Of the 7,755 farms across Massachusetts, 92.2 percent are considered family owned farms and almost 95 percent of Massachusetts farms fit the category of “small farms,” according to the USDA definition of sales below $250,000.
In Massachusetts, greenhouse and nursery cash receipts totaled $154 million and account for 29 percent of total agricultural cash receipts in 2009.
Massachusetts’ environmental horticulture industry contributes $2.6 billion annually to the state’s economy, and employs 68,000 people.
Preserving Massachusetts Land
Farmers and forest land owners participate in conservation programs that prevent soil erosion, preserve and restore wetlands, clean the air and water, and enhance wildlife habitat.
As of 2014, 834 farms and a total land are of over 69,000 acres have been permanently protected by the Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) program in Massachusetts.
USDA reports that Massachusetts agriculture saw an increase in farmland acreage in production for the first time since at least World War II!
Number of Farms
The 7,755 farms in Massachusetts use a total of 523,517 acres of land, which is an increase of almost 6,000 acres since 2007. The average farm is 68 acres and earns $63,470. Overall, Massachusetts farms grossed just over $492 million in sales, with crop sales accounting for $382 million (78 percent) and livestock sales totaling $109 million (22 percent).
Direct Sales and Massachusetts
Massachusetts is first in New England for direct sales of farm products to consumers. With sales of nearly $48 million, Massachusetts farmers were responsible for 30 percent of New England’s total direct sales and Massachusetts ranks fifth nationally for direct market sales.
Worcester County is sixth of all U.S. counties with direct sales at $10.5 million.
Massachusetts ranks sixth nationally in number of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms with 431, but it is number one by percentage of farms with a CSA! Middlesex ranks first of all U.S. counties with 88 farms (12 percent) having a CSA program.
Massachusetts has 292 farmers markets (41 of which are winter markets), more than doubling the 139 markets in 2007.
Did you know that…
Massachusetts ranks third in the United States for farmland value at $10,430 per acre, over four times the national average of $2,487.
Massachusetts is the 8th more forested state in the United States with 62 percent of land classified as forested.
The average farm operator has been on the same farm for 21 years and is 58 years old.
Female farm operators account for 33 percent (2,507) of the farm operators in Massachusetts…nearly double the 2002 census of 1,305.
Agritourism has increased almost 225 percent to $12 million, up from $5.3 million in 2007.
There are 198 organic farms in Massachusetts and organic sales were up to $26.2 million in 2012 from $17.5 million in 2007.