The 2012 Census of Agriculture results are out and, just as many predicted, Ohio continues to grow agriculturally. True to our rich history, the Buckeye State is a large contributor of corn, soybeans, winter wheat, milk, hogs, poultry, and floriculture and nursery. And that is just a few of our many commodities produced in Ohio.
According to the census results, there are 75,462 farms (ranking 7th nationally) on 13,960,904 acres of farm land in Ohio. Even though 2012 was a drought year, Ohio ranked 13th nationally in total sales by topping $10 billion, a whopping 42 percent increase from just five years ago, which was the last time my agency conducted the Census of Agriculture. We also ranked 10th nationally in crop sales with just under $6.6.billion and 20th nationally in livestock sales with just under $3.5 billion.
The majority of our agricultural income in Ohio traditionally comes from crops and 2012 was no exception. Ohio growers produced more than 436 million bushels of corn and sold nearly $2.9 billion worth of this crop. Our local growers also produced more than 200 million bushels of soybeans which results in sales of more than $2.7 billion and 31 million bushels of winter wheat, with total sales amounting to more than $223 million.
Not to be outdone, the Livestock industry is also well represented in the Buckeye State. Ohio farmers had milk sales of over $938 million in 2012, placing Ohio into 11th nationally in that category. And hog sales were just below that number at over $788 million in sales. In the poultry industry, Ohio ranked 2nd nationally with a layer inventory of over 28 million layers. The impact this industry has on Ohio agriculture is especially noticeable on a more local level. Ohio’s Darke and Mercer counties ranked 2nd and 3rd nationally among top layer counties in the U.S.
In addition to these two major agricultural sectors, the floriculture and nursery industries were also well represented in Ohio. On the floriculture side, Ohio growers surpassed $228 million in sales, ranking 6th nationally. Nursery growers sold more than $181 million in 2012, ranking 7th nationally.
On the demographics side, the average age of Ohio farmers is 56.8 years, which is below than the national average of 58.3 years. More than 5,000 Ohio operators are under the age of 35 and over 20 percent of our principal operators have been operating any farm less than 10 years. Women are the principal operator on over 11 percent of Ohio farms.
These are just some of the exciting facts about Ohio agriculture. For more data on the Buckeye State, check out our complete 2012 Census of Agriculture.