Loudoun's Rural Economic Engine
Loudoun’s farms and rural businesses are a vital
and essential component of the County’s total economy.
• Loudoun’s 1, 516 farms sold $38.7 million worth of products in
2002 — a 39% increase from five years earlier.
• Loudoun's "direct market" farm crops - crops that are edible,
such as fruits and vegetables - saw a 70% increase in gross sales from 2001 to
2003, as reported by the Loudoun County Dept. of Economic Development.
• Among all Virginia counties, Loudoun farms rank:
#1 in sales of horses
#3 in sales of Christmas trees
#4 in sales of hay
#2 in acres of planted wine grapes
- Brought in $2.9 million in 2004 to the County government just in tourism
taxes collected—and hundreds of millions to Loudoun’s tourism-related
businesses. This tourism depends largely on Loudoun's unique historic, cultural,
and rural features.
- Some 12,000 visitors came to Loudoun farms during 2003's Annual Spring
and Fall farm tours.
- Loudoun's equine services industry alone generates $80 million per year
and employs 2,480 people in Loudoun County.
- The county is home to approximately 20,000 horses, more than any other
Virginia county. Their value? More than $294 million.
VINEYARDS & WINERIES
- Loudoun's wine industry is expanding rapidly and the number of independent
grape growers is on the rise.
- In 2003, Loudoun's ten licensed wineries produced about 81,000 gallons
of wine (worth $7-8 million). The county is now home to 12 wineries.
- Loudoun vineyards can generate an annual net income of up to $5,000/acre.
- The tonnage of grapes produced in Loudoun have increased by over 200%
in the past 5 years.
- Loudoun is one of the top 10 cattle producing counties in Virginia,
and maintains a herd of 34,000 head.
- Loudoun is home to 6 alpaca farms and an estimated 40 sheep farms.
- The number of sheep in Loudoun increased by 16% from 2002 to 2003. The
latest figures available from the U.S. Census of Agriculture estimate 1,400 head
in the county. With a growing ethnic population in the Washington DC area, demand
for lamb and goat is increasing.
CHRISTMAS TREES & NURSERY PLANTS
- Loudoun is home to 22 Christmas tree farms and 7 other holiday floral product
- Loudoun's Christmas tree industry produces approximately $800,000 in annual
- "Unsatisfied demand for local trees exceeds $2 million per year.....unsatisfied
demand exists for all forms of ornamental horticulture." (Loudoun Rural Economic
BUSINESSES SUPPORTING THE RURAL ECONOMY
- Loudoun's rural economy includes a variety of businesses that support
- In 2003, "sales at the two major tractor dealers [in Loudoun County]
were up substantially over 2002 - a year which included drought conditions.
...Custom equiment operators are finding their services in considerable demand....
Many landowners vitally need custom operators to keep their places in production."
(Loudoun Rural Economic Development Council)
- Direct marketing is the sale of farm produce directly to the consumer.
Loudoun's farmers sell directly to DC metro area residents through farmers markets,
u-pick operations, and CSAs. Loudoun produce is also in high demand at area
restaurants and grocery stores, such as Wegman's.
- Direct marketing is one of Loudoun’s fastest growing farm sectors.
- Direct marketing connects Western Loudoun’s fresh, locally grown
products to consumers in Eastern Loudoun and other nearby suburban and urban areas.
U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2002 Census of Agriculture: County Profile,
2001 Virginia Equine Report, Virginia Agricultural Statistics Service
"About Us", Loudoun Wine Growers Association; www.loudounwine.com.
2003 Annual Report, Loudoun Rural Economic Development Council; http://www.loudounfarms.org/FileLib/Final%202003%20REDC%20Annual%20Report.pdf.
"Market Opportunities for Loudoun Fruit & Vegetable Growers,"
Loudoun County Department of Economic Development, http://www.loudounfarms.org/FileLib/Market%20Opportunities%20Report.pdf.