The Aging American Farmer

by David A. Widmar

One of the most well known trends in American agriculture is the aging farmer. Year after year, the average age of the U.S. farmers has increased. This trend was confirmed, yet again, with the release of the 2012 USDA Census of Agriculture.

Figure 1 shows the USDA’s estimate of the average age of a producer from 1945 to 2012. Over the 64 years of data, the average age increased by 9.6 years. In the five years between the 2012 and 2007 census, the average age ticked up by 1.2 years. (In 1978 the average age was reported as being younger than the previous census, but it should be noted that this was most likely the results of changes in survey sampling procedure.) Continue reading