USDA projects record agricultural exports of $140 billion for fiscal year 2013. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack tied the announcement to frustration with Congress over lack of progress on a new farm bill.
“We’re counting on Congress to help keep up this momentum. With just a few weeks left before expiration of many Farm Bill programs, including trade promotion programs that return $35 in economic benefits for every dollar invested, producers and rural communities need passage of a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill as soon as possible,” Vilsack said in a statement.
Vilsack also links immigration reform to sound future for U.S. ag trade.
After noting a new farm bill was vital, he added this kicker: “America’s farmers and ranchers need a reliable and stable agricultural workforce to keep up production. House passage of the commonsense immigration reform measure already approved by a bipartisan majority in the U.S. Senate, would further strengthen American agriculture and keep the U.S. on solid footing to maintain strong exports in the years to come.”
While the average size of U.S. crop farms has changed little in three decades, the, USDA says in a new report that this seeming stability masks important structural changes in the farm sector: growing numbers of very small and very large farms and declining numbers of mid-sized farms. In the process, cropland acreage is moving toward much larger farms.
The acreage shift is substantial and widespread and follows from developments in technology and in farm organization. In 2011, 1.68 million U.S. farms had cropland, and the average size is 234 acres.
But there’s no such thing as an “average” farm according to the new report in the previous item.
Reason: Huge variation in farm size and skewed distribution.