Chapter II: Production
According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Pennsylvania producers harvested over 66,000 acres of horticultural crops in 2015.
Christmas trees may be grown in many areas of Pennsylvania however; you will need to absorb the input costs for at least seven years before seeing a return on your investment.
Greenhouses are becoming popular among producers who wish to add additional income from a small area of their farm. Greenhouse production may be year-around and can provide valuable cash flow throughout the year.
Small-scale vegetable production has increased over the past ten years due in part to the demand for local products and healthier eating patterns.
The green industry in Pennsylvania (PA) consists of four main categories, landscaping, ornamentals, floriculture, and turf and each has unique markets and strengths. These industries consist of both retail and wholesale marketing opportunities in all categories.
The term “small fruit” includes many of the berry crops such as blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries among others.
Before planting your first fruit tree, you should conduct your own research regarding production, marketing, and financing the enterprise.
Many associations pass along information and research results that greatly benefit the members. An affiliation with some trade organizations may also provide discounts for supplies and possibly insurance products.
Creating pro-forma budgets will assist your decisions as to which crops you produce and creating actual budgets after harvest will help analyze where changes are needed.
Agronomic crops in Pennsylvania have several uses including dairy and livestock feed and for sale.
Grain crops may be fed or sold although most forage crops are stored and used on farm for feed.
Weeds are considered pests as they can compete with the crop for soil moisture and nutrients.
Your soils and soil structure may determine the crops you can produce.
How you market your crops may determine if you are profitable or seeking outside funding to continue in business.
3. Livestock and Poultry
Dairy is the largest agricultural industry in Pennsylvania as determined by value of sales. Whether you have plans to produce fluid milk for sale to a cooperative or to process and direct market your own fluid milk and/or dairy products, producing high quality milk is essential.