Economic Tidbits

Nebraska Farms Dwindle

The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) reports the number of farms and ranches in Nebraska declined to 44,800 farms in 2021, down 700 from 2020. Nebraska’s loss of farms was third highest among states, behind only Ohio and Virginia. The average size of a Nebraska operation, 1,000 acres, was up 13 acres. Total farms in the U.S. numbered just over 2 million in 2021, down 6,950 farms from 2020. Average farm size was 445 acres, up 1 acre.

Figure 1 plots the number of farms in Nebraska between 1980-2021. Farm numbers last year were down 20,200 farms from 1980. On average, Nebraska lost 493 farms per year over the period. Economies of scale—larger farms are more efficient with lower costs—is driving the trend. Global competition is driving producers to be more efficient, and the adoption of new technologies is helping them do so. Expect the trend to continue.

Figure 1. Number of Farms in Nebraska, 1980-2021

Source: NEFB graphic based on USDA NASS data

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