Did you know Clinton County has nearly 600 farms? That was the last count from the 2012 census, which also revealed that 223,428 acres is designated as farm land in Clinton County, or an average of 374 acres per farm. That means 86.2 percent of the land area in the county is used for agricultural production!
Of course that stat may not surprise you if you regularly drive around the county and see the vast fields of soybeans and corn, most of which should easily hit the “knee-high by the 4th of July” mark after all the rain and heat we got this past week.
Farming doesn’t look like just one thing for farmers in Clinton County, however. True, corn and soybeans are the predominant crops. In fact, in 2015, 111,000 acres were planted in corn (Clinton County ranks 8th in the state for corn production) and 101,500 acres in soybeans (Clinton County ranks 11th in the state for soybeans).
But did you know that hogs outnumber people more than 5-to-1 in Clinton County? As of the 2012 census, there were 174,185 hogs across 55 farms in the county, compared to a mere 32,986 people. Other farm animals have significantly lower populations: 1,584 cows and calves; 638 sheep and lambs; 265 goats; and an unknown number of chickens, turkeys, ducks, and other domestic poultry.
Of course the number of honey bees might outnumber them all, with seven farms hosting 80 colonies of bees. With as many as 80,000 bees per colony, that could mean more than 6.4 million honey bees are hard at work in Clinton County. In 2012, they produced more than 2,622 pounds of honey.
If you prefer maple syrup to honey, you’re also in luck. But you might need an insider connection if you want in on the Clinton County maple syrup action, as there were only 120 taps on 3 farms in 2012 producing 36 gallons of syrup.
There also are a number of farms growing edible fruits and vegetables in the county, not counting the garden in your backyard or the potted tomato plant on your patio. In 2012, seven farms covering 18 acres grew vegetables, potatoes, and melons to take to fresh market.
While the number of farms in Clinton County has decreased in recent years — from 2007 to 2012, Clinton County lost 14 percent of its farms, and 12 percent of its farming land — agriculture continues to be a big economic driver. In that same five-year period, the market value of agricultural products grown in Clinton County increased by 44 percent, for a total $251 million each year.
And that’s no hill of beans.