Hometown Farmer: 2012 Ag Census

The USDA is showing off the results of its 2012 census of agriculture.

At first glance, Siouxland's numbers are good.

In South Dakota the value of all products sold by farmers in 2012 was just over $10 million, that's up from $6.5 million in 2007.

The census was last taken that year.

Nebraska was up to $23 million, up from $15.5 million in 2007.

And in Iowa, the value of all products sold by farmers in 2012 was $30.8 million, that's up about 51% from 2007.

"That was probably our peak for a while to be quite honest with you," said Iowa State University Extension Agronomist Joel DeJong.

He says if you want to find out why the numbers were so high, you've got to remember what was happening.

The growing season of 2012 was one most farmers around here won't forget.

Siouxland was in the middle of a huge drought and grain prices were high.

"It was a very good crop year and it wasn't a very good livestock year," said DeJong.

That could explain why Iowa beat out Texas for amount of agriculture sales that year.

But now, two years later, things might have turned around.

"The livestock prices have gone up, and even though we have a lot of hogs in the state, we really trail Texas in the number of cattle," said DeJong.

Even with 2012 being an "out there" type of year for all types of farm sales, DeJong says the numbers don't tell the whole story.

"It was a drought, we produced very little crop," said DeJong. "Even though the price was high, for some people it really was a terrible year."

The full ag census report should be released on May 2nd.

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