BOUNTIFUL — Farming is till a part of life in Davis County.
That’s in spite of the ongoing construction of more homes and businesses throughout the county, putting the county’s population at more than 320,000 residents.
The recently-released 2012 Farm Census, conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, indicates that there were 493 farms operating in the county as of that year.
Reflective of greater urbanization, the former “fruit basket” of the state now is dominated by mostly smaller farms, or those covering from one to nine acres.
The breakdown of farms by size shows 243 in that smallest category, 151 of between 10 and 49 acres, 56 from 50 to 179 acres, and 31 from 180 to 499 acres.
Nine farms fall in the 500 to 999 acre range and three farms cover 1,000 acres or more.
The total acreage in farms stood at 55,017 acres, or the equivalent of more than 80 square miles, or about one-fourth of the county’s land area.
The average farm covers 112 acres, and has an estimated market value of lands and buildings of $723,596, averaging $6,484 per acre.
While the average value of markets and buildings is below the state average of $888,886, but the average value per acre is only $1,460, or less than one-fourth the more intensive farming typical in Davis County, the census indicated.
The estimated market value of machinery and equipment is $32.9 million countywide, averaging $66,773 per farm.
Total land in crops on 305 farms totaled 12,960 acres, or just under one-third of the total. Harvested cropland took place on 292 farms, totaling 11,965 acres. Irrigation took place on three-fourths of the county’s farms, or 349, covering 13,809 acres.
The market value of agricultural products came to $36,760,000, averaging $74,564 per farm. Most of that market value came in “truck” type farms, producing nursery and greenhouse crops. That yield was worth nearly $31.6 million while livestock, poultry and other products came to $5.2 million.
Most farms, 224, saw sales value of less than $3,500. Only 41 showed sales of more than $100,000.
It’s not cheap to produce those cherries or other crops, the census showed. Production costs were $32.1 million, averaging $65,158 per farm.
One-third of farmers, or 162, listed that occupation as their primary occupation while 331 listed other occupation as their primary job.
Put another way, 338 listed working on the farm for any period while 259 said they spent 200 day or more in farm-related work.
You can still find plenty of farms with cattle and calves, totaling 174 farms and 3,206 calves and cattle. Some 122 farms had beef cows, totaling 1,963, and seven farms had milk cows, which only totaled nine. There were 110 farms with 2,067 cattle and calves, 54 farms boasting 54 hogs and pigs, 31 with 606 sheep and lambs, and 76 with layers (chickens), totaling 3,000.
Crops harvested included 11 farms harvesting grain on 974 acres, producing 172,717 bushels; 11 produced corn for silage or greenchop, on 505 acres, an 12,270 tons. There were 26 farms producing what on 1,175 acres yielding 116,559 bushels.
Utah listed 18,027 farms, an actual increase over 50 years ago. Some $1.8 billion in products were produced in 2012, averaging $84,537 per farm.