Since prehistoric times, people who have called Ohio home made their living off the land. By the time European settlers established a presence in Ohio, American Indian tribes were growing corn, beans, squash and pumpkins. Europeans introduced other crops, such as watermelon.
By the early nineteenth century, Ohio established itself as one of the nation’s leading states in crop production. Ohio farmers also raised livestock, not only for food, but for use in textile production. As time passed, industrialization rose in prominence and many of Ohio’s earliest industries were based in agriculture.
By the twentieth century, competition from other states reduced the prices Ohio farmers received for their crops. Even though today Ohio relies more on the service and industrial sectors, the Buckeye State is still one of the nation’s leaders in agriculture.
There are about 75,000 farms in Ohio. Nearly 90 percent of those farms are run by families or individuals.
Ohio ranks first nationally in the production of Swiss cheese, second in egg production and third in tomatoes and pumpkins. Ohio is fifth in the nation in bell pepper yield, sixth in sweet corn and cucumbers and eighth in the number of chickens sold.
Other Ohio Top Ten Agriculture Rankings, as published by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (U.S. Department of Agriculture):
|Category ||Rank |
|Cottage Cheese ||Fifth |
|Milk sherbet ||Fifth |
|Grapes ||Seventh |
|Ice cream ||Eighth |
|Tobacco ||Eighth |
|All cheese ||Ninth |
|Apples ||Ninth |
|Hog and pig production ||Ninth |
|Oats ||Ninth |
|Cabbage ||Tenth |
|Strawberries ||Tenth |
Ohio’s national rank in agriculture facilities
|Operations with hogs ||Third |
|Operations with sheep ||Fourth |
|Livestock slaughter plants ||Fourth |
|Operations with milk cattle ||Fifth |
|Dairy plants ||Sixth |
|Number of farms ||Ninth |