States with the most farmland

Written by:
March 23, 2021
Mironmax Studio // Shutterstock

States with the most farmland

With more than 330 million American mouths to feed and about $136.7 billion worth of agricultural exports, American farms need plenty of land to grow and produce crops. Thanks to widespread mechanization, American farms are some of the most productive on earth, fetching high yields of the top five crops: corn, soybeans, alfalfa, cotton, and cattle. Livestock plays a vital role, with 2 million American farms raising billions of cows, pigs, sheep, and chickens.

America’s shift to high-yield, mechanized farming—which kicked into hyper-drive during World War II when the country needed vast quantities of fats, oils, and meals for herself and her allies—forever changed the makeup of American agriculture. Family farms folded in the face of massive factory farms: In 1870, over 50% of the population was employed in agriculture, a number that has since dwindled to 1.3% in 2019. Historically intensive land use depleted topsoil, spread non-native weeds, and aided deforestation, which led to federal legislation protecting wildlands and subsidizing efficient agricultural practices.

The U.S. in 2019 had 2.02 million farm households, but which American regions have the most acreage devoted to farming? Stacker analyzed the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Major Land Uses (MLU) survey, then ranked each state and the District of Columbia based on the number of acres each has dedicated to farmland. For further context, each slide also provides total cropland acreage, cropland used for crops, idle cropland, and cropland used for pasture. Top crops are from USDA state agriculture overviews as of March 8, 2021.

The 2012 MLU data is the latest available from the series, which has been published since 1945—Alaska and Hawaii were added in 1959 when they became states. The USDA reports that the Major Land Uses series is the “longest-running, most comprehensive accounting of all major uses of public and private land in the United States.”

Data from the 2017 Census of Agriculture, a count of the country’s farmers and ranchers that happens every 5 years, is also featured.

Read on to discover where the ingredients for your family’s next meal may have been grown or raised.

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Swampyank // Wkicommons

#50. Rhode Island

- Total cropland: 25,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 3.8% (#10 lowest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 19,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 4,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 2,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: hay & haylage ($1.2 million), corn

A lack of affordable farmland is threatening Rhode Island’s agricultural sector. The state is trying to help make expensive farmland more accessible to would-be farmers, whether through the Farmland Preservation Program, state-sponsored leasing opportunities, or state-purchased farms.

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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health // Flickr

#49. Alaska

- Total cropland: 79,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 0.0% (#1 lowest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 31,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 45,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 4,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: hay & haylage ($10.2 million), barley ($1.0 million)

The Alaska Farmland Trust is working to keep farmland in the hands of farmers. According to the trust, 95% of the food eaten in Alaska comes from the lower 48 states, and one in five Alaskans is food-insecure.

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Diana Nault // Shutterstock

#48. New Hampshire

- Total cropland: 93,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 1.6% (#4 lowest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 73,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 18,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 2,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: hay & haylage ($13.6 million), maple syrup ($6.7 million)

New Hampshire, which has seen a resurgence in farming, is working to preserve farmland and to help make farms profitable. It passed a law in 2016 redefining agritourism for weddings, corn mazes, wine tastings, and other activities for the public. It also pays farmers who agree to restrictions on the land in the form of conservation easements, among other incentives.

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Public Domain

#47. Connecticut

- Total cropland: 123,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 4.0% (#11 lowest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 104,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 9,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 9,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: hay ($13.5 million), corn

In the 1940s, Martin Luther King Jr. spent two summers working in the shade tobacco fields around Simsbury, outside of Hartford. At the time, shade tobacco—tobacco grown under shade in the Connecticut River valley—was one of the state’s main cash crops. Foreign competition and costs have threatened the crop.

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Max Pixel

#46. Massachusetts

- Total cropland: 148,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 3.0% (#8 lowest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 130,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 14,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 5,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: cranberries ($59.0 million), hay & haylage ($19.1 million)

Cranberries are one of three fruits native to North America that are grown commercially, the others being blueberries and Concord grapes. Cranberry farming originated on Cape Cod in the mid-1800s. With more than 14,000 acres, Massachusetts is second in the country in terms of cranberry production.

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Pixabay

#45. Hawaii

- Total cropland: 372,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 9.1% (#17 lowest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 161,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 189,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 22,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: coffee ($54.3 million), macadamias ($48.8 million), papayas ($4.9 million), avocados ($1.8 million)

Sugar cane and pineapple, crops for which Hawaii was once famous, became victims of cheaper foreign labor and expensive real estate. The Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co., the state’s last sugar grower, shut down in 2016. Now, GoFarm Hawaii, a program developed in 2012 with the University of Hawaii and partly funded with state and federal grants, is helping create new farmers and more sustainable farms.

