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COPY-Number of Minnesota farms declines 8 percent

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - New federal data show the number of farms in Minnesota fell 8 percent from 2007 to 2012, while the market value of agricultural products the state's farmers sold increased by 61 percent over the same five-year period.

Final results from the 2012 Census of Agriculture released Friday also show the amount of land in farms across Minnesota totaled 26 million acres, down 3 percent.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture data puts the number of farms in Minnesota at 74,542 in 2012. While the number with harvested cropland held relatively steady, lower counts for livestock operations and other types of land contributed to the overall decline.

Statistician Dan Lofthus says the census provides a snapshot in time, and the changes don't necessarily represent trends that will continue into the future.

Online:

USDA Census of Agriculture: http://www.agcensus.usda.gov

Minnesota highlights available at: http://www.mda.state.mn.us

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