American Indians operate 6 percent of farmland
WASHINGTON - American Indians operated 56.8 million farmland acres or 6
percent of the 938 million U.S. farmland acres according to new data
released from the 2002 Census of Agriculture. American Indians sold $1.64
billion of agricultural products including $781 million of crops and $857
million of livestock.
"The 2002 Census of Agriculture shows the great diversity of people
involved in U.S. agriculture production," said Ron Bosecker, administrator
of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics
Service (NASS). "The agriculture census results show that American Indian
operators make significant contributions to U.S. agriculture."
The census results indicated that the number of American Indian farm
operators identified totaled 42,304 and that most American Indian farm
operators reside in Oklahoma (22 percent), followed by Arizona (12
percent), Texas (8 percent), New Mexico (7 percent) and California (5
percent). About 10 percent of the total American Indian farm operators live
on Indian reservations.
The 2002 Census of Agriculture is the first to collect the number of
operators living on reservations.
The 2002 census shows that American Indians:
Raised 8 percent of America's bison, 3 percent of the horses, 3 percent of
the sheep and 2 percent of the beef cattle.
Sold 100 million broilers, 834,000 cattle and calves, 572,000 hogs and
pigs, 130,000 sheep and lambs, 14,000 horses and ponies and nearly 4,000
Grew 967,000 acres of hay, haylage, grass silage and greenchop.
Harvested 12.3 million bushels of wheat from 350,000 acres. Wheat was grown
on more acreage than any other grain.
American Indian farm operators more often reported relying on income not
related to agricultural sales compared to all U.S. farm operators.
Half of the operators identify farming as their principal occupation
compared with 54 percent for all U.S. operators. In addition to farming, 63
percent of American Indians operators have other part- or full-time
employment. This compares with 56 percent for all U.S. farm operators.
American Indian farm operators utilize computers more than all U.S.
Computers are used on 45 percent of the American Indian farms for
record-keeping, checking commodity markets, and other farm business
compared with 39 percent for all U.S. farms. The Internet can be accessed
by 55 percent of the American Indian farms compared with 50 percent for all
Bosecker said that NASS conducted comprehensive interviews on reservations
in Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota and will summarize census data at
the American Indian reservation level for the first time. Results will be
published later this summer.
For more census information, visit NASS at www.usda.gov/nass by clicking on
"Census of Agriculture" for aggregate facts and figures or call (800)