As agriculture is limited by Dickenson County’s steep terrain, mining is the county’s principal industry. Approximately 84% of the county’s area is woodland, of which 8,768 acres is in the Jefferson National Forest. For that reason, the lumber industry is also an integral part of the county’s economy.
Dickenson County agriculture consists of small scale part-time producers who have other employment or are retired. According to the 1987 Census, Dickenson County reported 120 farms with approximately 10,000 acres. The 2002 Census reported 117 farms with 11,761 acres of land. The majority of these farms are on upland soils located along the tops of ridges in the county. Some tobacco crops and forage are produced in bottom land near rivers and streams. The enterprises consist of beef cattle, forage crops, tobacco and vegetable gardening activities. Additional horticultural crops are grown on a limited scale. These include apples and vegetable production that is marketed locally.
There are an estimated 800 head of horses, primarily used for entertainment purposes such as trail riding and horse shows. There are approximately 200 head of sheep and a limited number of hogs. There is a growing interest in the production of goats. Goats are primarily being used for brush control around farms. It is estimated that there are 500 head of goats in Dickenson County. Beef production has increased in the county during the last twenty years. It is estimated that Dickenson County has 2,000 cows and calves.
For more information, contact the Virginia Cooperative Extension office.