U.S. Census: Delaware Remains First in Key Ag Categories - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

U.S. Census: Delaware Remains First in Key Ag Categories

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DOVER, Del.– Delaware remains first in the nation in the value of agricultural products sold per acre, U.S. Census of Agriculture data released Friday shows.

Sussex County remains the No. 1 broiler chicken-producing county in the nation and Delaware retained its spot as the state with the largest number of lima bean acres harvested, according to 2012 Census of Agriculture data released by the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The new Census data also shows that agriculture remains Delaware’s largest single land use, with 41 percent of Delaware’s land (or 508,652 acres) in farming – 24 percent of New Castle County’s land, 46 percent of Kent County’s and 45 percent of Sussex County’s.

In the national rankings, Delaware was just ahead of California in the market value of agricultural products sold per acre, at $2,505 to California’s $1,667. Delaware was No. 2 in the value of agricultural products sold per farm, at $519,794 to first-place California’s $547,510. Delaware also topped California in the number of lima bean acres harvested – 12,564 acres to California’s 7,160.

Meanwhile, Sussex County again recorded the top number nationally in broiler chicken production, with 174 million birds produced in 2012. Polk County, Texas, ranked second, with 125 million birds.

The USDA released the full Census of Agriculture results Friday, including county-level data on many topics. Preliminary state-level data released in February showed that state agricultural production hit a record $1.2 billion in 2012, up 19 percent from 2007. The value of crop production also more than doubled, to $429 million, while the amount of farmland and number of farms both decreased slightly, mirroring national trends. Complete Census data is available online at agcensus.usda.gov.

Other highlights in Delaware’s 2012 Census results:
  • Irrigation use was up 22 percent, to 127,272 acres versus 104,562 in 2007. All three counties saw increases in irrigated acreage.
  • More Delaware farmers have Internet access than in 2007, up 12 percent to 68 percent. Farmers are increasingly using mobile technologies and high-speed Internet access to map their farmland, plan production and conduct business transactions.
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