Anderson County historically has been a community with a pronounced agricultural character and remains so to this day despite significant expansion of its manufacturing sector and an estimated 10% population increase over the last decade.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there are more than 1,700 farms located within our borders. Anderson consistently leads all South Carolina counties in number of cattle as well as total market value of cattle and calves sold, boasting almost $13.6 million in product sales as of the 2017 USDA Census of Agriculture. An inventory of cattle and calves on farms by the USDA NASS in 2020 estimated that there are approximately 35,500 head in Anderson County—more than half again as much as second-place Newberry and Saluda counties (23,000 each). Anderson ranks second in South Carolina with regard to number and market value of sheep, goats, and associated products (wool, mohair, milk). The USDA says we have an inventory consisting of more than 2.2 million broiler and meat-type chickens as well as 3,060 horses and ponies.
The 1,742 farms in Anderson County comprise 183,718 acres, with an average farms size of 105 acres. Almost 55% of farms in Anderson County are under 50 acres in size. The total market value of all Anderson County agricultural products sold in 2017 totaled $75,157,000—an increase of 20% from the total market value recorded in 2012.
Like Anderson, its nine adjacent counties continue by and large to maintain their identities as traditional agricultural communities. All combined, Anderson, the five South Carolina counties that adjoin it, and the four neighboring counties right across Lake Hartwell in Georgia accounted for more than $1.1 billion in market value of agricultural products as of the 2017 USDA Census of Agriculture—an increase throughout the region of more than 15% versus 2012.
Just to the northwest– Oconee County—leads all South Carolina counties in market value of combined livestock, poultry, and products with just short of $155 million in sales as of 2017. Over in Georgia, Franklin County has a very significant agricultural base. Franklin leads Georgia with more than $370 million in market value of combined livestock, poultry, and products as of 2017.