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Ohio agriculture


Ohio landscape
Ohio landscape

Farming also experienced dramatic changes after World War II. Technology greatly enhanced productivity, making it possible for fewer farmers to produce greater crop yields on less overall acreage. In 1940 Ohio had about 250,000 farms; by 1970 there were fewer than half that number, and by 1995 only 75,000 remained. In 1940, about 80 percent of Ohio’s land had been devoted to agriculture; by 1995, suburban sprawl and population growth had reduced that figure to 65 percent. Before the war, the typical Ohio farm had about 40 hectares (about 100 acres). By 1995 the average Ohio farm had 80 hectares (200 acres). In 1850, when Ohio had ranked first among all the states in value of agricultural products, the majority of families farmed full-time; in 1995 that had fallen to less than 3 percent of the total population, and the state ranked 16th. However, Ohio had many part-time farmers among the 25 percent of the population classified as rural in 1995; many of these people lived and worked on farms but supplemented their incomes with other jobs.

Despite all the changes, the total yield of Ohio’s farms in the 1990s was greater than ever because of improvements in breeding, seeds, fertilizers, machinery, and techniques in planting, cultivating, and harvesting. In 1995 diversity and productivity continued to characterize Ohio’s agriculture. Though the land planted in corn, about 1.4 million hectares (about 3.4 million acres), was virtually the same as it had been in 1876, the yield per acre was several times greater. Soybeans, unknown on Ohio farms in 1920, had surpassed corn as the state’s principal crop, with about 1.5 million hectares (about 3.8 million acres) under cultivation. Eggs, dairy products, potatoes, hogs, cattle, hay, poultry, tomatoes, sugar beets, and winter wheat continued to be important, although sheep and orchard products diminished in significance. Agribusiness in 1995 generated some $37 billion annually in overall income, 10 percent of all wages and salaries, and 15 percent of all Ohio jobs. "Ohio" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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