In 2008 there were 75,000 farms in Ohio, of which 46 percent had annual sales of more than $10,000. Of those remaining many were secondary operations for people with other jobs. Farmland occupied 5.6 million hectares (13.9 million acres), of which 78 percent was cropland. Most of the rest was pasture.
The sale of crops provides 63 percent of Ohio’s farm income, and the sale of livestock and their products provides the remainder. The major cash crops are soybeans, corn, and soft red winter wheat, the kind used in pastry flour. The principal livestock and livestock products are poultry and eggs, milk and cream, hogs, and cattle. Ohio is also a leading producer of greenhouse and nursery plants.
Livestock raising is prevalent in southwestern Ohio, where corn, wheat, and hay are grown in rotation. Tobacco is grown in several counties. Dairying and truck farming, especially greenhouse vegetables, are practiced around the large cities. In northwestern Ohio, corn, soybeans, hogs, dairying, and poultry are important. Some specialty crops are also raised in this area.
In central Ohio, dairy farming is the leading income producer, and cattle feeding and hogs are important. A very high farm income is realized in an area south of Columbus where a large number of Aberdeen Angus and Herefords are raised on above-average-sized farms.
Farms in northeastern Ohio are largely engaged in dairying for the large urban concentrations in the region. Hay and corn are the important field crops. Vineyards and orchards (mainly cherry and peach), are found along Lake Erie, where the growing season is longest. Vegetable gardening is important near the cities. In many places in southeastern Ohio where the land is hilly and the soils are poor, agriculture yields only a subsistence income. Dairying is carried on as part of general farming. Soybeans, corn, and greenhouse and nursery products account for one-half of the state’s farm income. In western Ohio, a part of the Corn Belt, acreage in corn is decreasing and soybeans are becoming more important.
Only a small amount of the corn grown is sold for cash. Most corn is used as feed for animals. Wheat is important as a cash crop and is part of the corn-wheat-hay rotation system. A three-year or four-year rotation pattern is used throughout much of the state to improve the soil and to protect the land from erosion. Vegetables are grown in various parts of the state. Cabbages and cantaloupes are raised in Sandusky County. Madison, Hamilton, and Butler counties are noted for sweet corn, and Wood and Henry counties are noted for tomatoes. Geauga County is an important source of maple syrup.
Poultry products are the leading source of income from livestock in Ohio, contributing nearly one-third of all livestock sales. In 1997 Ohio led the nation in the production of eggs, bringing nearly 7 billion eggs to market. Dairying is another major source of income for farmers. It ranks first in the northeastern area of the state and most of the cheese factories are located in this area. Cattle and hogs, too, have long been important on Ohio farms. Although some feeders are still brought into the state, many farmers raise their own cattle to be fattened on corn. Most sheep are raised in central and eastern Ohio. Often 50 to 75 head of sheep, raised for wool and meat, are kept on farms with other livestock. "Ohio" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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