The family farm is an American ideal, based on the premise that with a little land and lots of hard work, a family can raise enough food for their own needs, plus more for the nearby community and support themselves through good times and bad. The landscape of Bedford County is defined by these family farms, many of which continue to produce crops, fruits, dairy and animals of all kinds. The most recent Agricultural Census, in 2017, found that in Bedford County we are losing nearly 1% of our farms each year, but the remaining farms are getting larger, with the average size for an operational farm rising to 192 acres. The small family farm of yesteryear is giving way to larger and more specialized farms. Helping to prepare the next generation of farmers for tomorrow’s challenges, Bedford County has three active FFA (Future Farmers of America) chapters. To be successful in agriculture today, farmers need to be marketers in addition to all of the other hats they wear. Ten percent of our farms sell directly to the consumer, 26% hire additional farm labor, and nearly 70% have internet access. Several Bedford County farms are national leaders within their niche markets. From blackberries to apples, local fruit growers have made Bedford County one of the top five counties for production in the state. Dairy continues to be very strong, as does sheep, hog and crop farming.