Delaware Ag Facts

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Posted by Karyn Moyer

Even though Delaware is the second smallest state, it is still an important part of the agriculture industry in the United States. The First State has always been a prime location, critical in growing the agriculture industry in the US. The state has a rich agricultural history with nearly 150 active family-farms that have been operated by the same family for over 100 years. Find out more about Delaware’s agriculture industry with these 20 facts.

  1. Soft red wheat was Delaware’s first important cash crop because of the innovative flour mills. The mills, designed by Oliver Evans, brought fame and prosperity to the new state.
  2. In the 1750s several Quaker families founded Delaware’s grain milling industry.
  3. In 1832, Isaac Reeves planted the first orchard of “budded” fruit trees in the state.
  4. In the 1850s Delaware was the largest peach producer with over 800,000 peach trees, however, disease at the turn of the 20th century changed the peach industry in the state.
  5. In 1923, Cecile Steele began experimenting with larger houses for their chickens, which inspired the modern broiler industry.
  6. Today, broilers are the state’s most valuable agriculture product.
  7. Sussex County, Delaware is the birthplace of the United States’ broiler chicken industry. The county produces more broilers each year than any other county in the country.
  8. In 2017, Delaware produced about 263 million broilers.
  9. That same year Delaware produced over 365,000 acres of corn and soybeans. However, it still wasn’t enough to feed the broiler production in the state.
  10. Corn is the number one crop in the state and is grown on 2/5 of the cultivated land in the state. Soybeans come in second.
  11. 70% of Delaware’s farm income comes from livestock and related products.
  12. Today, about 90% of the farms in Delaware are either sole or family proprietorships or family-owned corporations.
  13. About 40% of the state’s land is devoted to agricultural production, making it the largest land use in the state.
  14. There are over 2,300 farms spread across over 500,000 acres of farmland in Delaware.
  15. For such a small state, it ranks second in per farm sales, behind California.
  16. The soil in the state, called Greenwich, is classified as a “Prime Farmland Soil.” This means it is one of the most productive soils.
  17. Delaware has 148 Century Farms, which are active farms owned by the same family for a least 100 years.
  18. Delaware is a major supplier of vegetables. The state produces over 12,000 tractor-trailer truckloads per year.
  19. The top fruit crop in the state is apples.
  20. Delaware harvests more lima bean acres than any other state in the U.S.A.


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Delaware Department of Agriculture


Delaware State News

Learn all about the First state here with these fun agricultural facts.
Karyn Moyer

Karyn Moyer

Karyn Moyer is the Senior Marketing Manager at AgHires, with over 13 years of marketing experience, over 9 of which she has spent in the agriculture marketing industry. Growing up in a small farming town, Karyn has a deep appreciation for the importance of agriculture and its role in our communities. Since joining AgHires in 2017, Karyn has used her wealth of experience and knowledge to help job seekers and clients achieve their goals. She has a passion for learning and discovering new ways to support the industry.