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Feb 20, 2014 1:27 PM by Associated Press

Number of US farms declines, farmers getting older

WASHINGTON (AP) - The number of U.S. farms is declining even as the value of their crops and livestock has increased. That comes from a new government census of America's agriculture.

The survey taken every five years shows farmers are getting older. But Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack points to bright spot in the report released Thursday: a small rise in the number of farmers between 25 and 34 years old.

Vilsack says the boost in the number of younger farmers is due to increased interest and government support for locally grown foods and a thriving export market.

He said he is concerned about the survival of middle-sized farms, which declined in the last five years. The number of larger and smaller farms held mostly steady.

USDA's Census of Agriculture is based on 2012 data.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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