Because of poor soil, a short growing season, and competition from more fertile regions, much of New Hampshire’s former farmland has returned to forest land. Most farms are in the Connecticut and Merrimack river valleys and the coastal lowlands.
In 2008 there were 4,150 farms in New Hampshire. Some 30 percent had annual sales of more than $10,000. Most of the rest were sidelines for operators who also held other jobs. Farmland occupied 190,202 hectares (470,000 acres), of which 27 percent was used to grow crops. The rest is mostly woodlots and pasture.
The sale of dairy products accounts for about one-third of the state’s total farm income. New Hampshire’s dairy industry is concerned primarily with the production of fresh milk, both for local consumption and for shipment to Massachusetts markets. Because of their high productivity, New Hampshire’s dairy cattle are also sold, in embryo form, as breeding stock throughout the world. Other livestock raised, particularly as a sideline by dairy farmers, include beef cattle and hogs. Fresh eggs for market are the most valuable poultry product. Chickens, cattle and calves, and turkeys are also sold. New Hampshire farms derive 60 percent of their income from the sale of livestock and livestock products.
The chief commercial crops raised in New Hampshire are greenhouse and nursery products, Christmas trees, and apples. In addition, various vegetables and forest products are sources of agricultural income. Specialized nurseries, growing forest seedlings and flowers for the Boston and New York City markets, are scattered throughout the state. Hay grown to feed livestock is the chief field crop, and the leading vegetable produced is sweet corn. Lumber cut from farm woodlots is sold. Many farmers supplement their income by tapping the maple trees on their lands to produce maple syrup and maple sugar. "New Hampshire" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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