Nearly a quarter of a million farms covering more than 130 million acres of land, according to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, means Texas has more farms and land in farms than any other state in the U.S. Texas has about 72,000 more farms and 4 million more acres of farm land, than in Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma combined. Not a surprise to some, but let’s consider the vastness of Texas agriculture from a few other perspectives.
Texas women operated 38,452 farms, a farm count greater than total farms in 28 states. Farms operated by Texas women cover over 12 million acres, more than total land in farms in 27 states.
During 2012, Texas ranchers tended to more than 11 million head of cattle which generated sales value of more than $13 billion. So how big is that in comparison? Only six states had total agricultural sales in excess of the level of cattle sales in Texas. Texas cattle are more valuable than the total of all agricultural sales in the 43 other states.
The 2012 Census of Agriculture confirms Texas as the perennial number one producer of sheep, goats and cotton. In addition, it shows Texas farm-raising the most deer and having the largest number of llamas. Texas also has the largest equine population on farms by a country mile. More than 64,000 Texas farms have horse and pony inventory of nearly 400,000. This level outpaces the horse and pony populations on farms in the ‘horse states’ of Oklahoma, California and Kentucky, none with more than 40 percent of the Texas total. Looking for a good mule or donkey? Texas has 21 percent of the U.S. mule, donkey and burro inventory.
Our farmers and ranchers are industrious too. With $133 million in sales, Texas farms account for 19 percent of the total U.S. sales in agri-tourism and recreation (wineries, hunting, ranch experiences, etc.) Also, more than 11,500 farms sold value-added products like jams, wines, cheeses and smoked meats.
Finally, Texas farmers and ranchers are number one in resilience - all of this incredible output during the historic droughts of 2011 and 2012. Just wait till the rains and good moisture returns, Texas farmers and ranchers are poised to set new records doing their part to feed, clothe and energize our world. There’s a lot more information about Texas agriculture available in the 2012 Census of Agriculture. Take a look sometime, you’ll be amazed.