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Catfish Continues to Swim to the Top of U.S. Aquaculture and Mississippi Agriculture

Posted by Esmerelda Dickson, Mississippi State Statistician, National Agricultural Statistics Service in Conservation
Feb 21, 2017
Catfish farming has helped Mississippi agriculture’s bottom line.  Check back next week as we spotlight another state and look at more information from the 2012 Census of Agriculture.
Catfish farming has helped Mississippi agriculture’s bottom line. Check back next week as we spotlight another state and look at more information from the 2012 Census of Agriculture.

The Census of Agriculture is the most complete account of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. Every Thursday USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will highlight new Census data and the power of the information to shape the future of American agriculture.

Mississippi, commonly called the “Magnolia State", has long been one of the most rural states in the United States. However, agriculture makes significant contributions to all of Mississippi’s 82 counties. Agriculture is a leading industry in Mississippi. According to the latest Census of Agriculture, our farmers generated $6.4 billion in market value of agricultural products sold in 2012, a 32 percent increase from the last census.

The census counted almost 11 million acres of farmland, down 5 percent from the 2007 Census. The average farm size increased to 287 acres, up 5 percent from 2007. The highest concentration of cropland is located in the Delta Area of the State.

Mississippi farmers produce a variety of products including cotton, poultry, cattle, catfish, soybeans, rice, and dairy. Mississippi’s most valuable crops are cotton ranked fifth, soybean ranked thirteenth, and corn ranked nineteenth in the nation. Nationally, our state ranks fifth in poultry and eggs. Poultry is Mississippi’s largest agricultural commodity with $2.7 billion in market value sold in 2012. There were more than 134 billion broilers and other meat- type chickens in 2012.

Aquaculture is an important part of the state’s agricultural production. It is the fifth largest agricultural commodity for the State. For years, Mississippi has led the nation in farm-raised catfish with 275 catfish farms and sales valued at $179.2 million. Despite being known for the aquaculture our growers produce, especially in the Mississippi Delta area, the 2013 Census of Aquaculture results were still a pleasant surprise. The census of aquaculture results rank Mississippi the second largest aquaculture industry in the nation, behind Washington, with $203.6 million in 2013 sales.

As you can see, Mississippi is diverse in agriculture products. Agriculture will continue to be a major segment of the state’s economy. Our state will continue to swim to the top. Learn more about the Magnolia State’s Census of Agriculture results, check out www.agcensus.usda.gov.

Category/Topic: Conservation

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