Navigation of the Appomattox River and the expansion of the railroad encouraged the early growth of Prince Edward County. Historically, the economy was principally supported by agriculture, forestry and related products.
During the middle to late 1950's, following the national trend, agricultural operations, including tobacco, dairy and grain products began to decline. In 1960, 28% of the County's employment was in agriculture. This number declined to 18% in 1980; 6% in 1990; and to a low of 0.5% in 1998.
The labor surplus caused by the decline in agriculture employment created structural changes that lead to a readily available labor supply for the manufacturing industries that were being established in the 1960's.
The County has a diversified and stable economy with strong manufacturing, trade, and service sectors. The products manufactured by local industry have national and international demand.
A second structural change that has taken place in the local economy concerns the growing dominance of service and trade sectors. In 1980, services and trades represented over one third of all employment in the County. By 1990, those sectors had grown to represent almost 60% of all employment. Accordingly, between 1980 and 1990, there was a 130% increase in retails sales and a 26% growth rate for retail establishments.
The climate in Prince Edward County is characterized by four distinct seasons. Because of its ideal location, the winters are mild and the snows infrequent and of short duration. Summer temperatures are ideal for outdoor activities as the temperature seldom moves above 95 degrees F. There are occasional periods of above and below normal temperatures in the winter and summer.
WFLO Radio Station in Farmville is the weather reporting station for the area, and provides the following statistics:
Annual Average Rainfall: 43 inches
Annual Average Snowfall: 16 inches
Prevailing Winds: Southwest
Annual Average Temperature: 56.5 F
Heating Degree Days: 4545
Cooling Degree Days: 1232
There are more than 75 different Protestant Churches and three Catholic Churches in the area. The nearest Jewish Synagogues are located in Petersburg and Lynchburg.