Agriculture - A signification portion of local economy
Matagorda County has a history rich in agricultural commerce. Our farming history continues today with the production of large quantities of rice, sorghum, cotton, corn and turf grass. As well as cattle and other livestock crops. Matagorda County is home to nearly 800 farms. Almost 250,000 acres of Matagorda County is in agricultural production. Our local agriculture industry grossed nearly $131 million in 2010.
Rice has been a mainstay of the Colorado, Matagorda, Jackson and Wharton County economies since the early 1900s. Rice income accounts for $135 million in the tri-county area. However, lack of profitability due to drought is placing financial stress on both the infrastructure and farming community. Acreage has declined approximately 30% in recent years creating negative impacts on the local economy in general. In response to challenging economic conditions and changes in land ownership patterns, rice farmers are diversifying their operations through entrepreneurial pursuits ‐ new enterprises, value‐added, niche marketing, etc.
Beef production continues to be an important part of the Matagorda County economy. The sale of beef cattle brings in over $23 million annually to the beef producers. The majority of the beef operations in Matagorda County are cow/calf related and produce weaned feeder calves to the market.
Row crop production, including cotton, grain, sorghum, corn, soybeans and other specialty crops continues to be a major economic driver in Matagorda County, account for $60 million in annual income to county producers.
-Developed by Brent Batchelor County Extension Agent Agriculture – Natural Resources, Matagorda County
Matagorda County Agriculture at a Glance:
Average size of farms: 625 acres
Average value of agricultural products sold per farm: $116,781
Average value of crops sold per acre for harvested cropland: $643.15
The value of nursery, greenhouse, floriculture, and sod as a percentage of the total market value of agricultural products sold: 52.53%
The value of livestock, poultry, and their products as a percentage of the total market value of agricultural products sold: 24.53%
Average total farm production expenses per farm: $111,510
Harvested cropland as a percentage of land in farms: 21.94%
Irrigated harvested cropland as a percentage of land in farms: 30.53%
Average market value of all machinery and equipment per farm: $68,272
The percentage of farms operated by a family or individual: 89.10%
Average age of principal farm operators: 55 years
Average number of cattle and calves per 100 acres of all land in farms: 13.53
Milk cows as a percentage of all cattle and calves: 0.13%
Corn for grain: 7708 harvested acres
Upland cotton: 27156 harvested acres
Soybeans for beans: 8811 harvested acres
Land in orchards: 2,102 acres