Census of Agriculture Highlights, New York State, 2007
Bills, Nelson L.; Stanton, Bernard F.
The Census of Agriculture provides a continuing historical record of what has happened on New York State farms and its wider rural economy. The purpose of this report is to provide readily accessible information on basic historical facts about agriculture in New York State such as land in farms, numbers of farms, acreage of major crops and numbers of livestock for census years dating back to 1992. Census results for 2007 show that 24 percent (7.5 million acres) of the State’s land area was in farms. This acreage is roughly equal to the land in farms reported in the early 1990s but far below the peak acreage in the early 1900s. Much of the land formerly in farms has reverted to forest or brush. Total cropland in 2007 was 4.31 million acres of which 79 percent was harvested. Some of these results trace to data adjustments made in conjunction with the 2002 and 2007 census tabulations. These adjustments accounted for under enumeration and helped boost harvested cropland acreage above levels reported in the late 1980s. Looking at farm numbers, New York has not shared in the 2002-2007 net increase in farm numbers reported nationally by the USDA for this decade; New York is among 11 states with net farm decreases between 2002 and 2007. This information must be interpreted with care because of important structural changes in acquisition, management, and reporting of census data in the last decade. Current census procedures involve USDA determinations on potential crop/ livestock commodity sales, along with the practice of counting participants in federal conservation programs as farms, if federal payments are sufficient to meet the $1,000 threshold required to qualify such a unit as a farm. In 2007, nearly 10,000 New York farms (27% of all farms) had commodity sales below $1,000 during the census year. The comparable percentage for the entire US is 31%.