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Analysis Shows 35-Year Consolidation Trend across U.S. Agriculture

A University of Maryland research professor has published a detailed history of the consolidation of agriculture in the United States, based on analysis of USDA data from 1982 through 2017. This study characterizes the steady shift to fewer and larger farming operations across the country in 60 of the 62 crop and livestock commodities analyzed over the 35-year period. Professor James MacDonald credits technology with being a driving force in the trend, as labor-saving equipment, materials, and organizational changes allow one farmer to manage more acres. He predicts continued technological change through application of precision agriculture.