The largest farms, with sales of $1 million or more, operate nearly 26% of U.S. farmland — six percentage points more than they did a decade ago, although the number of farms has changed little, said the USDA. In its annual Farms and Land in Farms report, the USDA estimated there were 2.003 million farms in the nation in 2022, a decline of 0.5 percentage points from 2012.
Some 88,660 farms, or 3.9% of the total, had sales of at least $1 million, said USDA. A decade ago, 3% of farms fit in that category. The average size of the largest farms, by sales, was 2,927 acres, or 4.6 square miles, in 2022. In 2012, farms with $1 million in sales were an average 2,481 acres.
“The average farm size for 2022 is 446 acres, up from 445 acres the previous year,” said USDA. “Average farm size increased in the $1 million or more sales class, and decreased or remained the same in all other sales classes.” Half of U.S. farmland is held by farms with less than $10,000 a year in sales of agricultural products.
The number of farms peaked during the Depression, at 6.8 million in 1935. The number fell sharply through the mid-1970s, with the decline attributed to mechanization and the introduction of hybrid crops and synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.