Ag Census Numbers Show Number Of South Dakota Farms Have Dropped Between 2012 And 2017

The latest Census of Agriculture shows the numbers of farms in South Dakota dropped by two thousand from 2012 to 2017. SDSU Extension Ag Economist and Risk Business Management Specialist Matt DIersen says the loss of farms and larger operations is following a national trend…

“Got the same pattern has been going on for quite some time. Some of its just normal consolidation that you’d see a small farm that may be had been diversified at one time transitions and moves in; maybe its…part of its taken over by a slightly larger, or just a neighboring operation that’s going to make…result in a bigger farm at the end of the day.”

The Ag Census shows the biggest drop in farms in South Dakota from 2012 to 2017 of 1,850 were in smaller operations, those between 10 and 1,000 acres. Diersen says it’s difficult to say what caused that type of loss…

“Where they a commercial operation…was it a hobby farm, that kind of thing to or was it just that happened to be the last place that was held by someone who retired. Or maybe retired; effectively retired and moved it, just…just finally transitioned off the…off of the farm or out of the farming operation as well so it’s hard to say when you’re dealing with those smallest farms…the smallest farms in a categories.”

He says all sectors of agricultural are currently facing a financial pinch and there’s not a lot of good news out there…

“I mean on the crop side, you have depressed prices and you have this inability to turn the spigot off and get into the fields in any way. We’ve seen a hand full; and HANDFUL of corn acres planted in a…kind of across South Dakota. On the livestock side, there’s been the run up in hard prices, but quite a sizeable on the…on the livestock side or on the cattle side here as well.”

Diersen advises producers to keep talking to their lenders and try to stay out in front of any problems they may have before they get worse.