Can YOU Help Solve the Case of the Missing Pumpkin?

pumpkinPumpkins are a beloved fall crop ushering in all kinds of festive activities such as hayrides, fall festivals and agritainment events at local farms. When you include Halloween and Thanksgiving holidays into the mix, this iconic orb gets plenty of exposure across the state and provides much needed revenue when most other field vegetables are winding down.

But Ohio’s slice of the pumpkin pie has dramatically shrunk in recent years. From 2011-2015, acres planted averaged 6,680 compared to 2016-19 with an average of 3,840 A planted, a 42.3% loss in acres planted and production value according to the Ohio Annual Statistics Bulletin from 2011-20 (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Pumpkin statistics from 2011-2020.

So the question becomes, what caused the loss of nearly 3,000 acres of pumpkin in production years 2016-20? People I have asked about this offer explanations such as Ohio growers are increasingly importing cheap and widely available pumpkin fruit from other states or abroad, saving on production costs. I have also heard that growers may not be reporting their pumpkin acres accurately or at all on National Ag Statistic Surveys which could account for the drop in reported acreage, but likely not so much from 2015 to 2016-2020. Was there a market shift due to buyer demands or Food Quality and Protection Act leading to a mass exodus of growers, again not known.

If YOU have an idea for the loss of 3,000 A of pumpkins from Ohio production, please feel free to share it with me at or call me at 937-772-6014.

If you prefer to leave a written comment of any length, here is an anonymous link where you cannot be identified if that is a concern you have.

If any production issues are mentioned, I’ll be sure to follow up with additional articles in the VegNet Blog to address these.

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