Mooresville Tribune –
Andrew Lisa –
Using 2019 agricultural export data from the USDA, Stacker developed a list of each state’s top agricultural exports and ranked them against all states. The USDA estimates agricultural commodity exports based on U.S. farm-cash-receipts data.
There are more than 2 million farms in the United States, about 98% of which are operated by families, individuals, family partnerships, or family corporations, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. About 87% of all agricultural products in America are produced on family ranches or farms. A single farm feeds an average of 166 people per year, both in the U.S. and abroad. Even so, farming is a mere sliver of the U.S. economy, representing just 1% of America’s GDP—farm and ranch families make up less than 2% of America’s population.
More African Americans are operating farms now than ever before, likewise for Hispanic and Latino farm operators. One in four farmers are beginning farmers, a term that represents those with fewer than 10 years in agriculture work—the average age is 46. About 11% of U.S. farmers served or are serving in the military.
America imports $129 billion worth of agricultural products a year, but the country maintains a positive trade balance by exporting $137 billion worth. Stacker developed a list of each state’s top agricultural exports and ranked them against all states using 2019 agricultural export data from the USDA released Oct. 26, 2020. The USDA estimates agricultural commodity exports based on U.S. farm-cash-receipts data.
Some categories are cut and dry, others not so much. “Other livestock products,” for example, includes other non-poultry meats, animal fat, live farm animals, and other animal parts. The “other poultry products” classification includes turkey meat, eggs, and other fowl products. Then there’s “feeds and other feed grains.” That refers to processed feeds, fodder, barley, oats, rye, and sorghum. The “other oilseeds and products” category refers to peanuts (oil stock), other oil crops, cornmeal, other oilcake and meal, protein substances, bran, and residues. Finally, there are “other plant products,” which include sweeteners and products, other horticulture products, planting seeds, cocoa, coffee, and other processed foods.
2019 top Hawaii agricultural exports:
– #1. Other plant products: $213.3 million (#26 among all states)
– #2. Other livestock products: $49.2 million (#23)
– #3. Tree nuts: $47.8 million (#7)
– #4. Beef and veal: $5.2 million (#42)
– #5. Other poultry products: $1.6 million (#48)
– #6. Fruits, fresh: $1.5 million (#20)
– #7. Fruits, processed: $1.3 million (#20)
– #8. Hides and skins: $0.5 million (#42)
– #9. Dairy products: $0.1 million (#49)
– #10. Pork: $0.1 million (#50)
Sugar and pineapples were long the workhorses of Hawaii’s agricultural sector, but both industries are now in rapid decline. In fact, the last sugar grower in the state closed in 2016 after nearly 150 years in operation, according to the Washington Post. Tens of thousands of acres of land that once grew pineapples now sit fallow, too, as the Pacific island chain moves toward an economy that is overwhelmingly dominated by tourism.