Press Release - Rick Pate
April 07, 2019
Contact: Amy Belcher, 334-240-7126
2017 Census of Agriculture Data Now Available
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) Alabama office today announced the results of the 2017 Census of Agriculture with new information about Alabama farms and those who operate them, including first-time data about on-farm decision making, down to the county level.

“The Census shows new data that can be compared to previous censuses for insights into agricultural trends and changes down to the county level,” said NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “We are pleased to share first-time data on topics such as military status and on-farm decision making.”

Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries Rick Pate said, “We appreciate the hours of work that the NASS staff dedicates to gathering and compiling this information. The numbers released today will impact decisions made by leaders on the state level and in Washington for years to come.”

Census data provides valuable insights into demographics, economics, land and activities on U.S. farms. Some key Alabama highlights include:

  • Alabama producers sold $6.0 billion worth of agricultural products, but it cost them $4.6 billion to produce these products.
  • Poultry and eggs contributed 87.0 percent of the total livestock, poultry and products sold in Alabama.  
  • In Alabama, 4.2 percent of farms earning $1.0 million or more accounted for nearly 74.5 percent of the value of sales for Alabama products.  Farms with less than $1,000 in sales accounted for 33.1 percent of Alabama farms.  
  • Alabama is second in the U.S. for broilers sold, quail inventory, catfish value sold, and pounds of peanuts produced.
  • Ninety-one percent of all Alabama farms are operated by families or individuals.
  • 1,813 Alabama farm operators reported selling products directly to consumers. In 2017, these sales totaled almost $9.4 million (up 2.2 percent from 2012).
  • Alabama farms with internet access rose from 65 percent in 2012 to 73 percent in 2017.
  • 772 Alabama farms produced on-farm renewable energy, up 208 percent from 2012.
  • The average Alabama farmer in 2017 is 58 years old, operates 211 acres, had $147,334 sales, $8,892 of government payments and production expenses of $113,706.
Results are available in many online formats including video presentations, a new data query interface, maps, and traditional data tables. To address questions about the 2017 Census of Agriculture data, @USDA_NASS will host a live Twitter “Ask the Census Experts” #StatChat on Friday, April 12 at 12 p.m. CT. All Census of Agriculture information is available at

The Census tells the story of American agriculture and is an important part of our history. First conducted in 1840 in conjunction with the decennial Census, the Census of Agriculture accounts for all U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. Today, NASS sends questionnaires to nearly 3 million potential U.S. farms and ranches. The Census remains the only source of comprehensive agricultural data for every state and county in the nation and is invaluable for planning the future.