There is good news on the farm scene in Missouri. Small farms are showing strength and nearly all farms in Missouri are family-owned.

The results are in from the 2017 census and the Farm Bureau’s Eric Bohl told of the solid condition of the state’s farms.

One of the most encouraging bright conditions is that the census shows that more young people in the state are getting involved in agriculture.

There are 20 states physically larger than Missouri. The Census of Agriculture determined that the state still is second in the nation with total farms equalling 93,320. Texas, four times larger than Missouri, has the most farms. Also, the Farm Bureau reported that 96 percent of the state’s farms are family-owned. Small family farms are more common in Missouri than in most states.

In fact, the small farms are showing growth. The Farm Bureau said over the past five years, the number of farms under 10 acres grew by 41 percent, and farms from 10 to 50 acres grew by 10 percent.

Missouri is second to Texas in the number of female farmers, those with military service and those classified as young or beginning farmers. The national average age of primary producers on a farm climbed by one year to 59.4 years old. Missouri was about the same. However, the number of farmers in Missouri age 25 to 34 increased by 7 percent since 2012. The average age of Missouri farmers in the hog and pig category was only 46.4 years old, nearly 13 years younger than the average. More young farmers also are in the poultry and egg category in the state.

The Farm Bureau said small family farming is thriving in Missouri. That’s good to learn. In some states, that’s not the case. Farmers are the backbone of America in many ways.