BY TOM BUSSELBERG
BOUNTIFUL - Release of the 2012 Agricultural Census has been delayed.
That’s thanks to the federal shutdown that occurred during October, information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) said.
The census, completed every five years, was to have been released Feb. 4. No new release date has been announced, the NASS said.
Information is compiled from farms and ranchers across the country, including those in Davis County.
As the county’s population continues to grow, now estimated at more than 310,000, the number, size and types of farms continues to change.
More urbanization is likely the big reason the number of farms in the county, and acreage farmed, has decreased, said Shawn Olsen, a veteran Davis County Utah State University Extension Agent who now also serves a regional role.
The 2007 census, the most recent available, listed the county has having 496 farms. That was down 86 from five years earlier.
In 2002, there were more than 100 square miles in farms, at 65,857 acres. Land dedicated to such a pursuit had fallen by one-quarter by the 2007 census.
The average farm size dropped from 113 ares in 2002 to 99 acres in 2007.
Production value rose by 23 percent, to $37.2 million in 2007. Crop sales comprised more than four-fifths of that total, and livestock sales came to nearly $6 million.
The average production value per farm rose by 44 percent, from $52,211 to $75,093.
More than two-thirds of farmland was in pasture, one-a bit over one-fourth was in crops and 5 percent was targeted for other uses.
More local farming pursuits are turning to the nursery and ornamental plant variety, Olsen said.
The census category of nursery, greenhouse, floriculture and sod, produced $24.9 million in value in 2007, second highest of the state’s 29 counties.
Vegetables, melons, potatoes and sweet potatoes, brought in a value just above $3 million in the 2007 census.
In recent years, a lot of farmers sell their fruits and vegetables literally fresh out of the field. That’s at farmers markets in Bountiful, Farmington and elsewhere, as well as at produce stands from Bountiful to Layton.
Information on the 2012 Agricultural Census will be reported when it becomes available.