A new USDA survey of American agriculture shows the number of U.S. farms is dropping as revenues rise.

There are several factors at play according to Gene Hall with the Texas Farm Bureau.  He says farm land is being scooped up for development, while the average age for a farmer has risen to just over 58.


When farmers choose to retire, their land is often combined with other farms also resulting in a fewer number.


Texas has again bucked the trend with a recent increase in the number farms due in part by a number of people returning to the farm after already earning money elsewhere, Hall says.


However, despite a recent spike in younger farmers, Hall says it’s hard to convince them to do it for a living


It is hard work, its tough work, its sometimes uncertain in terms of raising a family,” says Hall.


Still, interest in locally grown products saw U.S. farms sell nearly $395 billion in products two years ago -- a 33-percent spike over 2007.


Hall says technology has also helped increase yield and keep prices down for the most part.  However, he says regulation can do just as much damage as a drought.


“Certainly, I don't think there is any imminent danger of the United States of America not being able to grow its own food,” Hall tells KTRH News.  “I for one think the primary threat to that is ill-advised policy.”