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.
- 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.
- In the 1750s several Quaker families founded Delaware’s grain milling industry.
- In 1832, Isaac Reeves planted the first orchard of “budded” fruit trees in the state.
- 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.
- In 1923, Cecile Steele began experimenting with larger houses for their chickens, which inspired the modern broiler industry.
- Today, broilers are the state’s most valuable agriculture product.
- 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.
- In 2017, Delaware produced about 263 million broilers.
- 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.
- 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.
- 70% of Delaware’s farm income comes from livestock and related products.
- Today, about 90% of the farms in Delaware are either sole or family proprietorships or family-owned corporations.
- About 40% of the state’s land is devoted to agricultural production, making it the largest land use in the state.
- There are over 2,300 farms spread across over 500,000 acres of farmland in Delaware.
- For such a small state, it ranks second in per farm sales, behind California.
- The soil in the state, called Greenwich, is classified as a “Prime Farmland Soil.” This means it is one of the most productive soils.
- Delaware has 148 Century Farms, which are active farms owned by the same family for a least 100 years.
- Delaware is a major supplier of vegetables. The state produces over 12,000 tractor-trailer truckloads per year.
- The top fruit crop in the state is apples.
- Delaware harvests more lima bean acres than any other state in the U.S.A.
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