Illinois producers grow a LOT of corn and soybeans. The Prairie State ranked first in soybean production and second in corn production in 2017. But there is a great deal more agricultural production coming from the 72,000 farms located in our 102 counties. Illinois ranks first in horseradish acres and also first in pumpkin acres. Nearly 80 percent of those pumpkins are grown for processing and they turn into a whole lot of pumpkin pies.
Illinois has a large nursery/greenhouse industry that accounts for more than $350 million in sales of sod, floriculture, nursery, and greenhouse products. We also have 1,500 vegetable growers farming 61,000 acres and generating nearly $120 million in sales. For fruits, there are nearly 1,000 producers growing more than $22 million dollars in fruit, nut, and berry sales.
In livestock, Illinois ranks fourth among the states in hog and pig inventory. There were more than 2,000 pork producers that sold nearly 17 million pigs in 2017. There were also more than 16,000 farms raising more than 1.1 million head of cattle. That includes 395,000 beef cows and nearly 100,000 milk cows.
There were more than 116,000 producers on Illinois farms and more than 33,000 of them are women. The total also includes 12,000 military veterans who have already served our country; now they serve again to help ensure food is on our plates.
NASS would like to thank all the veterans who are now producers. We appreciate the work you did in the military and we appreciate all that you do for agriculture.
And I personally would like to thank all the producers who completed their Census of Agriculture forms. Illinois had the highest response rate in the country!