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State and county ag census profiles released

Williams County in northwest North Dakota leads the nation in production of durum and lentils and Brown County in north-central South Dakota ranks second nationally in corn for grain production.

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Montana farms average 2,134 acres in size and Minnesota has 6,370 principal farm operators who are women.

The 2012 Census of Agriculture’s county and state profiles released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture every five years have a wealth of information on farm numbers, farm operators and crop and livestock sales at the state and county levels. The new numbers complement national statistics released earlier this year.

The way the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of USDA, approached the 2012 census — begin with the national numbers and work down to state and local statistics — is “the normal way we do things,” says Darin Jantzi, North Dakota state statistician for NASS.

“We think indications are the best at the biggest level. So we start at the highest level possible and work our way down,” he says.

The profiles provide a quick and easy way to access data, he says.

As expected, the state and county profiles show a huge increase in the value of commodities that farmers sell.

“That (the value of commodities sold) was on a flat trend, up until about five years (ago). It’s just taken off,” Jantzi says.

“It will be interesting to see if that continues.”