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Berrien County Farmland Related Statistics

Farming In Berrien County

Farming is an important part of Berrien County's history, culture and economic structure.  According to the 2003 Berrien County Development Plan, in 1997 almost half of the land in Berrien County was farmland.  Yet, to date very little has been done to preserve this resource.  The Berrien County Development Plan states, "now is the time to use sound planning principles to direct urban growth in a way that minimizes the negative impact on agriculture, before it is too late." 


Several programs and zoning strategies are available to manage growth and preserve farmland.  Agricultural preservation methods primarily fall in one of four categories:  1) purchase of agricultural easement programs (such as Berrien County's Purchase of Development Rights Program), 2)right to farm laws, 3) agricultural zoning, and 4) tax relief.  No one technique is right for all areas.


Berrien County Farmland and Agricultural Statistics 1987 - 2002

Total Acres of Farmland179,660166,886173,958174,009
Acres in Orchards24,19724,30019,76816,352
Acres in Vegetables7,6806,4205,9037,391
Acres in Corn (for grain)38,16639,88943,84641,376
Acres in Soybeans26,11029,51841,76551,409
Total Number of farms1,4791,3121,1821,093
Number of Orchards687625479369
Number of Vegetable Farms298245185155
Average Size of Farm121127147159
Median Size of FarmNN5053
Total Market Value of Agricultural Products$63,420,000$68,223,000$81,376,000$96,716,000
Average Market Value of Agricultural Products per Farm$42,881$51,999$68,846$88,487

N – no data available Source:  US Department of Agriculture, 1987, 1997, 2002 Census of Agriculture 


Agriculture is an important economic activity for Berrien County. 

In 2004, Berrien County ranked #1 in grapes, #2 in apples, #4 in blueberries and #5 in asparagus for the State of Michigan. 


In 2002, there were 1,093 farms in Berrien County.  This includes 369 orchards, 155 vegetable farms and 240grain corn farms. 


There were a total of 174,009 acres of land in farms with 16,352 acres in orchards, 7,391 acres in vegetables, 41,376 acres in grain corn and 51,409 in soybeans. 


The average size of a farm in Berrien County in 2002 was 159 acres and the median size was 53 acres. 


In 2002, in Berrien County the average market value of agricultural products sold per farm is $88,487 with the total market value of agricultural products in the County valued at $96,716,000.

This page last updated on 5/14/2009.
Southwest Michigan Planning Commission  
376 West Main Street  Suite 130  Benton Harbor, MI 49022-3651
Phone: 269.925.1137  Fax: 269.925.0288  

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