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Hanover’s Perspective

Agri-tourism in Hanover County is Growing: USDA 2022 Census Data

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) announced the results of the 2022 Census of Agriculture on February 13, 2024, spanning more than 6 million data points, down to the County level, concerning America’s farms and ranches and the people who operate them. Conducted every five years, ag census data provide valuable insights into demographics, economics, land use and activities on U.S. farms and ranches.

While the information collected directly from producers shows a continued decline in the total number of U.S. farms, the data also show a rise in the number of new and beginning (operating 10 or fewer years on any farm) as well as young (under the age of 35) producers.

In Hanover County, an increasing number of working farms are inviting visitors to enjoy hayrides, pick and buy their produce, attend festivals and events, and hold weddings and parties. These agricultural tourism offerings allow visitors to enjoy, be educated, or be actively involved in the activities of the farm or operation – getting a true farm experience!  Agri-tourism also allows farmers to supplement income earned from traditional farming, allowing them to continue to keep long-term farms profitable and in family ownership.  The 2022 Ag Census reported that the number of farms deriving income from agri-tourism and recreational services in Hanover County has increased 189% from 9 farms in 2017 to 26 farms in 2022 with income skyrocketing 970% from $64,000 in 2017 to $685,000 in 2022.

The nationwide response rate for the 2022 Census of Agriculture was 61% with more than 40% of responses submitted online. Some of the key findings reported from the 2022 Census include:

United States:

  • 1.9 million farms and ranches (down 7% from 2017) with an average size of 463 acres (up 5%) on 880 million acres of farmland (down 2%). That is 39% of all U.S. land.
  • The total number of producers decreased slightly between 2017 and 2022, from 3.4 million to 3.37 million.  The number of farms with less than three producers has declined, while the number of farms with three or more producers has increased.


  • 38,995 farms (down 11% from 2017) with an average size of 187 acres (up 4%) on 7,309,687 acres of farmland (down 7%).
  • Virginia’s percentage of the total U.S. agriculture sales is 1% totaling more than $5 billion.
  • The total number of producers in Virginia has decreased slightly between 2017 and 2022, from 70,594 to 67,798.

Hanover County:

  • Following nationwide and State trends, the Census reports a 10% decrease in the number of farms since 2017 with 512 active farms counted in 2022. Hanover farms comprise an average size of 179 acres (up 14%) on 94,864 acres of farmland (increase 3%).  That is 21.5% of Hanover County’s total 301,000 acres.
  • Hanover County represents 1% of Virginia’s total agriculture, totaling nearly $64 million and placing Hanover 20th from 98 producing counties in Virginia.
  • Net cash farm income has increased 100% from $6.75 million in 2017 to $13.5 million in 2022.
  • The total number of producers in Hanover has decreased slightly between 2017 and 2022, from 898 to 876.

The full Census of Agriculture report as well as additional ag census data publications and databases can be found at Ag census data can also be found in NASS’s searchable online database, Quick Stats.

2022 Census of Agriculture State and County Profiles:

Other resources:

The Economic Impact of the Agriculture and Forest Industries In Virginia (2021)
University of Virginia | Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service | Published November 2022

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

For a listing of ag-tourism based businesses in Hanover County, visit the following categories in the Here In Hanover, VA app:  Farms/Produce Markets/Garden CentersBreweries/Wineries/Distilleries and Community Centers & Event Spaces.