Monday, March 11, 2013

Ohio and Van Wert County's Agriculture Industry: By the Numbers

Times Bulletin Editor

In 1900, the population of Van Wert County was just over 30,000 people, and many of those had their livelihood tied up in the agriculture industry, either as farm owners or laborers. Since that time, the county's population has fallen to around 28,700 residents.
That change in population is mirrored by the number of farmers that it takes to produce a crop per acre. In 1900, the average size of a farm in the United States was 146 acres, and there were around seven million individual producing farms in the country.
Over the years with advancements in technology of equipment, the size of the average farm has grown, but the number of individual farms has dropped considerably. he latest estimates show 2.2 million farms in America while the average size of a farm has grown to 418 acres,
That trend has also been the case in Ohio. In 2000, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) reported a total of 79,000 farms in the state. (For the purpose of the report, the ODA counts as a farm any place that produces annual sales of agricultural commodities of $1,000 or more.) After a little over one decade, the ODA reported the number of farms has fallen to 73,700. In just one year, the number of Ohio farms dropped by 600.
According to the 2007 Census of Agriculture, Van Wert County has 696 farms with an average size of 354 acres. That totals 246,497 tillable acres.
The dramatic increase in technology in the equipment being used everyday has allowed fewer people to produce crops on more land. Just as important, the technological advancements in herbicides and seeds have led to giant leaps forward in crop yields. Take a look at the changes in yields in some key crops for Van Wert County.

Crop         1960            1990             2011
Corn         68.0             121.0            134.7
Soybeans  24.5               39.0             46.8
Hay (tons) 1.84               3.30            3.90

Of course with yield number like these and the number of tillable acres in production within the state, Ohio continues to be a leader in the country in the production of not only the grain crops that the everyone immediately thinks of for this area, but also for a number of other areas including fruits and vegetables. For example, while Ohio farmers harvested 4.54 million acres of soybeans and 3.22 million acres of corn for grain,  other crops were a part of the agriculture picture in the Buckeye State. In 2011, the state produced 850,000 acres of winter wheat, 1.12 million acres of hay, and 38,000 acres of oats. Add to that 126,100 tons of tomatoes, 17,900 tons of cucumbers, 26,000 cwt. of strawberries, 426,000 cwt. of cabbage, 125,000 gallons of maple syrup, and 7.5 million tons of grapes, and you begin to see the diversity in Ohio agriculture.

The state is an important producer of much more than just soybeans. Ohio ranks high among all states in the production of many crops.

                                             Ohio                  Ohio                U.S. Leader
                                             2010                  2011                  2011
Corn (grain)                             8                        8                     Iowa
Corn (silage)                           14                       14                   Wisconsin
Oats                                        10                      8                      Wisconsin
Wheat                                     11                      12                    Kansas
Soybeans                                  6                       6                       Iowa
Hay (baled)                             20                      21                     South Dakota
Potatoes                                  25                      26                     Idaho
Tobacco                                   8                        8                     North Carolina

The rise in production and the higher grain prices over the past few years have also affected the value of farm land -- whether it is being worked or sold. The average value per acre of farmland and buildings in 2011 was $4,300. For cropland, the value was $4,400 per acre, and for pasture the value was $3,000 per acre. Each of these three rates was as high or higher than in the previous year.

The same holds true with cash rents. Van Wert County ranks third in the state with an average of $146 per acres cash rent received in 2011, an increase of $17 per acre from 2010 figures. Darke County remains tops in the state at $159 per acre in cash rent. Mercer County again ranks second with a $147 per acre figure.

At the same time that crop production in Ohio has been on the rise, the livestock side of the equation continues to lose ground. Approximately 50 years ago, there were around 2,250,000 head of cattle in Ohio. In 2011, the state's inventory had fallen to 1,230,000 head of cattle in the state. The low numbers are no surprise when it is learnd that cattle farmers have had to deal with double-digit percentage drops in beef prices over the past couple of years.

That same trend can be seen across the other livestock industries. Milk cow production decreased also in 2012. Milk cow inventory fell from 271,000 to 268,000 head across the state. Milk per cow figures dropped also from 19,446 to 19,187 pounds, and total milk production went from 5,270 million pounds to 5,142 million.

In Van Wert County in 2011, 9,536,000 bushels of corn for grain were produced, ranking the county 25th among Ohio's 88 counties. Soybean production placed Van Wert County ninth in the state with 5,610,000 bushels produced. Alfalfa hay in the county saw 3,100 tons produced, putting the county 58th in Ohio.

Crop production cash receipts from 2010 showed $40,587,000 received from corn and $55,014,000 in soybeans. Also $5,628,000 was recieved from wheat, $730,000 in oats and hay, and another $1,851,000 in other crops.

As far as livestock goes, Van Wert County showed a total of 28,000 hogs and pigs at the latest count (Dec. 1, 2010). That is the21st largest number of Ohio's counties. There were 3,200 milk cows in the county as of the beginning of 2012, making the county inventory 26th highest. Cattle and calves counted at 6,600, ranking 66th, and the 1,000 head of sheep in the county ranked Van Wert County 46th of the 88 counties.

Cash reciepts in the county were $11,161,000 for dairy and milk, $2,209,000 for cattle and calves, $7.970,000 for hogs and pigs, and $3,788,000 for poultry and other livestock.

No comments:

Contact Info

Greatest Hits
Blogs That Should Be Read

Powered by Blogger