Minnesota agriculture production ranked seventh in the nation in 1992 with total agriculture sales of $6.48 billion, according to a Population Notes report released today by the State Demographer. Minnesota produced more sugar beets and green peas than any other state, and ranked second to North Carolina in turkey production.
Minnesota's farm economy has shifted from labor-intensive dairy to cash crops and poultry. The structure of government price supports, the Dairy Termination program and increased competition from states in the West and South has led to a decline in dairy operations. Farmers who continue in dairy have larger and more productive herds than ten years ago.
Between 1959 and 1992, the number of farms in Minnesota has dropped almost by half, but the size of farms has increased from an average of 211 acres to 342 acres. In a time of decreasing profit margins, farmers have been forced to become more efficient and more productive. Larger holdings and improved farm technology have enabled farmers to maintain economically viable operations.
Almost half of all Minnesota farmers worked off the farm at some time during the year. More than a quarter of them worked 200 or more days at outside employment. With a shift from dairy to cash crops and poultry production, more farmers are able to hold full-time jobs.
This report is based on the 1992 Census of Agriculture released by the U.S. Census Bureau in late 1994. Data is taken from a survey of farmers for the 1992 production year