Agriculture in Iredell County
Agriculture in Iredell County – Prepared by Nancy Keith, Iredell County Extension Director
Agriculture is the number one industry in Iredell County. The total economic impact of agriculture is $662 million and provides about 15% (over 12,000 people) of the jobs. Total cash receipts from agriculture for Iredell County is approximately $167.5 million with $123.5 million being generated from dairy, livestock and poultry and $44 million generated from field crops, nursery, greenhouse, fruit and vegetables.
Iredell County has 367,488 acres of total land and 138,416 acres of the total land is in farmland accounting for 37.7% in the county. There are 1,203 farms in the county with the average size being 127 acres. Whether large or small, these farmers are committed to producing safe food. The diversity of agriculture in the county includes fruits (strawberries, muscadines, vinifera grapes, blueberries, peaches, apples, blackberries and raspberries), vegetables, nurseries, dairy cattle, beef cattle, poultry and field crops (corn, soybeans, small grain, sunflowers, canola and rapeseed).
Iredell County ranks first in the state for all cattle (beef and dairy), first for milk cows and number of dairies in the state, first for corn silage production, second for layers, fifth for hay production and fifth for beef cattle.
Agriculture is also North Carolina’s number one industry and contributes $84 billion annually to the state’s economy and provides jobs for 638,000 of our state’s citizens. United States agriculture is a $300 billion industry, and less than 2% of the nation’s population is engaged in farming. Less than 2% of the population is feeding the other 98% of the population. In 1950, one U.S. farmer produced food and fiber for only 30 people. Today, that same farmer feeds 155 people here and around the world. Of each dollar spent on food, the farmer’s share is approximately 15.8 cents. The rest is for cost beyond the farm gate associated with wages, marketing, processing, wholesaling, distribution and retailing.
Farmers are committed to producing a safe, nutritious, affordable food for consumers. As you can see, agriculture is extremely important to our economy. Don’t forget to THANK A FARMER!