Jefferson County, West Virginia Agribusiness History
Agriculture has been a part of Jefferson County’s social and economic history for more than 300 years. Our farms support a diversified economy, buy goods and services from local businesses, and employ local residents. Approximately 48 percent or nearly 67,000 acres of Jefferson County is farmland. With the second largest amount of agriculturally productive land in West Virginia, Jefferson County has more than 500 farms, of which 90 percent are family owned. Jefferson County ranks first in the state in the production of corn with more than 1.6 million bushels, soybeans with more than 620,000 bushels, and wheat with more than 330,000 bushels. The County also ranks in the top 10 counties in the state in several livestock categories including cattle/calves totaling more than 14,000, hogs totaling more than 470, and goats totaling more than 640.
Farmers’ Markets in Jefferson County
Farmers’ markets continue to thrive, and the market value of agriculture-related products is an impressive $35 million, the sixth largest in the state. Business owners and employees, along with local residents and visitors, can find and enjoy the delicious results of farming in and around Jefferson County at several local farmers’ markets. The Charles Town Farmers Market operates mid-April to late-October each Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon. Several locations of the Shepherdstown Farmers Market are open seasonally on different days of the week and at different times, and other markets such as the Morgan’s Grove Market are open year-round. A new addition is the Bolivar Farmers’ Market that operates on Tuesdays from 3-7 p.m. You can find out more about the specific dates and contact information for local farmer’s markets here.
Agricultural Land Protection
Protecting agricultural land is the responsibility of the Jefferson County Farmland Protection Board, which assists the farming community by placing agricultural land under conservation easements in perpetuity. The board is funded by Jefferson County’s real estate transfer tax. To date, landowners of 48 farms have joined with the Farmland Protection Board to protect 5,455 acres. The Board is actively working to incorporate an additional 854 acres across four properties into the county’s farmland protection program.