WAYNE COUNTY - Agriculture has always been an important part of Wayne County living. Many generations of Wayne County farmers have made their living in some aspect of agriculture.

WAYNE COUNTY - Agriculture has always been an important part of Wayne County living. Many generations of Wayne County farmers have made their living in some aspect of agriculture.

That commitment to agriculture in Wayne County continues today.

In past years, the dairy farming industry was the main agricultural enterprise, followed by livestock (hogs, sheep, beef cattle and horses).

Other agricultural commodities such as commercial orchards, vegetable production, small grain crops, corn for grain and silage and hay production were some of the other enterprises to keep area farmers busy and productive.

In recent years, the dairy farming industry has declined from over (250) active dairy farms, during the 1950’s thru the 1970’s, to about (60) active dairy farms today (2014).

Some declines in livestock production have also occurred, but, not as drastically as the dairy farm decline.

The Wayne County dairy industry, with its 60 active dairy farms, involves about 4,000 dairy cows producing approximately $21,000,000 dollars worth of milk sold at the farm gate.

Much of Wayne County’s milk is marketed as Class 1 milk, or packaged drinking-use milk.

At least 25 percent of our nation’s population lives here on the East Coast. Wayne County dairy farms contribute to the milk supply needed by this population.

There is a changing “face” of agriculture here in Wayne County. Some of the “younger generation” or “educated generation” of people involved in Wayne County agriculture have put together “thoughtful, logical and progressive agricultural business plans” to diversify the products produced and sold/marketed from their farms.

These young entrepreneurs have taken a variety of “raw” agricultural products, produced on the farm, and have “added value” to the product making it worth more on the agricultural products markets.

In addition, these young people have expanded and developed markets to enhance distribution and product acceptance and to increase the profitability for these farms.

Some of these “value-added” partnerships include: dairy (cheesemakers, ice cream production, packaged milk and milk products), apple orchards (baked pies, packaged apple cider, etc.) livestock and slaughter of hogs, lambs, meat goats, beef (hams, sausage, chops, roasts, hamburger, steaks, picnics, hot dogs, etc.), vegetables (fresh from the farm potatoes, sweet corn, beans, tomatoes, etc. at area farm markets, salsas, pickles, etc.), poultry (fresh eggs, fresh and/or frozen poultry meats (capons, turkey, roaster chickens, etc. plus other poultry meats), maple syrup products (maple candy, crumb maple sugar, maple cream, maple syrup, etc.), small fruits (strawberries, red raspberries, blueberries-fresh baked fruit pies, jellies, small fruit syrup and juices, ice cream, etc.) and beekeepers (honey and honey products available at area farm markets, street festivals, parades, etc.) throughout Wayne County.

In addition, Wayne County farmers have always produced an abundance of hay crops each year that is sold to other area farmers, horse stables, nurseries and landscapers.

Additional crops of small grains (oats, wheat, barley, rye) are also part of the Wayne County farm scene. Field corn, for grain production and sale, plus use as corn silage, is also a crop grown in Wayne County.

Much of the “value-added” agricultural production in fruits, vegetables, some dairy products, honey, maple syrup, salad greens, flowers, bedding plants, fresh eggs, fresh meats, garlic and cheeses are made available, to the public, at a number of areas “Farm Markets” conducted almost year-round in Wayne County.

It is here where the consumer can purchase fresh, high-quality Wayne County – grown food products by functioning as a “locovore,” or, one who supports the local agricultural industry by purchasing a variety of locally-grown and produced/processed foods.

The participation of local residents, at area farm markets, as purchasers of these food products, helps to insure the continuation and hopefully the success and profitability of area farms based here in Wayne County.

Recent government figures have supported the importance of agriculture here in the United States and Wayne County.

An active farmer, here in the United States, is currently producing enough food, fiber or other agricultural products to successfully feed about (155) people.

The United States population enjoys a plentiful, available, wholesome food supply.

With a projection of (9) billion people to feed, worldwide, by 2050, a lot of work must be done to meet these needs.

Wayne County agriculture will do its part to help meet this lofty goal.

For additional information about any aspect of agriculture, in Wayne County, please contact the Wayne County Cooperative Extension at 570 253-5970, extension 4110, or, by email at: WayneExt@psu.edu, or, by visiting the Wayne County Extension Office at 648 Park Street, Honesdale.

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