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Agriculture contributes so much to Rowan County


Morgan Watts

By Morgan Watts

Rowan Cooperative Extension

With the 38th annual China Grove Farmer’s Day happening July 20, it’s a good time to highlight Rowan County agriculture and how much it brings to Rowan County.

Rowan County is made up of several different types of farms, creating a lot of diversity among the county. In Rowan County, we have beef, dairy, horse, small ruminants, poultry, crop, produce and flower farms. Some of these farms are large, while others are only a few acres.

According to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, we have 1,011 farms in Rowan County and the average farm size is 120 acres. The stats also show that about 60% of products sold are crops and 40% are livestock. Those combined equal to about $84,000,000 in products sold in Rowan County.

In 2012, Rowan County ranked fourth in the state for forage land used for hay, haylage grass (a highly nutritional forage in round bales, wrapped in plastic) silage and green chop (younger forage fed wet to livestock).

According to the 2017 Ag Stats, Rowan ranks second in strawberry production with 48 acres in production and third in tomatoes with 240 acres in production.

The cash receipts from 2017 were $37,339,382 for livestock, dairy and poultry and $38,340,054 for crops. In 2018, we were ranked 11th in the state for the number of beef cows on farms, and we ranked eighth for milk cows.

The average age for farmers in Rowan County is 59, and there are a lot more male (888) farmers than female (123) farmers. The age of farmers is becoming a growing concern. In a few years, those farmers will want to retire but having people wanting or being able to replace them is getting harder and harder. More families today are removed from the farm.

Another concern is the lack of new farms starting in the county or even in the state. The cost to buy land and start up a farm is too expensive for most individuals.

As you can see by the statistics, parts of Rowan County are very much still a farming community. We need the farms we have plus more people willing to start farms in Rowan County. All types of agriculture and farming is needed in our county to feed the growing population.

If you have any questions or would like to know more about farming and agriculture in Rowan County, please call N.C. Cooperative Extension, Rowan County Center, at 704-216-8970.

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