Agriculture report shows fewer but larger farms in U.S.

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In this April 26, 2018, photo, workers plant romaine lettuce at the EG Richter Family Farm in Puyallup, Wash. The farm sells most of it's lettuce to large local grocery store chains, and owner Tim Richter says that so far his farm hasn't been affected by warnings that romaine lettuce from Yuma, Ariz., apparently has been contaminated with the E. coli bacteria. Richter says he urges consumers to stay away from bagged lettuce and to always cut and wash their own produce. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The latest Census of Agriculture shows the number of farms and ranches in the U.S. has fallen but the remaining operations are larger and are responsible for a higher percentage of agricultural sales.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released the 2017 Census of Agriculture on Thursday, marking the 29th release of the report since the government began collecting the data in 1840. Since 1982, it has been released every five years.

The census shows there were 2.04 million farms and ranches in 2017, down 3.2 percent from 2012. The average size of those operations was 441 acres, an increase of 1.6 percent.

About 75 percent of all sales came from only 105,453 of those farms, down more than 14,000 from 2012.

The average age of producers was 57.5.

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