1st In A Series
BY MILTON W. ORR
UT EXTENSION/GREENE COUNTY
Livestock production is a time-honored tradition in Greene County.
The local farmers' rich history of growing and marketing livestock is evidenced by Greene County's ranking first out of Tennessee's 95 counties in beef production.
When dairy cattle numbers are added to the beef numbers, Greene County also ranks first in the state in the total number of cattle and calves on farms.
With more than 84,000 cattle and calves in the county, farmers reap an annual income of nearly $34 million from this one enterprise. Other livestock enterprises also contribute substantially to the county's agricultural economy.
The annual sale of dairy products -- milk, cream, cheese, etc. -- is nearly $14 million.
Poultry production has also become a valued livestock asset in recent years. Over 15.5 million broilers are grown and marketed annually with a value of $34.5 million.
Other traditional livestock numbers include 883 swine, 5,500 sheep and lambs, and 4,456 horses. Goats and aquaculture have also added valuable income on some farms.
These smaller enterprises contribute another $930,000 to the county's annual agricultural income.
Some Greene County farmers are also embracing production of more of the non-traditional animals. Recent figures show measurable production of bison, deer, llamas, mules, burros, donkeys, and rabbits.
With a total farm income of $84 million from the combined livestock enterprises, it is easy to see that livestock production is a major industry for Greene County.
But the total impact on the county's overall economy is even greater because of the non-farm goods and services used by farmers for producing and marketing their farm products.
Economists regularly use a multiplier effect of five to seven dollars of benefit to the total business economy for every one dollar of farm gate income.
When an average multiplier value of six is calculated for the county's livestock industry, the overall contribution to the farm and business economy of Greene County is more than $504 million annually.
Agriculture, especially livestock production, is an integral part of our heritage. It is also a viable part of the future in Greene County.
Cutline for Livestock Pix-Monday, 3-18
Calves (such as the animal shown in the foreground in this picture) and mature cows grazing abundant grass forage are a familiar scene on farms throughout the local area. There are more than 84,000 cattle and calves on Greene county farms. The sale of cattle and calves accounts for nearly $34 million of the total $84 million annual livestock income received by Greene County farmers.