The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently published a census report on New Hampshire’s farming industry. The data shows that New Hampshire farms are becoming smaller and more profitable.
The USDA report, which is done every five years, shares numbers from 2017.
Some key findings:
- The industry jumped from a net loss of $10 million 2012 to a net gain of $10.3 million in 2017.
- The amount of total farmland in New Hampshire shrunk by 10 percent.
Gail McWilliam Jellie, director of Agricultural Development at the N.H. Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food, attributes these profits to the increasing popularity of local products.
“There has been a shift towards smaller farms with niche products," said McWilliam Jellie. "So they might be growing heirloom tomatoes. Or they might just have blueberries for sale. And that’s all they’re doing."
The majority of farms in New Hampshire are on the small side (under 49 acres). McWilliam Jellie says this makes sense given the nature of the workforce in agriculture.
“We have a lot of part-time farmers in New Hampshire," said McWilliam Jellie. "Meaning they have some kind of off-farm income or off-farm career along with their farming careers."