GFB News Magazine

2022 Census of Agriculture: The numbers are in

by Jennifer Whittaker
GFB Publications Editor

Posted on June 4, 2024 12:21 PM

What do baseball and agriculture have in common? Both have a lot of statistics!

The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) conducts the Census of Agriculture (COA) every five years. USDA released the 2022 COA report Feb. 13. NASS reports the national response rate for the 2022 COA was 61%. Georgia’s response rate was 54.6%, said Anthony Prillaman, director of the USDA NASS Southern Region, which covers Georgia, Alabama, Florida and South Carolina.

"I want to thank all the farmers and ranchers who responded to the 2022 Census of Agriculture,” said Prillaman. “The data will inform decisions about policy, farm and conservation programs, rural development, research, technology development, ag education, and more over the next several years.”

A census summary for every Georgia county is available at

Vital Stats

The USDA defines a farm as any place that produces and sells $1,000 or more of agricultural products or would have in the census year. 

Between 2017 and 2022, the number of U.S. producers held steady at 3.4 million. 

Georgia has 67,082 producers the 2022 census shows, while it had 68,087 producers in 2017. That’s a loss of 1,005 producers.                                                                       

The latest census shows there are 1.9 million farms/ranches in the U.S. That’s down 7% from the 2017 census when there were 2.04 million. The total amount of farmland in the U.S. is 880.1 million acres, down 2% from 900 million in 2017.

Census data shows Georgia has 39,264 farms. In 2017, Georgia reported 42,439 farms. That’s a 7% loss or 3,175 farms. Georgia had 49,343 farms in 1997. Between then and 2022, Georgia lost 10,079 farms.

“We saw similar changes in other states,” Prillaman said. “In terms of farm numbers, the census data showed that most of the decline occurred in farms that have less than 180 acres.”

The amount of farmland in Georgia changed little between 2017 and 2022. The 2022 census shows there are 9.939 million acres of farmland in Georgia. In 2017, Georgia had 9.953 million acres of farmland, a loss of 14,417 acres. In 1997, Georgia had 11.26  million acres. Over 25 years, Georgia lost 1.3 million acres of  farmland.

Farm production & expenses

The market value of all agricultural products Georgia farmers sold in 2022 came in at $13.23 billion. Georgia’s 2017 market value of all ag products was $9.6 billion. It was $5.2 billion in 1997. Total farm production expenses in 2022 averaged $235,510 per Georgia farm, up 41% from 2017 when the average was $167,609. 

Farm size

The average size of a U.S. farm is 463 acres, up 5% in the past five years from 441 acres. The median size of U.S. farms - the number that separates the higher half of a set of numbers from the lower half – is 72 acres; it was 75 acres in 2017.

The average size of farms in Georgia is 253 acres. In 2017 it was 235 acres. In 1997 it was 265 acres. The median size of Georgia farms is 70 acres; in 2017 it was 67 acres. 

Farmers by age

The average age of the U.S. farmer is 58.1 years, up 0.6 years from 2017. 

People between 35-64 years account for 53% of U.S. producers. People 65 years and older make up 38% of U.S. farmers. People under 35 years account for 9% of U.S. producers. 

National statistics show on average, producers are older in Southern states and younger in Midwestern states.

The average age of Georgia’s farmers is 59 years. Georgia has 35,365 producers between the ages of 35-64 per the 2022 census. There are 26,686 producers 65 years and older. Georgia has 5,031 producers under age 35. 

Farmers by gender

In Georgia, the 2022 census shows 43,322 producers were male and 23,760 were female. In 2017, Georgia had 44,839 (64.6%) male producers and 23,248 (35.4%) female. Female producers increased by 512 during the past five years while there are 1,517 fewer male producers.

The 2022 census shows 2.2 million (64%) of U.S. producers are male and 1.2 million (36%)  are female, the same as  2017.   

Farmers by ethnicity

For 2022, the ethnic and racial description of Georgia farmers is as follows: 55 Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander; 229 American Indian or Alaska Native; 584 Asian; 996 Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin; 2,700 African American; 62,985 White; and 529 reported more than one race.

Nationwide, the 2022 census shows the ethnic or racial identities of U.S producers to be: 3,419 Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander; 22,788 Asian; 41,807 African American; 56,203 American Indian/Alaska Native; 30,564 reported more than one race; 112,379 of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin; 3.2 million are White.

Full-time vs part-time farming

Nationwide, 38% of U.S. producers reported they did not work off the farm in 2022. Another 22% reported working off the farm 1 to 199 days and 40% worked off the farm 200 or more days.

There were 25,197 Georgia producers who said they didn’t work off the farm in 2022. Another 15,224 Georgia producers reported working off the farm 1 to 199 days, and 26,661 Georgians reported working off the farm 200 or more days.

Beginning farmers are middle aged

Beginning farmers have 10 or fewer years farming experience regardless of age. Nationwide, beginning producers increased in the number of producers as a category and share of all producers. About 1 million of the 3.4 million U.S. producers in 2022 were beginning farmers. Their average age was 47.1, and their farms were smaller than average in acres and sales.

Georgia had 23,085 farmers in the 2022 census classified as beginning farmers. These producers are associated with 14,543 Georgia farms associated with 2.46 million acres of farmland.

 Georgia ranked 7th in the U.S. for its percentage of beginning farmers - 34.4%.