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Agricultural productions of Pennsylvania


Pennsylvania agriculture
Pennsylvania agriculture

In 2008 there were 63,200 farms in Pennsylvania. Of those, 41 percent had annual sales of more than $10,000; the others were often sideline activities for operators holding other jobs. Farmland occupied 3.1 million hectares (7.8 million acres), of which about two-fifths was cropland. Most of the remainder was pasture..

The best farming areas are the counties of southeastern Pennsylvania, the Great Valley, and the fertile limestone and alluvial valleys of central Pennsylvania. Dairying is important throughout this area, and a wide variety of crops are grown. A single farm sometimes raises dairy cows, beef, poultry, hay, grain, fruits, and vegetables.

Northeastern and northwestern Pennsylvania specialize in dairy farming, although fruits and vegetables are cultivated intensively near the shores of Lake Erie. Southwestern Pennsylvania has many dairy and truck farms.

The sale of livestock and livestock products accounts for 63 percent of Pennsylvania’s farm income, and the state ranks among the nation’s leading producers of milk, dairy products, poultry, and eggs. Dairying is carried on in all the farming areas of the state and predominates near some of the larger cities. While southeastern and southwestern Pennsylvania combine dairying with general farming, dairying is the chief agricultural activity in the northeast and northwest. Most dairy farmers also raise poultry, and many raise beef cattle.

The extreme southwestern corner of the state, with its hilly pastureland, is noted as a sheep-raising district.

With a growing season ranging from three to seven months, Pennsylvania can produce a wide variety of crops. Although hay and corn are leading crops, their cash value is not especially high, because much of the hay and grain grown on Pennsylvania farms is used to feed livestock and poultry. Winter wheat, which is used to make a fine cake and pastry flour, is an important crop in the southeast. Buckwheat, which does not require a long growing season, is a major crop in the northeast. Other important crops include potatoes, oats, rye, barley, and a variety of truck crops.

Farm in Pennsylvania
Farm in Pennsylvania

There are two important orchard regions in the state. Apples and peaches are grown on the slopes of South Mountain in the southeast. Near the shore of Lake Erie, apples, cherries, and grapes are important crops. Because there is much less danger of frost near the lakeshore than farther inland, this area is well suited to fruit growing.

Pennsylvania also produces some interesting agricultural specialties. Around the towns of Avondale and Kennett Square, in the southeast, many farmers cultivate mushrooms inside sheds where light and temperatures can be controlled. Mushrooms have become an important crop for the state as a whole. They rank second in economic importance behind greenhouse and nursery items. Around York and Lancaster, also in the southeast, many farmers raise cigar-leaf tobacco, and this area produces much of the cigar filler grown in the United States. Tobacco is still a profitable crop. Because tobacco rapidly exhausts the soil, it is grown on only a small percentage of each farm’s acreage and is alternated with other crops. Maple-sugar processing and Christmas tree cultivation are important agricultural activities in some parts of the Allegheny Plateaus. "Pennsylvania" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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