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.
Nebraska is an extremely important part of U.S. agriculture. As the 2012 Census of Agriculture showed, Nebraskan farmers and ranchers sold more than $23 billion worth of agricultural products. Our unique geography lets us combine the advantages of the Midwestern crop-friendly soil with the plains perfect for cattle grazing.
Beef cattle is the largest component of our agriculture. The 2012 Census counted nearly 6.4 million head of cattle and calves in Nebraska, second only to Texas with sales of almost $10.1 billion. And if that wasn’t enough, Nebraska pork producers had the sixth largest inventory of hogs and pigs in the United States with almost 3 million head in 2012.
Of course there are plenty of crop statistics we can brag about in Nebraska as well. Our corn growers harvested more than 9 million acres of corn, the third largest acreage in the United States in 2012, according to the Census. Nebraska ranked #1 in the nation when it came to popcorn production in 2012 with almost 354 million pounds of popcorn.
Nebraska farmers are also focusing a lot on making sure they remain responsible stewards of our natural resources. In 2012, more than 8.3 million acres of farmland in our state were irrigated, more than in any other state. That year, the Census also counted 171 farms in Nebraska that sold organic products. Nebraska organic product sales nearly totaled $40 million in 2012.
With all of these achievements the 2012 Census results show we are an agricultural leader and that we are still growing. The number of farms, the value of agricultural sales, livestock inventories and farm acres all had significant increases in the five-year window since the previous Census. If these trends continue, the future will be very bright for Nebraska agriculture.
Luckily we don’t have to wait too long to see what future holds for our farms and ranches. National Agricultural Statistics Service is already laying out groundwork for 2017 Census of Agriculture. In the meantime, there is still plenty we can learn from the 2012 Census, so feel free to check it out at www.agcensus.usda.gov.
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That is garbage--saying NB farmers take care of natural resources. They don't and probably won't. I know of some that ripped out most riparian cottonwoods; I know they use thousands of gallons of Roundup to kill weeds; the monocultures are a diaster. I could add more but are't those things bad enough?