probably not what you think of
when you hear the word ‘farm.’”
The latest census found fewer farms in Indiana than five
years earlier, but the farms were slightly larger, a trend seen nationwide.
The census found there were 58,695 farms in Indiana in 2012,
down from 60,936 in 2007, but a smaller decrease in farm land. There were
14,720,396 acres of farm land in Indiana in 2012 compared with 14,773184 in
The average size of a farm increased to 251 acres, up from
242 acres five years earlier.
Hadley said consolidation and retirements contributed to a
decline in farm totals, but the decrease probably would have been more had
smaller farms not been counted.
The census showed Indiana ranked 10 among states in
agricultural sales at $11.2 billion.
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