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Census of agriculture reveals increase in number of farms in New Jersey

Christian Fernsby |
The U.S. Department of Agriculture 2022 Census of Agriculture released February 15, shows that New Jersey’s agricultural industry added 115 new farms, leaving the Garden State just short of the 10,000 farms mark at 9,998.

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“It is encouraging to see that more residents of our State are taking a deeper interest in our industry by becoming more heavily involved in agriculture,” New Jersey Assistant Secretary of Agriculture Joe Atchison III said.

“This shows there are opportunities to farm in our State. The Census data also confirms how we continue to grow a wide variety of crops to meet the diverse needs of our residents. It’s a great credit to our farmers who continue to adapt to meet the most current demands of consumers.”

New Jersey’s overall agriculture products sold increased from just over $1.1 billion in 2017, to almost $1.5 billion in 2022.

The data showed that the nursery, greenhouse, floriculture, and sod industry continues to be New Jersey’s leading agricultural sector with sales at nearly $725 million, an increase of $225 million from the previous census.

New Jersey ranks fifth in the nation in nursery stock sales at $296 million and is third in potted flowering plant sales at $77.5 million.

The vegetable industry is New Jersey’s second highest in sales at nearly $295 million, followed by fruits and berries at nearly $200 million. The top three sectors comprise more than 80 percent of total sales for New Jersey agriculture.

The Census showed that New Jersey continues to be among the top producers in the U.S. of several crops such as eggplant at No. 3, cranberries, and asparagus at each at No. 4, and blueberries at No. 5.

Other crops New Jersey is ranked in the top 10 in the nation for production include peaches, plums, bell peppers, spinach, bok choy, escarole, kale, and romaine lettuce among others.

One sector that flourished was agritourism, which went from more than $18 million in total sales in the 2017 census to more than $29 million.

The amount of land in farms for New Jersey decreased to nearly 712,00 acres, down from the 2017 census number of 734,000 acres, when the stated added 20,000 acres of farmland.

The percentage of decreased farmland in New Jersey was almost even with the national average, which saw a decrease of 2 percent.

The expense to farm in New Jersey increased by an average of $37,000 per farm per year, which was well below the national average increase of more than $60,000 per farm.

Conducted since 1840, the Census of Agriculture accounts for all U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. More detailed data will be released throughout 2024, including information on individual counties, and congressional district profiles and rankings.

To be counted in the federal census, a farm must have sold or had the potential to sell at least $1,000 worth of agricultural products.


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