The Ag Council develops data sheets on a variety of agricultural topics to assess agriculture’s contribution to Chester County’s economy and landscape. We receive data assistance from representatives from the Brandywine Conservancy, Chester County Conservation District, Chester County Economic Development Council, Chester County Open Space Department, Chester/Delaware Farm Bureau, New Bolton Center, Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA), Penn State Cooperative Extension, and USDA Farm Service Agency. Please let us know what topics you would like to learn more about at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dairy is one of Pennsylvania’s largest agricultural industries (and PA ranks 6th in the nation for dairy) with value of sales estimating almost $2 billion (USDA Milk Production, Feb. 2020, 2017 Ag Census). Chester County farms rank fifth in dairy revenue generation in Pennsylvania with at total farm revenue in 2017 of approximately $83 million, representing about 12% of the value of total agricultural products sold in the County (2017 Ag Census).
Chester County is the Mushroom Capital of the world and mushrooms are the top vegetable crop in the county. The over 50 mushroom farms located here cultivate about 11.2 million square feet of growing space annually (2019-2020 Mushroom Crop Report, NASS).
Chester County’s agricultural industry is very strong ranking 2nd among all 67 Pennsylvania counties (ranking 53rd of over 3,000 counties in the U.S.) in the total value of agricultural products sold with annual sales of $712,468,000. In addition, Chester County ranked 18th of over 3,000 counties in the U.S. in value of agricultural products sold per acre of land in farms with a value per acre of $4,733.00.
Mushroom, field crops and dairy production remain our top sectors, but we have incredible diversity of agricultural operations including nursery and greenhouse, equine, vegetable, fruits and tree nuts, Christmas trees, livestock and egg and poultry. Our fastest growing segment of agriculture is organic production with a 296 percent increase from 2012 ($11,801,000 to $43,625,000).
Chester County is home to a vibrant, diverse equine community that significantly shapes our sense of place and contributes to our local economy. People of all skill levels participate in equine activities, and non-riders can partake as well by attending many fun, family-friendly events throughout the year.
View the Equine Info Sheet or learn more about the economic impact of the equine industry in the 10-County Southeastern region of the Commonwealth by viewing the full report commissioned by the Chester-Delaware County Farm Bureau and funded in large part by a grant provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, and the Chester County Commissioners.
As with any relationship, communication is key. It would be great for municipal officials and agricultural producers to work together to support the agricultural industry, but that doesn’t always happen. Here are some practical considerations for both municipal officials and producers to foster successful relationships, encourage an environment in which agriculture can thrive, and ACRE challenges can be avoided.
Small-scale, non-commercial raising of chickens and other fowl is an increasingly popular activity for those interested in access to fresh eggs, composted manure for gardens, teaching children about where food comes from and even helping control tick populations. However, it is imperative that homeowners follow certain steps to ensure a positive experience for themselves, their neighbors and their flock.
Growing field crops is a significant land use that helps maintain the underpinnings of our agricultural industry. Crops in Chester County are generally grown for the purpose of producing animal feed, but they support and are used in other agricultural sectors, such as the mushroom and equine industries, as well.