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Census: Farmland, farms, farm income down in Maine

Maine lost 10 percent of farmland and 573 farms in the five years ending in 2017, U.S. census figures indicate.
Credit: AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File
In this Friday, Aug. 24, 2018, file photo, Ken Cox carries trays of wild blueberries to a tractor at a farm in Union, Maine. The latest Census of Agriculture shows the number of U.S. farms and ranches has fallen but the remaining operations are larger and are responsible for a higher percentage of agricultural sales. The U.S. Department of Agriculture released the 2017 Census of Agriculture on Thursday, April 11, 2019.

BANGOR, Maine — U.S. census figures indicate Maine lost 10 percent of farmland and 573 farms in the five years ending in 2017.

The Bangor Daily News reports that the census figures released last month show a 15.8 percent decline in average net income per farm.

Ellen Sabina, from of the Maine Farmland Trust, said the statistics are alarming. She said it's time to support farms now, "before it's too late."

There was some good news.

The numbers of small farms — 1 to 9 acres in size — increased slightly as did the number of farms that are larger than 2,000 acres. The census data also shows a 53 percent increase in the value of food sold directly to consumers, such as at farmer's markets.