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USDA website

USDA website


Monroe County is a fairly urban place, but agriculture is still big business.

This remains true despite a huge drop in the number of farms. There were 475 farms in 2012, down from 585 farms in 2007. Acreage dipped below 100,000 for the first time, a 26 percent drop in 5 years. Yet the market value of crop and livestock sales has increased 25 percent since 2007 to $90,580,000. The average farm is 208 acres, pulls in $190,696 in sales and receives $13,000 in government payments. (Monroe County has a website detailing farmland protection plans.)

Last week, the USDA released interactive maps detailing the finances, characteristics of farmers, ownership details, plants, livestock, and more of farms across the country. The data is from 2012.

You can definitely spend some time checking out this web tool.

Google Street View, Spencerport

Google Street View, Spencerport

Some things I learned:

– Seventy-eight percent of farms are owned by families or individuals.

– Seventy percent of principal owners operate their own farms. Only 16 percent don’t live on the farm.

– This surprised me: Thirty percent of Monroe County farms have a woman principal operator.

– This did not surprise me: Thirty percent of farm owners are aged 65 or older.

– Thirty-nine percent of harvested cropland in Monroe County is corn. Eighteen percent is soybean. Twelve percent is hay. Ten percent is wheat. Two percent are orchards.

– More than half of Monroe County farms – 54 percent – have annual sales of less than $10,000. Thirteen percent of Monroe County farms have sales of more than $250,000.

– Twenty-two percent of farms receive government payments.

– There are 6 cows per 100 acres of farmland in Monroe County. Nearly one-third are milk cows.

Our neighboring counties obviously have more farms, but I thought these maps are a neat reminder of the diversity right here in our own backyard.


Google Maps, Chili

Google Maps, Chili


Links of the Day:


– A new Siena poll shows Rich Funke with only 9-point lead over Ted OBrien.

– A high-achieving New York teacher sued the state over an evaluation labeling her “ineffective.”

– Private companies are also collecting license plate data.

– An FCC proposal could pave the way for a la carte Internet TV packages.

– It’s just not right to watch a man risk his life for TV ratings.

– Macy’s Herald Square has had a makeover, including the famous shoe department, where runners will find one pair out of 250,000 and bring it to customers in two minutes or less!

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