In the five years between 2012 and 2017, the number of farms in Cattaraugus County dropped to under 1,000.

According to the recently published 2017 Census of Agriculture, the number of farms in Cattaraugus County dropped 8% over that five-year period to 956.

The land in farms dropped 16% to 166,240 acres and the average size of farms declined 8% to 174 acres

The market value of farm products in the county dropped 6% over the five years to $93.4 million when it had been on the cusp of $100 million in 2012.

The good news was that during the period, the net cash farm income increased 41% to $26.7 million.

Government payments to farmers dropped 66% to $650,000, farm-related income was up 14% to almost $5 million, and total farm production expenses were down 16 percent to $72.3 million, according to the Cattaraugus County profile in the 2017 Census of Agriculture.

The average farm sold $97,712 in products, an increase of 2%; farm-related income averaged $13,470; average expenses were $75,656, or 9%, and net cash farm income was $27,935, up 53%. Of farms in the county, 97% are considered family farms.

There are 320 farms, or 33% of the total, with sales of less than $2,500. Next, there are 142 farms, or 15% with sales in excess of $100,000; 135 or 14 % with sales between $10,000 and $24,999, 116 or 12% with sales between $5,000 and $9,999; 107 or 11% between $2,500 a $4,999; 80 or 8% between $25,000 and $49,999, and 56 or 6% between $50,000 and $99,999.

In terms of sales, 79 percent are livestock, poultry and products, while 21 percent are from crops.

There are 14 farms or 1% with more than 1,000 acres, the census shows. Another 409 farms, 43% are in the 50 to 179 acre range; 216 or 23% are 10 to 49 acres; 199 or 21% are 180 to 499 acres; 81 or 8% were between 1 and 9 acres; 37 or 4 percent are between 500 and 999 acres.

Of the total 1,551 agricultural producers, 990 are males and 561 are female. There are 133 who are 35 years-old or younger, 973 ages 35 to 64 and 445 who are 656 or older.

Top crops were: hay, 41,888 acres; corn for silage, 10,090 acres; corn for grain, 7,699; soybeans, 3,420 and oats, 1,099.

The $93,412,000 market value of agricultural products sold placed the county in 22nd place out of 61 counties. Nationally, the county’s total put it in 1,206th place out of 3077 producing counties.

Statewide, Cattaraugus County ranked 33rd in the sale of crops, 36th in vegetables, 28th in fruits and berries, 19th in Christmas trees, 20th in hay production; 15th in livestock, poultry and products; ninth in cattle and calves; 17th in milk from cows; 21 in sheep and goats wool and milk and seventh in aquaculture.

The census also found 65% of farms have internet access, 15% sell directly to consumers, 17% hire farm labor and 1% farm organically.

The county’s livestock inventory tally as of Dec. 31, 2017 included:

  • Chickens (broilers), 1,058.
  • Cattle and calves, 36,651.
  • Goats, 652.
  • Hogs and pigs, 502.
  • Horses and ponies, 1,569.
  • Chickens (layers), 3,539.
  • Pullets, 790.
  • Sheep and lambs, 1,703.
  • Turkeys, 153.

(Contact reporter Rick Miller at rmiller@oleantimesherald.com. Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)

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