Bedford County Economic Development

Office of Economic Development


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Farm Facts

Agriculture in Bedford County

Agriculture and Forestry is by far the largest land use in the County. It is also a powerful economic engine, $28,283,000 annually in farm sales alone. According to a recently completed study by the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, the total economic impact of agriculture and forestry in Bedford (includes secondary multiplier effects) was $135,731,096 and the combined industries accounted for 2,889 jobs.

Commodity Value (2012)
Cattle and Calves $15,814,000
Milk $4,898,000
Other crops and Hay $3,178,000
Fruits/Berries $394,000
Nursery/Greenhouse $1,285,000
Grains (Corn, Wheat) $1,812,000
Vegetables $206,000
Horses/Ponies $301,000
Christmas Trees $75,000
Sheep and lambs $115,000
**Bedford ranks 38th among Virginia counties in cash receipts from agricultural product sales
Value of agricultural products sold direct to individuals for human consumption
2002 $327,000
2007 $565,000
2012 $453,000
Total Land Area Land in Farms % Land Area in Farms
486,335 acres 206,534 acres 42.5
Average farm Size 151 acres
Source: U.S. Census of Agriculture, 2012
State Rankings of Bedford Agriculture (among Virginia Counties)
All Cattle and Calves (49,253 head) #9
Beef Cows (24,260 head) #3
Milk Cows (1,292 head) #15
Hay (46,147 acres) #9
Horses (2,506 head) #7
Goats (1,137 head) #10
Orchards (287 acres) #14
Grapes (68 acres) #16
Sources: U.S. Census of Agriculture, 2012 | Virginia Agricultural Statistics Bulletin, 2012 | 2012 Equine Survey Report
Annual Economic Impact of Horses in Bedford (Care and Upkeep)
Number of Horses Care, $/Horse Total
6,200 $3,642.00 $22,580,400
Source: 2006 Equine Survey Report

Forestry

The forest industry begins with the forestland owner. On average from 1986 to 2001, Bedford County landowners received $3,750,334 annually for standing timber sold; 19th in the state.

Bedford Businesses dependent on agriculture:
Farm Bureau
Bedford Southern States Cooperative
Bedford-Augusta Cooperative
Moneta Farm and Home Center
Tractor Supply Company
Royal Oak Farm
Boone Tractor
Powers Tractor and Equipment
New London Tractor and Implement
Springlake Livestock Market
Farm Credit of the Virginias
Aylor’s Farm Store
Eco-Friendly Foods – meat processing facility
Farm Building/Fencing Contractors
Bedford Animal Hospital
Lil Doc’s Veterinary Service
Equine Veterinarians

Agriculture pays its way – a Cost of Community Services study documents that residential development does not pay its way, but agriculture does.

Cost of Community Services Study – Bedford County FY 2004
Residential Commercial/Industrial Agricultural
Land use ratio* 1.07 0.40 0.25
*Cost for each $1 of revenue generated
Estimated Market Value of Land and Buildings, Dollars/Acre, Bedford
1992 $1,206.00
1997 $1,943.00
2002 $2,920.00
2007 $4,727.00
2012 $4,430.00
Source: U.S. Census of Agriculture

Farmer Characteristics

2007 2012
# Farms, total 1,428 1,369
Farmer age group
Under 25 years 10 3
25-34 years 34 35
35-44 166 102
45-54 352 304
55-59 185 194
60-64 167 191
65-69 175 188
70+ 340 352
Average Age 59 59
Source: U.S. Census of Agriculture