The number of farms in the United States for 2016 is estimated at 2.06 million, down 8,000 farms from the year prior. The USDA reports that total land in farms, at 911 million acres, also decreased by 1 million acres from 2015. The average size for an average operation is now 442 acres, which increased by one acre from the previous year.
Farm numbers and land in farms are differentiated by six economic sales classes. Farms and ranches are classified into these 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 $1,000,000. 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. Point 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. These Point Farms operated 63.0 million acres or 6.9 percent of the 914.5 million acres of farmland.
Number of farms declined by 8 thousand from 2015. The number of farms in Sales Class $250,000 - $499,999 increased while 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. Eight percent of all farms had sales of $500,000 or more.