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2022 Census of Agriculture Highlights: Mountain Region

Posted by Terry Matlock, NASS Public Affairs Specialist in Research and Science
Jun 13, 2024
Freshly harvested Hay sits ready for use in the Belle Fourche River Valley, Wyoming

From the big skies of Montana to the peaks of the Rocky Mountains to the white sand deserts of New Mexico, the diverse terrain of the Mountain Region presents unique challenges and great opportunities for the region’s 125,938 farms covering a vast 191.7 million acres of land.

The 2022 Census of Agriculture data released this year by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) provided valuable insight into the agricultural landscape in the Mountain Region states of Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.

From cattle ranching to oilseeds, the farmers in these areas cultivated a wide range of products. Livestock value of production, at $15.5 billion, continued to be a significant contributor to the agricultural economy in the region, with cattle at $9.3 billion and hogs and pigs at $670.2 million, being some of the top commodities produced. Additionally, crops provided $10.3 billion in revenue.

The data showed the resilience of Mountain Region farmers in the face of unpredictable weather conditions and limited arable land. Despite these obstacles, many farmers in the region embraced sustainable farming practices to ensure the longevity of their operations. The 27,965 operations using organic farming, precision agriculture, and/or rotational grazing are just a few practices adopted by Mountain Region producers to promote environmental stewardship and long-term sustainability.

Delving deeper into the data, we see direct-to-consumer sales at $96.9 million and value-added products at $90.4 million. Food sold to retail markets, institutions, and food hubs ($731.2 million) as well as agritourism ($165.2 million) are all on the rise, allowing the 240,005 producers in the region to connect directly with consumers and add value to their products. This direct relationship between farmers and consumers boosts the local economy and fosters a sense of community.

Overall, the 2022 Census of Agriculture data paints a picture of a vibrant and dynamic agriculture sector in these states. With a diverse array of commodities, a commitment to sustainable practices, and a thriving direct-to-consumer market, Mountain Region farmers are poised for continued success in the years to come.

Visit USDA NASS' 2022 Census of Agriculture state profile webpage to explore more state agriculture data.

Category/Topic: Research and Science