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Ag census shows boom in farm sales

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By MARY CLARE JALONICK
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - American agriculture has experienced a boom, with market values of crops, livestock and total agricultural products reaching record highs even as the amount of U.S. farmland declined.

A new government survey says the number of U.S. farms dropped to 2.1 million in 2012, about a 4 percent drop from five years earlier. But some of the bigger farms got bigger. The average farm grew from 418 to 434 acres.

The survey, taken every five years and released Thursday, shows some growth in nontraditional elements of agriculture. While the industry is still overwhelmingly white, there's a rise in the number of minority-operated farms.

And there are more farms in New England and many states in the Mountain West, while that number has declined in many states in traditional farm country.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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