Dip in Va. Farms Nature of Up, Down Business

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Virginia had 200 fewer farms in 2012 than it did the previous year.

The Virginia Farm Bureau Federation says the decline is typical and part of the up-and-down nature of agriculture. The state has 46,200 farms, but the number is a bit misleading. Only about one-tenth of that number is considered full-time operations.

Jim Pease is a professor of agricultural and applied economics at Virginia Tech. He says while the total number of farms dipped in 2012, the number of larger operations increased.

There were 100 more farms generating between $250,000 and $500,000 and an equal number with earnings topping $500,000.

The vast majority of farms are small, however. Forty-two thousand, for instance, sell less than $100,000 in product.

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