Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey says the recently released report of the 2012 Census of Agriculture preliminary data shows Iowa has seen dramatic increases in the total value of agriculture production, value of crops sold and value of livestock sold. The growth has allowed Iowa to move in to second place nationally in each category since the last Census of Agriculture in 2007. The U.S. Census of Agriculture is conducted by USDA every five years.
"The impact of Iowa's agriculture industry is tremendous, and it continues to grow," Northey says. "The growth over the last five years is a testament to the hard work, creativity and persistence of our farmers. Even with the recent softening of commodity prices, Iowa agriculture is well positioned to continue to be a key driver of the state's economy."
New census data shows strength and diversity of Iowa agriculture
Iowa's total value of agriculture production increased more than 50% from $20.4 billion in 2007 to $30.8 billion in 2012. The value of crops sold in Iowa increased by two-thirds from $10.3 billion to $17.4 billion. The value of Iowa livestock production increased by one-third from $10.1 billion to $13.5 billion.
Iowa moved from third nationally in each category into second place nationally, passing Texas in the total value of production, passing Illinois in the value of crops sold and passing California in the value of livestock sold.
Additional preliminary Census of Agriculture date can be found online. The final census results will be released in May and will include U.S., state and county data on livestock inventory, crop acreage and production, energy, land use practices and production expenses.
"The Census of Agriculture is a key resource used in evaluating and implementing policies and programs to help the U.S. agriculture economy, invest in rural America and support the next generation of farmers," says U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Since 1840, the census has kept a record of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. For the 2012 Census, USDA's National Agriculture Statistics Service asked new questions on Internet access, regional food systems, biomass production, agro-forestry and equine.