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, $26,470,000 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 $60,800,000 and the combined industries accounted for 1,547 jobs.

Commodity Value (2017)
Cattle and Calves $14,536,000
Milk $2,663,000
Other crops and Hay $3,862,000
Fruits/Berries $704,000
Nursery/Greenhouse $1,330,000
Grains (Corn, Wheat) $1,806,000
Vegetables $173,000
Horses/Ponies $403,000
Christmas Trees $25,000
Sheep and lambs $140,000
Goats $79,000
**Bedford ranks 38th among Virginia counties in cash receipts from agricultural product sales
Value of agricultural products sold direct to individuals for human consumption
2007 $565,000
2012 $453,000
2017 $1,210,000
Total Land Area Land in Farms % Land Area in Farms
486,329 acres 211,534 acres 43.4
Average farm Size 149 acres
Source: U.S. Census of Agriculture, 2017
State Rankings of Bedford Agriculture (among Virginia Counties)
All Cattle and Calves (48,235 head) #6
Beef Cows (25,110 head) #3
Milk Cows (782 head) #21
Hay (41,910 acres) #2
Horses (1,933 head) #7
Goats (1,479 head) #5
Orchards (221 acres) #17
Grapes (70 acres) #15
Sources: U.S. Census of Agriculture, 2017 | Virginia Agricultural Statistics Bulletin, 

Forestry

The forest industry in Bedford County generates approximately $18.1 million in economic activity (Source: The Economic Impact of Virginia’s Agriculture and Forest Industries, Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, 2017)

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
Robertson 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
1987 $1,007.00
1992 $1,206.00
1997 $1,943.00
2002 $2,920.00
2007 $4,727.00
2012 $4,430.00
2017 $4,399.00
Source: U.S. Census of Agriculture

Farmer Characteristics

2007 2012 2017
# Farms, total 1,428 1,369
Farmer age group
Under 25 years 10 3 40
25-34 years 34 35 165
35-44 166 102 193
45-54 352 304 373
55-54 352 385 679
65+ 515 540 809
Average Age 59 59
Source: U.S. Census of Agriculture