The Status and Changing Face of Ohio Agriculture: Summary of Farm Trends 1997–2017
Florence Becot, Shoshanah Inwood, Douglas Jackson-Smith, and Ana Katchova
Ohio has always been an important agricultural state. In 2017, Ohio was ranked in the top 10 states for production of grains, nursery and greenhouse crops, hogs and pigs, and horses. Ohio farms raised farm commodities worth over $9 billion. A recent study estimated that Ohio’s combined food and agriculture sectors generated almost $50 billion in gross product and roughly 900,000 jobs in 2015 (DiCarolis et al. 2017).
While agriculture remains a signiﬁcant economic engine and dominates the rural landscape, the ﬁrst two decades of the 21st century have been a time of rapid change for farmers in Ohio. This report pulls together data from several sources to summarize state-level trends in farm numbers, farm sales, land use, workforce characteristics, and economic performance between 1997 and 2017. Because of the diversity of Ohio agriculture—a state that contains farms of nearly every size, type, and conﬁguration—we explore how these changes have affected different types of farms in different ways.
We also explore how economic and technological forces of change have contributed to the rapid restructuring of Ohio’s farm sector. Like the rest of the nation, most farm output in the state now comes from a relatively small number of large commercial family farm operations that continually need to expand their scale to survive on persistent small proﬁt margins. At the same time, Ohio has a growing and thriving population of relatively small (usually part-time) farms. Meanwhile, operators of mid-sized family farms who do not have signiﬁcant off-farm income are disappearing from the landscape. These changes are actively re-shaping and changing the local economies and social structure of Ohio’s rural communities.
Suggested citation: Becot, F., Inwood, S., Jackson-Smith, D., & A. Katchova, A. (2020). The Status and Changing Face of Ohio Agriculture: Summary of Ohio Farm Trends 1997–2017. College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, SENR Technical Report. Columbus, OH: The Ohio State University.
For more information, please contact:
Shoshanah Inwood, PhD
Assistant Professor of Community, Food and Economic Development
College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences School of Environment and Natural Resources