Recently released United States Department of Agriculture figures show that Jackson County’s 215 farms sold $11,637,000 of products in 2017, the most recent year stats are available.

The 2017 Census of Agriculture profile of the county compares 2017 farming numbers with 2012.

The number of farms is down 12 percent since 2012, but total sales are up 42 percent.

The county’s 215 farms average 73 acres, up 11 percent.

The average product sold per farming operation is $54,126, up 62 percent.

Livestock sales account for 4 percent of sales, led by cattle and calves at $335,000, ranking 74 among the state’s 100 counties.

Sixteen percent of farm land is pasture, 33 percent in cropland, 42 percent woodland and 8 percent other.

Forty-four percent of county farms have annual sales less than $2,500 per year, while 7 percent boast sales of over $100,000.

In terms of size, 14 percent of farms are fewer than 9 acres, 43 percent range between 10 and 49 acres, 37 percent from 50 to 179 acres and 37 percent from 180 to 499 acres.

There is one farm in the county between 500 and 999 acres, and one over 1,000 acres.

The biggest cash crop in the county is cultivated Christmas trees or other short rotation woody crops (fast-growing trees used for energy production, such as biomass) with $6,881,000 in sales. Jackson ranks fifth in the state and 11th in the country in that category. Vegetables, melons, potatoes and sweet potato sales bring in $2,745,000, ranking 33 in the state and 469 in the country.

The total number of people classified as farmers in 2017 was 352. Male farmers outnumber female farmers 225-127. Eighteen farmers are under 35 years old, 160 range from 35-64 years old, and 174 are 65 and older.

In terms of acreage, cultivated Christmas trees account for 2,009 acres, forage (hay/silage) 1,662 acres, vegetables 119 and tomatoes 101.