For immediate release
April 18, 2019
United States Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service
New Mexico Field Office
Media Contact: Longino Bustillos, State Statistician
New Mexico Department of AgricultureMedia Contact: Kristie Garcia, Public Information Officer
Newly released Census of Agriculture data reveals young farmers and farmers with military service play key role in New Mexico
New Mexico’s percentage of farmers and ranchers with military service was higher than national average
Cruces, New Mexico) – Newly released data from the 2017 Census of Agriculture
features new tables indicating the relevance of young producers, beginning
farmers and ranchers, and producers with military service in New Mexico.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service
(NASS) released the Census data last week.
producers are those age 35 years or younger, while beginning farmers and
ranchers are those with 10 years or fewer on any farm. USDA defines a farm as “any
place that produced and sold, or normally would have sold, $1,000 or more of
agricultural products during the Census year.” The definition of “farms”
includes farms, ranches, nurseries and greenhouses.
Mexico is one of the few states in which the number of farms continues to
increase, and New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte said female
producers play an important role in the state’s family farms.
had 15,170 farms in 2002, and that number grew to 25,044 in 2017,” said Witte.
“And female producers accounted for 41% of our producers in New Mexico in
state also had 10,628 new and beginning producers, which was 26% of the state’s
total number of producers (40,850).
the 26% of farmers who consider themselves new or beginning farmers, the
average age is 50.1, which tells us that New Mexicans are returning to farming
from other careers,” Witte said. “This once again proves that New Mexico has a
strong culture in ag and that our people have a strong desire to grow and continue
to provide food for their families.”
said it is important to see the number of young producers increase, especially
due to the high average age of producers in the state. New Mexico has the
second highest average age of producers in the U.S. at 59.8, second only to
Hawaii. In 2017, the Land of Enchantment had 2,848 young producers, which was
approximately 7% of the state’s total number of producers.
need to continue to engage our youth and keep them interested in the
agriculture industry,” said Witte. “Whether it’s farming, technology, ranching
or the value-added industry, there are many opportunities in New Mexico.”
New Mexico State Statistician Longino Bustillos said the USDA made a shift in
the way it counts the number of producers farming or ranching, which affected
the age and the number of female producers in 2017.
number of female producers and age demographic was calculated by allowing up to
four producers at each operation to report, and taking the average age of those
individuals,” Bustillos said. “This more accurately reflects the average age
and the number of female producers making decisions on the farm. Because of the
new method, USDA calculates the average age of producers from the 2012 Census
at 58.3 in New Mexico, as opposed to 60.5, which was the average age determined
when we only requested the age of the main operator.”
addition to female producers, young producers and beginning producers, New
Mexico saw a shift in farmers and ranchers with military service. That number
totaled 5,366, which was 13% of New Mexico’s total and was higher than the
national average of 11%.
area of needed improvement for New Mexico is its internet access among farms.
Only 60% of farms in New Mexico have internet access. New Mexico continues to
lag behind the national average in farms with internet access, which is
75%. Internet access in New Mexico only increased by 4% from the 2012
Census of Agriculture.
reiterated the importance of responding to the Census.
gives voice and opportunity to all farmers and ranchers to tell the changing
story of agriculture over the years and identify emerging trends and needs,”
said Bustillos. “We thank each and every person who took the time to respond.”
the 2017 Census of Agriculture in New Mexico was 72.2%, which exceeded the
national average response rate of 71.5.
NASS is pleased to share first-time data on topics such as military status and on-farm decision making. To make it easier to find data of your interest, results are available in many online formats including a new data query interface, as well as traditional data tables. All Census of Agriculture information is available at www.nass.usda.gov/AgCensus.
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