Statistics released today show Iowa lost hundreds of farms last year. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Iowa lost 500 farms last year, according to information released Feb. 17, 2017, by the United States Department of Agriculture.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service report showed the total number of farms in Iowa in 2016 was 87,000, down 500 farms compared to one year ago.

At the same time, however, the total farmland in Iowa in 2016 remained at 30.5 million acres; unchanged since 2014.

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Here is more from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service:

The largest decrease in number of farms came in the $1,000-$9,999 sales class range with a decrease of 600 farms from 26,600 in 2015 to 26,000 in 2016.

Total land in farms in that price range fell to 0.9 million acres, while total
land in farms in the $1 million and over range rose to 9.6 million acres.

The average farm size in Iowa in 2016 was 351 acres, up 2 acres since last year. The average farm size in the $1 million and over sales class increased 32 acres from
1,301 in 2015 to 1,333 in 2016.

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Nationwide, the number of farms in the United States for 2016 was estimated at 2.06 million, down 8,000 farms from 2015.

Total land in farms, at 911 million acres, decreased 1 million acres from 2015. The average farm size for 2016 was 442 acres, up 1 acre from the previous year.

Farm numbers and land in farms are differentiated by six economic sales classes. Farms and ranches are classified into the six sales classes by summing the sales of agricultural products and government program payments.

Sales class breaks occur at $10,000, $100,000, $250,000, $500,000, and $1 million. Producers were asked during the 2016 mid-year surveys to report the value of sales based on production during the 2015 calendar year.

Point Farms are farms that did not have the required minimum $1,000 in sales for the year to qualify as a farm, but had sufficient crops and livestock to normally have sales of $1,000 or more. Those farms are assigned a sales class based on the sum of the agricultural point (dollar) values assigned to the quantity of commodities produced but not sold.

The 2012 Census of Agriculture showed that 428,810 farms or 20.3 percent of the 2.11 million farms were Point Farms. The Point Farms operated 63 million acres or 6.9 percent of the 914.5 million acres of farmland.

While the number of farms declined by 8,000 from 2015, the number of farms in Sales Class $250,000 – $499,999 increased and all other sales classes declined slightly.

Fifty percent of all farms had less than $10,000 in sales. Eighty percent of all farms had less than $100,000 in sales and 8 percent of all farms had sales of $500,000 or

The complete report can be found under Publications on the USDA NASS website at