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Genesee County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan

Genesee County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan

Summary Agriculture in

Summary Agriculture in Genesee County, New York, is a large and extensive industry consisting of 500 farm enterprises on over 170,000 acres of farmland. In 1997, Genesee County’s farm output totaled over $140 million and employed nearly 1,200 people on the farm. Along with the direct impact to the economy, Genesee’s farm economy contributed an additional $63 million and employed another 900 workers through related industries. While much of the U.S. farm economy has been adversely impacted by declining real prices, increasing production costs, and dwindling farm incomes, Genesee County’s farming sector has largely overcome these pervasive trends. Between 1987 and 1997, real farm receipts in Genesee County increased by $19 million while expenses increased only $4 million. As a result, average farm income in Genesee County has increased 130 percent between 1987 and 1997. By comparison, U.S. farmers as a group have seen average farm income increase only 30 percent over this same time period. However, not all of Genesee County’s farming sector remains immune from problems. Dairy farming, in particular, has been adversely impacted by rising costs and declining real milk prices. Since 1987, 35 percent of all Genesee County dairy farms went out of business accounting for half of all farms lost. Some of these dairy farms likely switched to alternative crops. Especially pronounced has been the increase in vegetable production in Genesee County. Between 1987 and 1997, vegetable acreage has increased 40 percent while cash receipts from vegetable sales have increased nearly 70 percent. The shift away from primary commodities like dairy to higher valued products like vegetables has been a primary factor in improved farm profitability for the County. (continued) Agricultural Trends Profile for Genesee County, New York 4

Summary (continued) As Genesee County’s farming sector evolves away from dairy and towards vegetables this has important impacts for the local service economy. For one, expenditures by the vegetable farming sector tend to be more localized as compared to the dairy farming sector. On average, 44 cents of every dollar spent by the Genesee County vegetable farming sector remains in the County, while 23 cents of every dollar spent by the dairy farming sector remains in Genesee County. This disparity arises from the dairy sector’s reliance on feed and feed products (60 percent of expenditures), which is largely imported from outside of the County. Along with expenditures being more localized from the vegetable farming sector, the demands of the vegetable sector differ significantly from dairy. Vegetable farms rely more on agricultural service firms which provide custom work on pesticide applications. As vegetable production has grown in the County, so too has the number of agricultural service firms – up 40% between 1987 and 1997. . Agricultural Trends Profile for Genesee County, New York 5

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