Dallam and Hartley Counties rank in top 500 best places in U.S. to farm
By Bailey Naugle
An article featured in the April issue of Farm Futures magazine revealed which counties throughout the United States are best suited for farming based on financial performance. Both Dallam and Hartley Counties were impressively ranked within the top 500 best places to farm.
To determine the rankings, Farm Futures evaluated agricultural census data regarding return on assets, profit margin, asset turnover and average net income over a 20 year period which ended in 2007. “Counties were ranked by all four factors, with the average determining the final position on the list.” [Bryce Knorr (2009, April). Farm Futures: Best places to farm]
The map accompanying the article shows that the strongest concentration of top 500 counties stretches from the Texas Panhandle up through the Dakotas.
This trend is chiefly due to the large number of livestock feeding operations throughout the area which utilize a large portion of the corn grown in the United States.
Lanny Bezner’s operation, 3-B Farms near Dalhart, produces corn, wheat, alfalfa and raises and feeds cattle. He explained that livestock feeding and irrigated agriculture go hand in hand.
“Irrigated agriculture is the engine that makes this car run,” he said. “The way we look at it is the feedlots are here because irrigated agriculture is here, and vice-versa.”
He explained, “The feedlots can get the feed products they need here locally. It is like the Exxon refineries being on the Gulf Coast because that is where the oil is.”
Virginia Bezner, also of 3-B Farms, sees the recognition by Farm Futures as a gauge of just how much agriculture means in the day to day life of area residents. “I think this is a strong indication that irrigated agriculture is the backbone of our local economy, and we all should do all we can to protect that,” she said.
To view the article, Best places to farm, in full and for additional information on the study visit www.FarmFutures.com.