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Farming on the Edge: Top 20 States
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Twenty states losing the most prime farmland 1992-1997

1. Texas
2. Ohio
3. Georgia
4. North Carolina
5. Illinois
6. Pennsylvania
7. Indiana
8. Tennessee
9. Michigan
10. Alabama
11. Virginia
12. Wisconsin
13. New York
14. South Carolina
15. California
16. Mississippi
17. Louisiana
18. Kentucky
19. Arkansas
20. Minnesota

1.  Texas

Agriculture is the second largest industry in Texas and the nation's second-leading agricultural-producing state. The sale of cattle and calves accounts for 51 percent of all agricultural sales, followed by greenhouse and nursery production, cotton, broilers and milk. Texas is the number one state in baled hay and wool production. The average farm is 676 acres. (Map and information)

2.  Ohio

Ohio has 80,000 farms, averaging 186 acres each. Ohio produces more eggs and more Swiss cheese than any other state. They are ranked number two in sherbet, three in tomatoes, four in winter wheat and five in sweet corn. Because of the accelerated loss of farmland, Ohio is committed to addressing the issue of farmland preservation head-on. The governor appointed a task force in 1996 and started implementing most of its recommendations in 1997. (Map and information)

3.  Georgia

More peanuts, pecans and poultry are grown in Georgia than in any other state. Georgia also ranks second in acres of cotton and rye and third in peaches and fresh market tomatoes. Poultry broilers continue to rank as Georgia's number one cash receipts commodity, representing 45 percent of the total cash receipts from sales of farm products. The average farm is 265 acres.
(Map and information)

4.  North Carolina

Agriculture is North Carolina's number one industry, accounting for nearly one quarter of the state's income, 30 percent of the acreage and 22 percent of the work force. It is one of the most diversified agriculture states in the nation, growing over 80 commodities. North Carolina produces more tobacco and sweet potatoes than any other state and ranks second in the production of hogs, turkeys, Christmas trees and trout. There are 57,000 farms and the average farm is 161 acres. (Map and information)

5.  Illinois

Illinois is second only to Iowa in corn and soybean production and fourth in the production of hogs. With over 1,500 kinds of soil types, Illinois also grows lesser known specialty crops such as amaranth, apples, bell peppers, blueberries, broccoli, buckwheat, canola, clover, cucumbers, ginseng, grain sorghum, herbs, horseradish, mushrooms, oats, peaches, popcorn, potatoes, rye, snap beans, sod, strawberries, sweet corn, tomatoes, and winter wheat. The average farm is 355 acres. (Map and information)

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6.  Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is the third-leading producer of concord grapes and the fourth-leading producer in corn for silage, freestone peaches and Niagara grapes in the country. The state also has a huge livestock production consisting of chicken, hogs, cattle, ewes and sheep. Pennsylvania has the third biggest corn-for-silage-acreage in the country. The state has a nation-leading farmland preservation program through the purchase of development rights. The program has preserved a total of 240,000 acres of farmland by June 2002. The state's average farm size is 158 acres. Per farm, the average market value of products is at $87,942, up by some 11 percent from 1992. (Map and information)

7.  Indiana

Indiana's main commodities are corn, soybeans, hogs and pigs, poultry and poultry products, and cattle and calves. It topped the country in duck, geese, and other poultry sold in 1997, and ranked 7th in the sale of hogs, pigs and turkeys. Indiana has the 4th largest crop area for soybeans and 5th for corn. The state is second only to California in tomatoes for processing and ice cream production. The 1997 value of agricultural products sold per farm ($90,303) increased by 22 percent since 1992. The average farm size is 261 acres, up by 5 percent from 249 acres in 1992. (Map and information)

8.  Tennessee

Tennessee is agriculturally diverse, dominated by farming and forestry, and half of the state's land area in farms. The top five commodities in terms of sales in Tennessee are cattle and calves, poultry and poultry products, soybeans, nursery and green house crops, and dairy products. However, hog, dairy, and cattle operations in the state have been declining since 1991. Tennessee's full time farms decreased slightly by seven percent from 1992 to 1997 but its production market value ($28,358) shot up by an average of 10 percent per farm. The average farm size is 145 acres. (Map and information)

9.  Michigan

Michigan grows more beans (black, cranberry, red kidney and navy), blueberries, tart cherries, cucumbers, flowering hanging baskets, geraniums, Niagara grapes, hosta, and impatiens then any other state. It is the second leading producer of celery and the third leading producer of apples, asparagus, snap beans, carrots, Concord grapes and radishes. However, milk, soybeans, corn, cattle, hogs, annual bedding plants and woody ornamentals provide the highest cash receipts. The average farm is 215 acres. (Map and information)

10.  Alabama

Alabama is very much diversified in farming. When it comes to agricultural products and annual revenues, traditional crops such as cotton, potatoes and peanuts are way below poultry, forestry and horticulture. A poultry and egg sale, the 4th in the nation, is the number one revenue producer, bringing in $2 billion annually. There are more than 1,000 greenhouses, nursery and sod farms spread across more than 12 million square feet of space. The 1997 average farm size is 210 acres, down by six percent from 223 acres in 1992, while per-farm average value of agricultural products sold ($74,884) increased by 20 percent. (Map and information)

