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In the woods · On the farm · By the water
Isle of Wight County land and farms appeal to investors, businesses, developers and sportsmen because of its access to a good transportation infrastructure, skilled workforce and rural lifestyle. Located in the Coastal region, land in Wight County is adjacent to the city of Newport News and Suffolk, Southampton, Franklin and Surry counties. The 363-square-mile county includes 47 square miles of water. The population is 37,109. Agriculture, manufacturing and retail are a significant portion of its economic base. Included in the top private employers are Smithfield Fresh Meats Corporation, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc., International Paper Company, Cost Plus Inc., CR England Inc. and Smithfield Foods. One-third of the county is devoted to farmland. Farmland encompasses 80,672 acres, and 62% of its agricultural sales are for crops. Twenty-four percent remains in woodlands. Some farmers convert crop land into impoundments to attract waterfowl during the hunting season. The James and Blackwater rivers, Lake Burnt Mills and Lake Prince are favorite fishing holes for anglers yearning for bluegill, largemouth bass, crappie and perch. The Ragged Island National Wildlife Management Area consists of 1,537 acres of brackish marsh and small pine islands along the south side of the lower James River. Hunters find deer, raccoons, rabbits, fox and squirrels on the islands and other higher ground. Waterfowl hunting also is strong and includes Black ducks, mallards, scaup, gadwall, ruddy ducks, buffleheads and goldeneyes. Isle of Wight County Schools provides K-12 public education. Paul D Camp Community College offers higher education.