USDA releases latest Ag Census

Illinois has just over 71,000 farms and ranches, down two percent from 2017. The average size in Illinois was 370 acres, down two acres. (Facebook/Illinois Farm Bureau)

By Dave Dahl

SPRINGFIELD – The USDA is out with its Ag Census, which is produced every five years.

As of 2022, “there were slightly more than 71,000 farms and ranches in Illinois,” said Mark Schleusener, USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service state statistician. “That is down two per cenct from the previous census in 2017. The average farm size was 370 acres, down two acres from the previous census of ag.

“Illinois remained the Number One state for soybeans, horseradish, and pumpkin acres.”

And there’s a lot of money in play.

“Illinois farmers produced $26.4 billion in agriculutral products,” Schleusener continued. “That is up 55 percent from the $17 billion that was produced in 2017.

“Now, expenses went up, also: $17.8 billion, up one-third from the previous census.”

The average age of the Illinois farmers is 58.6, up from 58 in 2017. And 28 percent of Illinois farmers are women. That’s almost 34,000/

Dave Dahl can be reached at [email protected]


Labor Day – Expanding voting rights for all

By Mike Matejka Because of COVID, there is no Labor Day Parade this year.  It’s always a great event for our everyday workers to march proudly down the street and enjoys the festive crowd. If there had been a parade, this year’s Labor Day theme was to be “150 years of struggle: your right to vote.” …

Is federal mobilization the answer?

By Mike Matejka As President Donald Trump threatens to send federal marshals into Chicago, over the objections of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, recall another Illinois Governor who protested the incursion of armed federal personnel into the city.   Those federal troops, rather than calming, escalated the situation, leading to deaths and violence. Illinois poet Vachel Lindsay…

In these troubled times, to my fellow white Americans

By Mike Matejka Our nation is at a unique watershed in human relations. African-Americans have been killed too many times in the past before George Floyd, but the response to this man’s death is international and all-encompassing. I was a grade-schooler during the Civil Rights 1960s. I watched Birmingham demonstrators hosed and the Selma – Montgomery…

Workers’ Memorial Day – Remember those whose job took their life

Looking around our community, when we say employer, most will respond to State Farm, Country, or Illinois State University.   We too often forget those who are building our roads, serving our food, or our public employees. COVID-19 has made us more aware of the risk.  Going to work every day for some people means…