Old tractor in a fieldNorthumberland County partners with the local agriculture community to educate, advocate and promote agriculture as an economic driver in Northumberland.

About farmland in Northumberland

Northumberland County is known for having high quality farmland.

  • Over 31% (146,296 acres) of the land in the County is protected agricultural land, of which 67% is considered prime agricultural land (between soil classes 1 and 3).
  • Over 28% of County’s agricultural land is identified as Class 1 soils with no significant limitations for growing crops.

As of 2021, the total number of farms in Northumberland rests at 840 and amounts to 1.7% of the provincial total. The total amount of acres used for crops is 149,301 and the total area of farm use land is 203,446 acres.

What does land in Northumberland offer?

The rich soil located in Northumberland makes up a large portion of the county land base, optimal for agricultural use. One of the defining characteristics of the area is the Oak Ridges Moraine. The Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing describes the Moraine as a unique concentration of  environmental, geological and hydrological features that make its ecosystem vital to south-central Ontario, including:

  • prime agricultural areas; 
  • clean and abundant water resources;
  • healthy and diverse plant and animal habitat; and
  • an attractive and distinct landscape.

What do Northumberland farms produce?

Northumberland produces approximately 3.0% of the province’s mixed grains, 2.5% of the province’s alfalfa, and 1.8% of Ontario oats. With heat units ranging from 2900 in the south end to 2700 on the northern edge, Northumberland farmers enjoy an ideal climate for dozens of crops:

  • Apple production in Northumberland makes up 4.8% of the provincial acreage.
  • Strawberry production accounts for 1.2% of the provincial total.
  • Of a total of 840 farms in Northumberland, beef cattle ranching and farming accounts for 195 farms and 2.4% of the provincial total and is up 30% since 2016.
  • Dairy farming accounts for one of the largest revenue sources at $34.8 million in 2021 with corn and soybean close behind at $33.2m and $24.4m respectively.
  • Northumberland County continues to show a strong number of honeybee farms with 38 reported in 2021.

Northumberland’s farmer crop rotation practices ensure annual variability in the major field crops identified in the county. Soybean is a major field crop in Northumberland County, harvested from a total of 40,106 acres of farmland in 2021. Hay is a close second in major field crops, with 38,200 acres planted in 2021.  Winter wheat which accounts for 19,453 acres in 2021 is up 21.9% since 2016.

What agri-food and business supports are available?

Northumberland County also offers agri-food and business services including food processing and packaging services at the Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre and business support from the Business & Entrepreneurship Centre Northumberland.