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Agri-Pulse reports:

The consolidation in U.S. agriculture is continuing unabated, and so is the aging of the average American farmer. Those are two key takeaways from the 2017 Census of Agriculture released Thursday.

The evidence of consolidation is very much in line with the long-term forecast from Aimpoint Research featured at our annual ag policy summit last month: Some 105,000 farms (down from 119,908 the last census in 2012) accounted for 75 percent of all sales in 2017.

Older, but newer: The average age of farmers rose more than a year from the previous census to 57.5. But the number of beginning farmers was up by 5 percent, and they now make up 27 percent of all producers.

Local is big: More than 30,000 farms sold directly to consumers, with sales of $2.8 billion, and nearly 29,000 sold to retail outlets, institutions and food hubs, with sales of $9 billion. Food hubs aggregate and distribute crops from small-scale farms.

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