The United States Department of Agriculture on Thursday released its first farm census in five years, finding Loudoun’s rural area leads the state in several key categories.
The USDA report found Loudoun is first in Virginia for acres of grapes, amount of hops grown, amount of honey collected and sold, number of alpacas and llamas, and farmers who are women, Latino, Hispanic, Asian or military veterans.
“The Board of Supervisors have made it a priority to preserve our farmland and support those who are putting their land to great use,” stated County Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large). “It’s gratifying to see that those efforts are paying off with another positive report on ag-based economy in the county.”
Loudoun County is home to 1,259 farms covering 121,932 acres. Loudoun-made, Loudoun-grown products run the gamut from hay to hogs and goats to grapes, plus products made from Loudoun-grown raw materials, such as beer, wine, cheese, honey and wool.
“The results of this census will help inform our decisions about our programming to support rural business development, workforce, ag education and much more over the next several years,” stated Department of Economic Development Executive Director Buddy Rizer. “Our long-standing commitment to supporting rural business owners, and making it easier for them to do business in Loudoun, continues to pay dividends in helping to keep our farmland farming.”
“Loudoun farms have embraced new opportunities in agriculture—from agri-tourism to value-added products from their crops. This is an important reason that Loudoun is #1 in so many categories in this year’s census report,” stated Interim Agricultural Development Officer Vanessa Wagner.
Loudoun farm businesses attract visitors from around the region and country, bringing in more than $1.8 billion in tourism dollars.
Details about Loudoun farms are at LoudounFarms.org.