Scots Bluff County's Ag Census results released

There were 760 farm operations in Scotts Bluff County, according to the 2017 Census of Agriculture.

SCOTTSBLUFF — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2017 Census of Agriculture was released Thursday, April 11.

The census is taken only once every five years and looks at land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures.

“For America’s farmers and ranchers, the Census of Agriculture is their voice, their future, and their opportunity,” the USDA said in a release.

The full census can be viewed online at

A Star-Herald review of National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) data collected for Scotts Bluff County shows that in 2017 there were 1,261 producers in the county — 784 males, and 477 females. Their average age is 57.3. The average producer has been in operation for 23.8 years, with 129 producers listed as being less than 35. Eighty producers responded that they are veterans.

In 2017, 760 farm operations operated 441,624 acres in Scotts Bluff County, (the county itself is 476,800 acres). They averaged 581 acres per operation in 2017, with a median of 139 acres/operation. This reflects an increase from 2007, where 730 farms operated 360,286 acres, with an average 494 acres per operation and a median of 160 acres/operation.

The USDA defines family operations as a farm or business organization controlled and operated by a family or an individual (sole proprietor), that include family operations that are not incorporated and not operated under a partnership agreement. Data from census shows 621 family operations in Scotts Bluff County in 2017, an increase compared to 554 family operations in 2007.


In 2007, the county total Asset values for ag land including building was $392,383,000, with the average ag land asset value per operation of $537,511 at $1,098 per acre. In 2017, the county total in ag land assets was $899,9243,000, with the average land asset value per operation of $1,184,110, at $2,038 per acre.

The total value of machinery assets in Scotts Bluff County in 2007 was $84,714,000, with an average of $116,047 per operation. In 2017, machinery assets in-county amounted to $175,891,000, with the an average of $231,435 in machinery per operation.

In 2007, 632 operations had 192,776 acres of cropland. 516 of those operations harvested 152,421 acres and 534 operations responded saying that they have irrigated crop land totaling 155,576 acres. In 2017, 573 operations responded and said that there were 218,126 acres of cropland, of which 493 operations harvested 182,229 acres. For 2017 irrigated cropland, 489 operations responded saying they had 170,712 acres.

Pastureland in 2007 was 164,278 acres across 424 operations. In 2017, 471 operations had 219,429 acres of pastureland.


CORN — For 2007, 302 operations harvested 78,898 acres of grain corn, producing 10,412,660 bu. All but two of those operations were irrigated. In 2017, 252 operations grew grain corn, harvesting 75,659 acres, with total production equaling 13,515,262 bu. Thirteen of those operations were not irrigated.

Thirty-five operations grew corn for silage in 2007, harvesting 3,447 irrigated acres which produced 56,625 tons of silage. That number decreased to 17 operations in 2017, which harvested 2,734 acres (1,645 acres irrigated), producing a total of 54,609 tons.

HAY — For hay and haylage, in 2007, 366 operations in the county harvested 33,427 acres, producing 138,480 tons on a dry basis.

SUGARBEETS — For sugarbeets, 48 operations harvested 7,425 irrigated acres, yielding 167,973 tons of beets. In 2017, 43 operations harvested 9,773 irrigated acres, producing a total yield of 328,748 tons. It’s interesting to note that 2007 was the first year that RoundUp ready sugarbeets were available.

DRY EDIBLE BEANS — Dry edible beans (excluding chipeas and lima beans) were recorded by the 2017 ag census for the first time for Scotts Bluff County. 145 operations harvest 39,789 acres, 38,993 of which were irrigated.

WHEAT — Sixty-seven operations in Scotts Bluff County harvested 6,563 acres of wheat in 2007, yielding 229,858 bu. Forty operations grew irrigated wheat on 2,795 acres. By 2017, 41 operations harvested 6,413 acres of wheat, producing 272,573 bu. Eighteen of those operations grew wheat on 1,825 irrigated acres.

TOTALS — Totals for crop sales for Scotts Bluff County were $66,236,000 in 2007, and $98,804,000 in 2017.


In Scotts Bluff County 260 cattle operations had 112,442 head (including calves) inventory in 2007. In 2017, 305 operations had inventory of 140,216 head.

CATTLE ON FEED — In 2007, 31 operations had cattle on feed with an inventory of 60,709 head. In 2017, 12 operations had 66,282 cattle on feed.

BEEF CATTLE — Beef Cattle operations in 2007 had 15,384 head in inventory across 219 operations. In 2017, 266 operations had 17,378 head of beef cattle in inventory.

CATTLE SALES TOTALS — For 2007, 238 cattle operations had sales of 151,807 head (including calves), and in 2017, 272 operations had sales of 142,034 head.

SHEEP — Thirty-six sheep operations had 2,316 head (including lambs) in 2007. In 2017, that number shrunk to 26 operations with 1,239 head of sheep and lambs.

CHICKENS — Operations with layer chickens was 45 in 2007, with an inventory of 1,113 birds. In 2017, 76 operations had an inventory of 1,249 layer chickens.

HOGS — Hog inventories and sales were not listed in the data for 2017, however, 18 operations were listed under data in Scotts Bluff County. In 2007, 10 operations in the county raised 4,693 head, with sales not listed.

TOTALS — Total animal sales (including products) for 2007 was $148,273,000, and $223,923,000 for 2017.

Total commodity sales (crops and livestock) in 2007 equaled $214,509,000 with $293,848 in sales per operation. In 2017, total commodity sales were $322,727,000 with $424,641 in sales per operation.

Income and expenses

Federal government programs paid out $3,019,000 to 477 operations in 2007, with an average of $6,329 per operation, and $5,405,000 to 412 operations in 2017, with an average of $13,120 per operation.

Federal conservation programs paid $1,054,000 to 139 operations in 2007, at $7,581 per operation. For 2017, conservation programs paid $918,000 to 103 operations, with an average of $8,916 per operation.

Farm-related income (ag services, land rent, custom work, ag tourism, etc.) for 2007 was $4,571,000 across 309 operations. In 2017, farm-related income for 419 operations was $5,788,000.

Net cash farm income in Scotts Bluff County totaled $35,494,000 in 2007, averaging $48,622 per operation, with 425 operations seeing an average gain of $96,245 and 305 operations seeing an average loss of $17,737. In 2017, total net cash farm income was $40,270,000, with an average of $52,986 per operations. Three hundred eighty-seven operations saw net cash income gain of $128,000 in 2017, while 373 operations saw an average loss of $25,431.

Total expenses for all operations in Scotts Bluff County for 2007 was $186,605,000, with an average of $255,623 in expenses per operation. In 2017, expenses for all operations was $293,650,000, with an average of $386,382 in expenses per operation.

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