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New Data Shows Fewer Farms, Richer Farmers

The first batch of data from the Agriculture Census (PDF), a snapshot of American farming released on Thursday, shows that farmers flourished between the last survey in 2007 and 2012, a period that saw crop and livestock values hit record highs.

There were fewer farms in the latest five-year span—the number shows a 4.3 percent drop during the period, continuing a long-term trend—even as the amount of land devoted to farming declined just slightly.