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Delaware: A Small State that is Big in Agriculture

Posted by Dale Hawks, Delaware State Statistician, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service in Research and Science
Jun 21, 2019
Number of Farms, by Size Category 2012 and 2017 chart
Number of farms by size of farm – only the 500 to 1,999 acre farms showed an increase in number of farms while all of the other size groups declined.

According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, Delaware had 2,302 farms that produced $1.5 billion in agricultural sales. That works out to an average of $637,000 per farm and ranks Delaware second in the nation behind California in per farm sales! Delaware ranks No. 1 nationally in the value of agricultural sales per farmland acre at $2,791 and also ranks No. 1 for lima bean acreage with nearly a third of the nation’s acreage.

Agricultural sales in Delaware are high for a small state due in part to the high concentration of commercial broiler sales in the area. Broiler production annually accounts for over 75 percent of Delaware’s value of agricultural production. Delaware produced about 263 million broilers in 2017. Sussex County, Delaware is the largest broiler producing county in the United States and Kent County, Delaware is in the top 15 broiler producing counties. In 2017, Delaware produced over 365,000 acres of corn and soybeans, which is still not enough to feed the state’s broiler production.

Farmers markets and farm stands give access to locally-grown fruits and vegetables to residents of Delaware and those going to the beach. In 2017, Delaware farmers made nearly $14 million in sales directly to consumers at farmers markets and numerous farm-stands. This is up $10 million from 2012.

Other notable things coming out of the 2017 Census is that Delaware has 197 farms with renewable energy producing systems. The top systems are 114 solar panels farms and 62 geo-exchange systems farms. For the first time, the Census counted 381 or nearly 17 percent of farms with producers having military service.

For more information about agriculture in Delaware, check out the Census of Agriculture State and County Profiles.

Ranking of Market Value of Ag Products Sold 2017 chart
Poultry and Eggs are ranked No. 1 in Delaware with nearly 76 percent of the total value sales being represented in this commodity grouping.
Category/Topic: Research and Science