Agriculture

Northampton County is a Growing Community

Agriculture Stats for Northampton County
Please click on the infographic for a larger view and ADA Accessible PDF version. 

 




Tractor and seagulls
Seagulls follow in the wake of the disc harrow, a typical scene during spring planting in Northampton County.  
Photo credit: Richard Wiseman 



Prime Farmland

Northampton County, Virginia is cradled between the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Chesapeake Bay to the west. This ancient peninsula teems with abundance. It is the place where fertile farmland meets the ocean. The climate of Northampton County is classified as temperate with mild winters and warm, humid summers. Latitude, topography, prevailing winds, and the proximity to the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean all exert an influence on the climate. The mild climate allows for bumper crops and second sowing of plants throughout the growing season.

Wheat Field and sunriseLarge farm operations produce grains such as wheat, corn and sorghum. Wheat straw is baled to be shipped to mushroom houses in the north or used for animal bedding. Hay is harvested for fodder. Fields are rotated for optimal health and planted over with cover crops or a successive crop of soybeans. Potatoes, cotton and tomatoes round out large scale farm production.

Small farms are a cornucopia of vegetables and fruits. Animal husbandry is also a way of life around the farm. Chickens, cows, goats, horses, pigs, sheep, llamas and honeybees are part of the pastoral setting.

There is even salt making in Northampton County!

Photo credit: Helene Doughty

 

Northampton County Ranks # 2 in Virginia for Total Market Value of Crops

7th in the Nation for Tomato Production

5th Largest County for Nursery Horticulture 

4th in Virginia for Soybean Production

80% of Virginia's Total Potato Crop  

#1 in Virginia for Wheat Production

C & E Farms, Largest Fresh Market Green Bean Production in U.S.




The bounty all begins with the soil. Northampton County is well-endowed with excellent soils for agriculture. Those soils present in the County that are well suited to agriculture are the upland soils of Bojac and Munden, or in other words, loam.

Loam soils have a number of benefits and advantages.

• They have more humus (the organic component of the soil) 
• The hold more moisture and nutrients.
• They have better drainage.
• Loamy soils have better infiltration of water and air.
• Loam soils are a better habitat for beneficial microorganisms

Northampton County is considered Prime Farmland. “Prime farmland, as defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is land that has the best combination of physical and chemical characteristics for producing food, feed, forage, fiber, and oilseed crops and is available for these uses. It could be cultivated land, pastureland, forestland, or other land, but it is not urban or built-up land or water areas. 

Soybeans and dew
Soybeans and early morning dew. Photo credit: Helene Doughty

The soil quality, growing season, and moisture supply are those needed for the soil to economically produce sustained high yields of crops when proper management, including water management, and acceptable farming methods are applied… 
In total, about 75% of the land in the Northampton County is classified as Prime Farmland.” 

(Northampton County Comprehensive Plan) 



 



Agriculture is a vital part of Northampton County, Va.'s economy and culture. Video Courtesy Virginia Farm Bureau.