From the tractor
by Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler
Every year, our Agricultural Statistics Division, working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, releases a yearbook of statistical information on North Carolina agriculture.
There is a lot of information included in these books, including the amount of fertilizer materials shipped, farm real estate values, number of farms and land in farms, a breakdown on commodity statistics and agricultural cash receipts, along with a snapshot of the agricultural impact on a county-by-county basis. This collection of information gathered in 2008 makes a handy book and a great resource.
I wanted to share with you some of the numbers from this year’s book; things that show the impact of agriculture in this state along with our top commodities and the diversity of production.
North Carolina farmers had more than $9.7 billion in income from the sale of crops, livestock and related products. That was up $1 billion from 2007. It is important to note that this number does not factor in the agribusiness impact, it is solely cash receipts.
Of that, 66 percent of cash receipts came from the livestock sales, and 34 percent was from crops.
Not surprisingly then, our top two commodities were broilers -- with cash receipts of nearly $2.7 billion -- and hogs at about $2.2 billion.
Greenhouse, nursery and floriculture represent the largest crop and third-largest commodity, with an income of $777 million. Tobacco was the second-leading crop at $687 million.
Not so long ago, tobacco was the leading commodity and was the primary crop produced in the state. Our farmers have diversified over the years, and while tobacco is still a significant industry, we now rank as the fourth most agriculturally diverse state in the country.
In fact, we rank in the top 10 nationally in 27 different commodities. We are first in tobacco and sweet potatoes, second in hogs, turkeys and Christmas trees. We rank third in processing cucumbers and trout sold and fourth in fresh market cucumbers and strawberries.
Duplin, Sampson and Union counties are tops in agricultural production in the state. Duplin has more than $968 million in cash receipts, Sampson has more than $913 million and Union counts more than $454 million in cash receipts.
If you are interested in finding out more about North Carolina agriculture by the numbers, all of the information in the yearbook can also be found on our Web site at www.ncagr.gov, by clicking on the Ag Statistics link.