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Ag revenues soar in latest census

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 May 2014 at 12:00 am

Orleans jumped from $101M in 2007 to $150M in 2012

File photo by Tom Rivers – Ken Nice, a fruit grower in Knowlesville, walks through his orchard last May when the trees were in bloom. Orleans County’s farm revenue is dominated by fruit, vegetables and other crops.

The revenue from Orleans County farms totaled $150.3 million in 2012 for sales of fruit, vegetables, milk, livestock and other farm products, a 48.8 percent jump from the $101.0 million recorded in 2007, according to the Agricultural Census.

State-wide, the numbers increased 24.9 percent to $5.52 billion in 2012.  That was up by $1.1 billion from the $4.42 billion in 2007, according to the federal Ag Census, which is done every five years.

The county breakdowns show the agricultural is a very big business locally, especially in the four GLOW counties. Wyoming County, which was ranked second overall in 2007, has claimed the top spot in the state with the new Census. Revenue at Wyoming County farms totaled $318.5 million in 2012, up from the $229.9 million in 2007.

Suffolk County, which has a thriving greenhouse and aquaculture industry on Long Island, was the top farm county in 2007 but has fallen to third in the new Census. Suffolk is behind Wyoming and Cayuga, another strong dairy county, at $293.5 million.

Some of the dairy animals are pictured at Poverty Hill Farms in Albion. Dairy and livestock make up a small portion of the Orleans County farm sector.

Genesee, Orleans County’s southern neighbor, ranks fourth overall in the state at $236.9 million, which is up from the $177.8 million in 2007. Livingston is ranked eighth overall in the state at $186.8 million.

Orleans is just out of the top 10. It ranks 13th at $150.3 million. The county’s ag bounty is nearly all crops at $138.5 million. Dairy, poultry and livestock make up less than 10 percent at $11.9 million.

The county’s ag revenue has more than doubled in 10 years. In 2002, the total was $68.9 million. State-wide ag revenue jumped 74 percent from 2002 to 2012, from $3.18 billion to $5.54 billion.

Corn prices were on the rise between 2007 and 2012, helping to fuel the increase in farm revenues. This photo shows the grain storage facilities owned by Panek Farms on County House Road in Albion.

Here is a list of the state’s top 15 counties for ag revenue:

1) Wyoming: $318.5 million

2) Cayuga: $293.5 million

3) Suffolk: $239.8 million

4) Genesee: $237.0 million

5) Wayne: $205.6 million

6) St. Lawrence: $187.4 million

7) Steuben: $187.2 million

8) Livingston: $186.8 million

9) Jefferson: $183.6 million

10) Ontario: $180.3 million

11) Chautauqua: $161.8 million

12) Onondaga: $152.1 million

13) Orleans: $150.3 million

14) Clinton: $149.0 million

15) Washington: $139.1 million