Latest Census Shows Agriculture Boosts Sedgwick County Economy

Oct 11, 2019

Credit COURTESY: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Agriculture businesses in Sedgwick County contributed around $1.85 billion to the economy in 2017.

According to the state’s latest agricultural census from 2017, the most recent data available, there were 1,360 farms in Sedgwick County.

Farm-related and agricultural jobs employed 6,720 people in the county.

The 2017 census shows commodity sales, which includes crops and livestock, were about $118.9 million for Sedgwick County. Statewide, commodity sales were about $18.8 billion.

In Kansas, agriculture had an economic impact of more than $65 billion, the census said. The industry supports more than 245,000 jobs statewide.

In Sedgwick County, the census showed a decline in agricultural jobs from 2016. That year, there were around 6,800 agricultural jobs.

“Nationally and across Kansas, the number of farms are going down and those farms are getting larger,” said Peter Oppelt, an economist with the Kansas Department of Agriculture.

Oppelt says farmers face many difficulties, so they have to think smart.

“It costs more to produce a crop, so a farmer has to be much more efficient with a crop and then there’s uncertainty how much money they’ll get for that crop and where it will go,” he said.

Oppelt said farmers are affected by other variables, including export markets, weather and the price they pay for supplies.

Oppelt said agriculture plays a huge role in Kansas and not many large industries can say the same.

“The entire state is effected by agriculture; even at the county level just kind of shows how broad of an impact it has on Kansas,” he said.

For additional information, go to Census of Agriculture Overview of Sedgwick County 2017.

Suzette Sponsel is an intern in the KMUW News Lab.