Ag Info Sheets

These data sheets cover a variety of agricultural topics to assess agriculture's contribution to Chester County's economy and landscape. We receive data assistance from representatives from the Brandywine Conservancy, Chester County Conservation District, Chester County Economic Development Council, Chester County Open Space Department, Chester/Delaware Farm Bureau, New Bolton Center, Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA), Penn State Cooperative Extension, and USDA Farm Service Agency.

Maintaining Ag Friendly Municipalities

January 2023

Ag Friendly PhotoAgriculture is always adapting to current trends, adopting technology, and embracing environmental practices; all redefining how food, fuel and fiber are produced. Learn how and why municipalities should support Chester County's top industry.

View the Info Sheet.

Agriculture in Developed Communities

December 2022

Developed Communities PhotoChester County's strong agricultural industry is usually associated with the county's rural and farming communities, but food production can also thrive in developed areas, as either a business, as an accessory use to residential properties, or as a related use, like a farmers' market. With more public interest in local food, many developed municipalities are fielding more requests for agricultural uses and businesses.

View the Info Sheet.

Introduction to Agriculture for Municipal Officials

October 2022

Dairy Info Sheet PhotoChester County agriculture is changing. Small, more urban farms based on direct-to-consumer sales are becoming more feasible alongside increasing residential development. While it can be a challenge for municipal officials to know how to regulate accessory uses related to agricultural operations, it is important to understand that many farmers today rely upon revenue from additional uses to stay in business and bring in future farming generations. Many farmers have significant interest in providing agritainment (fun on the farm) opportunities for customers such as pick-your-own opportunities, winery tasting rooms and creameries.

View the Info Sheet.

Dairy Info Sheet

November 2021

Dairy Info Sheet PhotoDairy is one of Pennsylvania's largest agricultural industries (and PA ranks 6th in the nation for dairy) with value of sales estimating almost $2 billion (USDA Milk Production, Feb. 2020, 2017 Ag Census). Chester County farms rank fifth in dairy revenue generation in Pennsylvania with at total farm revenue in 2017 of approximately $83 million, representing about 12% of the value of total agricultural products sold in the County (2017 Ag Census).

View the Dairy Info Sheet.

Mushroom Info Sheet

September 2021

Info Sheet PhotoChester County is the Mushroom Capital of the world and mushrooms are the top vegetable crop in the county. The over 50 mushroom farms located here cultivate about 11.2 million square feet of growing space annually (2019-2020 Mushroom Crop Report, NASS).

View the Mushroom Info Sheet.

Ag Census Info Sheet

February 2019

Ag Census Info Sheet PhotoChester County's agricultural industry is very strong ranking 2nd among all 67 Pennsylvania counties (ranking 53rd of over 3,000 counties in the U.S.) in the total value of agricultural products sold with annual sales of $712,468,000. In addition, Chester County ranked 18th of over 3,000 counties in the U.S. in value of agricultural products sold per acre of land in farms with a value per acre of $4,733.00.

Mushroom, field crops and dairy production remain our top sectors, but we have incredible diversity of agricultural operations including nursery and greenhouse, equine, vegetable, fruits and tree nuts, Christmas trees, livestock and egg and poultry. Our fastest growing segment of agriculture is organic production with a 296 percent increase from 2012 ($11,801,000 to $43,625,000).

View the 2017 Ag Census Info Sheet.

Equine Info Sheet

September 2020

Equine Info Sheet PhotoChester County is home to a vibrant, diverse equine community that significantly shapes our sense of place and contributes to our local economy. People of all skill levels participate in equine activities, and non-riders can partake as well by attending many fun, family-friendly events throughout the year.

View the Equine Info Sheet.

ACRE Info Sheet

August 2020

ACRE Info Sheet PhotoAs with any relationship, communication is key. It would be great for municipal officials and agricultural producers to work together to support the agricultural industry, but that doesn't always happen. Here are some practical considerations for both municipal officials and producers to foster successful relationships, encourage an environment in which agriculture can thrive, and ACRE challenges can be avoided.

View the ACRE Info Sheet.

Backyard Poultry Info Sheet

February 2018

Chicken Info SheetSmall-scale, non-commercial raising of chickens and other fowl is an increasingly popular activity. For zoning purposes, backyard chicken keeping is considered a residential accessory use and does not meet the definition of agriculture required for ACRE and the Right to Farm Act. Homeowners need to follow certain steps to ensure a positive experience for themselves, their neighbors, and their flock. Check out our Backyard Chicken Keeping eTool for information on how municipalities can address community concerns with this practice.

View the Backyard Poultry Info Sheet.

Field Crops Info Sheet

March 2022

Field Crop Info Sheet PhotoGrowing field crops is a significant land use that helps maintain the underpinnings of our agricultural industry. Crops in Chester County are generally grown for the purpose of producing animal feed, but they support and are used in other agricultural sectors, such as the mushroom and equine industries, as well.

View the Field Crops in Chester County Info Sheet.