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Farming in Lancaster County

The farmlands of Pennsylvania Dutch Country boast some of the richest, most productive, non-irrigated agricultural soils in the world. Lancaster County’s farmland and the industry it supports provide more than 51,000 jobs and contribute more than $4 billion to our local economy each year. Dairy farming is the area’s leading agricultural business, but the local agriculture industry is an excellent example of a well diversified farm economy that is not dependent on any one area for its success. Poultry, swine, beef, crop and vegetable production all contribute to the area’s economic strength.

As Lancaster County struggles with the increasing pressure of development at its borders, communities are recognizing that new growth does not have to come at the expense of farmland. Lancaster Farmland Trust provides a solution to farmers who want to preserve their land and way of life for future generations. Land conservation offers many benefits to the community, including attracting jobs, enhancing property values, safeguarding a valuable way of life for future generations, ensuring an adequate, fresh food supply, and protecting the quality of the environment.

Lancaster County’s nearly 6,000 farms provide fresh, local food for local residents and people across the state and the United States; they also protect watersheds; recharge groundwater, help control flooding, improve air quality, and provide food and cover for wildlife. The average Lancaster County farm is about 78 acres, and the county ranks fourth in the country in the number of farms.

Lancaster County’s Value to Pennsylvania Agriculture
(from http://www.lcci.com/ag/farmfacts.asp)

 

Lancaster

Total Pennsylvania

Number of farms

5,462

63,200

Average farm size

78 acres

123 acres

Total acres of farmland  

425,336

7.7 million

Percent of land in farmland

68%

27%

Value of farmland per acre

$7,955

$3,100

Cash receipts of crops 

$150 million

$1.87 billion

Cash receipts of livestock

$925 million  

$4.018 billion

Total cash receipts      

$1.07 billion

$5.88 billion

The area’s farmland is responsible for the exceptional quality of life and low tax rate enjoyed by our 500,000 residents. Agriculture as a way of life is part of our cultural heritage and an irreplaceable natural resource that defines Lancaster County as a unique and special place.

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