Number of farms declines by 8,000

USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service reports there were 2.06 million farms in the United States in 2016 in its Farms and Land in Farms 2016 report issued this month. The number of farms is down 8,000 from 2015. Total land in farms decreased one million acres from 2015 to 911 million acres. The average farm size is 442 acres, up one acre from 2015. Changes by farm sale The number of farms with sales of $250,000 to $499,999 increased while all other farms decreased. The majority of all farms, 80%, had less than $100,000 in sales, while 50% of all farms had less than $10,000 in sales. On the other end of the scale, 8% of all farms had sales of $500,000 or more. Changes in the number

USDA Ag Outlook: Farm economy sentiment improving

Ag sector as a whole will continue to adjust to lower prices with increased supplies in most crop and livestock segments. Financial conditions in 2016 had many agricultural economists concerned about projected trends and the financial health of farm country. However, the resilience in the countryside has revealed a more moderate financial scenario that shows there are some bright spots, U.S. Department of Agriculture chief economist Rob Johansson told the 93rd annual USDA Outlook Forum. “I think 2016 was much better than I thought it would be,” Johansson said. “When looking at farm income numbers last year at this time, I think (USDA) had projected lower farm income than we ended up with. Fa

Warm, dry spring ahead for Pacific Northwest, weatherman says

SPOKANE — El Nino will return to the Pacific Northwest, bringing with it a warm, dry spring, weatherman Art Douglas says. Douglas said the El Nino weather pattern began developing in January as surface temperatures in the eastern Pacific Ocean began to increase. A ridge of high pressure off the West Coast will also develop, blocking storms from reaching the Pacific Northwest, Douglas said. He spoke at the Spokane Ag Expo on Feb. 7. “Even though this developing El Nino’s going to favor ... presumably warmer temperatures, we’re going to have to melt the snow first to see that climb,” he said. “Rather than warming up in February, we’re going to have to wait until later in March.” Temperatures w

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