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Ohio Agriculture

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 19th 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 20th Century, competition from other states reduced the prices Ohio farmers received for their crops. As technology has helped Ohio’s service and industrial sectors grow, the Buckeye State has remained 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):

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