At A Glance

Noteworthy Characteristics

  • Only source of uniform, comprehensive agricultural data for every county in the U.S.
  • May be used to determine the availability of specific food products in specific geographic areas. For example, the percentage of farm land used to produce fruits and vegetables within a state or county can be calculated.
  • Includes data from survey supplements and special studies of food production and sales activities.
  • Examines organic food markets and sales through an in-depth survey of farmers.
  • Collects data on agricultural practices that may affect childhood obesity,



To collect data about production, sales, agricultural practices, and sales practices for farms, ranches, and the people who operate them in the United States (U.S.) and its territories.

Target Population

Farms, ranches, and their operators in all 50 states and territories, including American Samoa, Puerto Rico, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the Virgin Islands.


Began in 1840. Conducted every 5 years. Most recent year Census of Agriculture data available is for 2017. The official statistics were released in April 2019.

From 1840 to 1925, the Census of Agriculture was conducted every 10 years. Starting in 1925, economic data were added and Congress authorized its collection every 5 years, for reference years ending in ‘4’ and ‘9’. From 1982 to the present, the Census of Agriculture has been conducted every 5 years, for reference years ending in ‘2’ or ‘7’.

Surveys focusing on specific topics have been conducted periodically, with the most recent being the 2018 Census of Aquaculture and 2018 Irrigation and Water Management Survey.


National Agricultural Statistics Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Special Note(s)

Surveys conducted after the 2017 Census of Agriculture include the 2018 Irrigation and Water Management Survey, the 2018 Census of Aquaculture, the 2019 Census of Horticultural Specialties, the 2019 Organic Survey, and the 2020 Local Food Marketing Practices Survey.

In 1997, Public Law 105-113 transferred the responsibility for conducting the Census of Agriculture from the Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Commerce to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

A farm is defined as any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the Census year.

Agricultural Statistics Hotline
(800) 727-9540


Sample Design

Census of all 50 states and territories, including American Samoa, Puerto Rico, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the Virgin Islands. Learn more about the methodology from the 2017 Census of Agriculture publication.

Sample Size

This census does not involve sampling. Aggregate data from 2017 are available for 2,042,220 farms.

Special Note(s)

Data reflect crop and livestock production and inventories in effect as of December 31 in each year of interest.

Key Variables


Age of farm producers
Farm income
Race/ethnicity of farm producers
Sex of farm producers


Farm locations (state and county)
Farm production and expected production during next 5 years
Farm production practices (e.g., avoidance of pesticide use)
Farm sizes (acreage and dollars earned)
Gross annual sales of specific farm products (e.g., organic strawberries, turkey) with averages by state and county
Market value of farm products sold
Marketing practices/outlets for various types of farm products
Number of organic farms by state
Types and amounts of specific commodities produced by farms
Value of food products sold directly to individuals for consumption (e.g., roadside stands, farmers’ markets, pick-your-own sites)


State, county, zip code, congressional district, agricultural district, watersheds

Data Access and Cost

Data Availability

Obtain data from the Census of Agriculture website. A Data Query Tool must be downloaded before data can be exported to a spreadsheet.


Free of charge except for special tabulations (see Special Notes). The minimum charge for a special tabulation is $500. Learn more about requesting a special tabulation.

Special Note(s)

Custom-designed tabulations may be developed when data are not published elsewhere. These tabulations are developed to individual user specifications on a cost-reimbursable basis and shared with the public. Requests for custom tabulations can be submitted online from the National Agricultural Statistics Service or by calling the NASS Data Lab at 202-690-3387 or 202-690-0380.


Geocode Variable(s)

State, county, zip code, congressional district, agricultural district, and watersheds.

Existing Linkages

None noted.

Selected Publications


Fact sheets are available from the Census of Agriculture Web site.


Buzby JC, Wells HF, Vocke G. Possible implications for U.S. agriculture from adoption of select dietary guidelines. Washington (DC): U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, November 2006. Report No. 31.