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“Agriculture and Commerce:” Tennessee Remains Strong in the Changing Face of Agriculture

Posted by Debra Kenerson, Tennessee State Statistician, National Agricultural Statistics Service in Research and Science
May 31, 2019
Census of Ag showing women producers in Tennessee graphic
Another incredible statistic for the state was the increase of female producers. Women are 35 percent of our total producers!

Since 1801, Tennessee’s motto has been “Agriculture and Commerce.” As we see in the latest Census of Agriculture results, our farmers do their part keep our motto alive, with agriculture remaining the number one industry in the state. In 2017, our state’s farmers and ranchers sold more than $3.8 billion in agricultural products.

Grains, oilseeds, dry beans, and dry peas made up the largest sector of Tennessee’s farming industry. 2017 recorded record yields for both corn and soybeans. The largest of this group, soybeans, had 1,643,153 acres harvested from 3,846 farms in 2017. Sales totaled $1.3 billion. For many years, livestock was the ranking agricultural commodity in Tennessee. However, in the last two censuses, crops value of production has led the way in the state’s agriculture.

We also have a very large cattle and calf sector, which had total sales of $720 million. The 2017 Census of Agriculture counted inventory of 1,820,101 head on 37,288 farms, which has remained relatively stable over the last several censuses. Feed was by far the largest expense for our farmers in 2017.

We also have a very large poultry sector in Tennessee. The 2017 Census of Agriculture counted more than 30 million broiler chickens and almost 2 million layers in our state.

The new data series added in 2017 showed some very interesting facts about the face of Tennessee’s agriculture. Producers with military service ranked fourth in the nation, totaling 14,463 producers; new and beginning producers totaled 30,953, eighth in the nation; and young producers, age 35 or less, totaled 9,344, thirteenth in the nation.

Another incredible statistic for the state was the increase of female producers. Women are 35 percent of our total producers!

A huge THANK YOU to our producers who make this report and its statistics possible. We could not do our job without you.

Category/Topic: Research and Science

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