The U.S. Department of Agriculture 2017 Census of Agriculture released today shows the number of farms in New Jersey has risen by more than 800 since the previous census in 2012. New Jersey is now listed as having 9,883 farms. The amount of land in farms had an increase of almost 20,000 acres at 734,000 acres.
“We take great pride in knowing that so many more residents of our state have decided to become intricately involved in agriculture,” New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Secretary Douglas Fisher said. “The increase demonstrates the many and diverse opportunities that are available right here in the Garden State. Our farmers have proven to consistently achieve high marks for the outstanding crops they produce.”
New Jersey’s overall agriculture products sold increased from just over $1 billion in 2012, to almost $1.1 billion.
The data also showed that the nursery, greenhouse, floriculture and sod industry continues to be New Jersey’s leading agricultural sector with sales at almost $500 million, an increase of $93 million from the previous census. New Jersey also has moved up to rank fifth in the nation in nursery stock sales.
Also showing an increase from 2012 was the fruit and vegetable industry at almost $364 million, up $27 million. Other industries that showed increases included horses, ponies, mules and donkeys up $10 million; other crops and hay up $10 million; cattle and calves up $2 million; and cultivated Christmas trees with an increase of $1 million. Decreases were seen in grain, oilseeds, dry beans and dry peas and in poultry and eggs.
New Jersey also was well ahead of the national average with 40 percent of its farmers being women. The national average is 27 percent.
The Garden State’s growth in number of farms and land in farms, went against the national trend which saw decreases of 3.2 percent in number of farms and 1.6 percent in acres farmed.
Even with the increase in overall agricultural products sold, New Jersey’s average net income for farmers decreased by just over 1 percent, likely due to the increased expenses in farming.
Conducted since 1840, the Census of Agriculture accounts for all U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. More detailed data will be released throughout 2019, with the next update on May 30 with more details on states and individual counties. Congressional district profiles and rankings will be released in late June.
To be counted in the federal census, a farm must have sold or had the potential to sell at least $1,000 worth of agricultural products.