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In the woods · On the farm · By the water
Farms and land in Bedford County are favorites with investors, developers, sportsmen and manufacturers. Bedford County land encompasses 769 square miles and is located in the Piedmont region of the state. The population of 78,747 has historically depended on agriculture, but the county has been attracting manufacturing and has become a bedroom community serving nearby Lynchburg, Roanoke and Smith Mountain Lake. Tourism has been growing as has retail to support it. Farmland includes 211,087 acres, and livestock and poultry account for 68% of agricultural sales. Woodlands are 29% of farmland and provide good lumbering opportunities. The largest private employers are Barr Laboratories, Mail America Communications and Sam Moore Furniture LLC. Middle Fork Little Otter, Fiddler, Mooman and Rocky Branch creeks are fishermen’s choices for fly fishing. Hunters go to the rural county in search of deer, turkeys and bears. Treasure hunters often visit Bedford on a quest to find a buried treasure of gold, silver and jewels described in the Beale Ciphers first revealed in the mid-1800s. The ciphers are a set of three ciphertexts, only one of which has been solved. Another attraction is Poplar Forest Plantation, designed and first operated by Thomas Jefferson. Bedford County Public Schools provides K-12 public education. University of Virginia and Virginia Tech are within easy commuting distance for those seeking higher education.