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11.  Virginia

Agriculture is Virginia's top industry and farms cover 34 percent of the state. The state grows traditional crops such as milk, poultry, beef and soybeans; uniquely southern crops like cotton, peanuts and tobacco; and newer commodities such as farm-raised fish and nursery/landscaping products. Virginia ranks in the top 10 or 15 producing states for many commodities. The average farm is 180 acres. (Map and information)

12.  Wisconsin

Wisconsin leads in a number of agricultural crops. The state earns the second largest in dairy products as well as ducks, geese and poultry sold. It has the biggest acreage of corn for silage and the second for oats. Wisconsin gets about half of its total receipts from dairy products. Corn, soybeans, nursery and greenhouse crops, vegetables and fruits are also produced in the state. Land in farms, the average farm size, and full time farms decreased between 1992 and 1997 in Wisconsin. The average farm size is 227 acres. Per farm average of agricultural products sold is $85,056. (Map and information)

13.  New York

About 25 percent of the state's land area produce a variety of crops. Milk is New York's leading agricultural product, followed by nursery and greenhouse crops, vegetables, sweet corn and melons. New York is the second leading producer of apples and maple syrup and the third leading producer of dairy products, grapes, sweet corn, cauliflower and cabbage. The average farm is 228 acres. (Map and information)

14.  South Carolina

Agricultural sales in the states are brought in mainly by poultry and poultry products, tobacco (third in the country), nursery and greenhouse crops, cotton and cattle and calves. It is the second biggest producer, next to California, of Freestone peaches, mainly in Palmetto State. Cotton has the largest percentage of irrigated acreage followed by corn, land in vegetables and orchards, and soybeans. Full time farms in South Carolina decreased 10 percent in 1997 but a remarkable 49 percent increase was registered from 1992 in per farm market value of agricultural products sold ($78,665). Individuals and families mostly owned the state's farms. The average farm size is 228 acres. (Map and information)

15.  California

The state has been the leader in U.S. agricultural production for more than 50 years. Its 87,500 farms constitute about four percent of the country's total. Eight of the nation's top 10 producing counties are in the state. The Golden State dominates the dairy industry with 19 percent of the national milk receipts, and grows more than half of the country's fruits, nuts and vegetables. Almonds, artichokes, dates, figs, raisins, kiwifruit, olives, peaches, persimmons, pistachios, plums and walnuts are commodities, are some of the commodities in which the state has the edge nationally. California is also the leading producer of all grape varieties and accounted for 92 percent of grape production in 2000. Equally important, it is the country's number one agricultural exporter. Per farm average market value of products sold is $310,718. The average farm size is 374 acres. (Map and information)

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16.  Mississippi

Although its full-time farms decreased by 12 percent from 1992 to 1997, Mississippi ranks fourth in cotton and sweet potato production. More than half of its receipts in 1997 were brought in by cotton and cottonseed and poultry and poultry products. The state also produces rice, pecans, soybeans, sorghum, wheat and corn. Tomatoes and watermelons are some of the vegetables grown there. It is number one in aquaculture. In terms of market value of agricultural products sold, the per farm average is $99,859. The average farm size is 323 acres. (Map and information)

17.  Louisiana

Louisiana's top agricultural products in terms of sales are potatoes, peanuts, cotton, poultry and poultry products, soybeans, rye, drybeans and other grains. It also grows sugarcane, strawberries, pecans and Perique tobacco. The state ranks 2nd in crop acreage for rice and 7th in cotton. The average farm size is 331 acres, jumping eight percent from 306 in 1992. Market value of products sold per farm in 1997 was $85,265. (Map and information)

18.  Kentucky

Kentucky's top agriculture commodities are tobacco, cattle, horses, soybeans and corn for grain. Farmland accounts for 54 percent of total acreage in the state. Tied with Tennessee, it ranks fourth in the number of farms behind Texas, Missouri and Iowa. Its broiler industry has expanded with several new processing plants in recent years. Per farm 1997 average of products sold is $37,247. The 1997 average farm size is 162 acres, and increase of seven percent between 1992 and 1997. (Map and information)

19.  Arkansas

Arkansas, a producer as well as an exporter of agricultural products, is the number one in the country in terms of poultry and poultry products sales in 1997, as well as of rice, rye, drybeans and other grains. In 2000 the state ranked 10th in agricultural exports with an estimated amount of $1.4 billion. Its broiler inventory is the also biggest in the U.S. The state is also first in acres of rice and fifth largest cotton producer. The 1997 average size of farm is 318 acres. The average market value of products sold per farm ($121,3888) increased since 1992 by 28 percent. (Map and information)

20.  Minnesota

Corn, hogs, soybeans, dairy and poultry products are the sources of agricultural cash receipts for Minnesota. Animal agriculture is important in the state and as such leads the country in inventory and sale of turkeys. It also has the biggest acreage for sugar beets and leads in sugar beet and green peas production. It is the third in terms of hogs and pigs sold and crop area for soybeans. Minnesota is second only to North Dakota in producing spring wheat, oats and canola. The average farm is 354 acres, while average market value of products per farm sold is $112,997. (Map and information)

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American Farmland Trust