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Allagash Brewing // Flickr

#44. Maine

- Total cropland: 390,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 2.0% (#5 lowest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 328,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 55,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 8,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: potatoes ($184.1 million), hay & haylage ($38.8 million), blueberries ($26.0 million), maple syrup ($14.7 million), oats ($4.9 million)

The Maine Farmland Trust formed to protect farms and support farmers. Since its inception, the organization has protected more than 60,000 acres of farmland. It is developing new markets and helping more Maine families get access to local food.

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#43. Vermont

- Total cropland: 412,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 7.0% (#13 lowest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 379,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 19,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 15,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: hay & haylage ($157.4 million), maple syrup ($58.0 million)

The Intervale Center in Burlington was founded in 1988 to assist young farmers and help with business planning. Only about 15% of Vermont’s farms have an operator who is 35 or younger.

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Public Domain

#42. Delaware

- Total cropland: 438,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 35.1% (#11 highest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 420,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 11,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 7,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: corn ($124.6 million), soybeans ($59.7 million), wheat ($17.8 million), hay & haylage ($5.3 million), barley ($3.5 million)

The American Farmland Trust recognized Delaware’s farmland protection program as second only to New Jersey’s in terms of effectiveness. By June 2020, the state program had preserved 139,000 acres of farmland.

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PxHere

#41. New Jersey

- Total cropland: 449,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 9.5% (#18 lowest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 403,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 29,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 16,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: blueberries ($85.3 million), peppers ($45.9 million), corn ($45.3 million), hay & haylage ($35.0 million), soybeans ($29.3 million)

New Jersey counts food and agriculture as its third-largest industry. Only pharmaceuticals and tourism are more profitable to the state. Nursery and greenhouse products are the most prevalent commodities, followed by fruits and vegetables.

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Famartin // Wikicommons

#40. Nevada

- Total cropland: 577,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 0.8% (#2 lowest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 478,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 42,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 57,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: hay & haylage ($269.4 million), hay ($269.4 million)

Agriculture is Nevada’s third-largest industry. It produces onion, potatoes, and cattle, and ships powdered milk from a milk plant to China. Hydroponic and aquaponic farms, sustainable methods that require significantly less water than traditional crop irrigation, are also gaining popularity in the state.

 

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www.ForestWwander.com // Wikicommons

#39. West Virginia

- Total cropland: 781,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 5.1% (#12 lowest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 685,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 42,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 54,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: hay & haylage ($101.9 million), corn ($26.0 million)

West Virginia's industrial hemp farmers more than quadrupled production in 2019 compared to 2018. More than 100 farmers grew 641 acres of industrial hemp. The state sees industrial hemp as an emerging industry.

 

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Jennifer A. Johnson // Wikicommons

#38. Arizona

- Total cropland: 1,134,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 1.6% (#3 lowest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 908,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 142,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 84,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: lettuce ($1.1 billion), hay & haylage ($513.4 million), cotton ($150.3 million), cauliflower ($99.5 million), dates ($86.3 million)

Farms are trying to stop the loss of land in Maricopa County, the state’s most populated area. Agricultural land decreased from 640 square miles in 2000 to 410 square miles in 2019, according to the Maricopa Association of Governments.

 

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Ellie Van Houtte // Wikicommons

#37. Maryland

- Total cropland: 1,377,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 22.2% (#16 highest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 1,254,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 108,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 15,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: corn ($318.5 million), soybeans ($173.5 million), wheat ($105.8 million), hay & haylage ($85.9 million), barley ($4.5 million)

During the American Revolution, Maryland's Eastern Shore was called the "Breadbasket of the Revolution" because it supplied flour to the Continental Army. Maryland’s state soil, sassafras, is considered excellent for farming.

 

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inkknife_2000 // Wikicommons

#36. Utah

- Total cropland: 1,476,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 2.8% (#7 lowest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 1,090,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 246,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 140,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: hay & haylage ($461.2 million), wheat ($31.0 million), corn ($16.4 million), cherries ($6.7 million), barley ($3.5 million)

Utah produces just 3% of the fruits its residents consume, 2% of vegetables, and 25% of its own dairy, according to the non-profit Envision Utah. That group's goal is to work toward a more self-sufficient state by 2050, which would include producing a significant amount of its own food.

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Lucid Nightmare // Flickr

#35. South Carolina

- Total cropland: 1,904,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 9.9% (#20 lowest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 1,540,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 308,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 55,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: corn ($172.5 million), cotton ($141.4 million), peaches ($85.9 million), hay & haylage ($82.8 million), soybeans ($76.1 million)

Agriculture and forestry combine to make up South Carolina’s #1 industry. Other top agricultural products include broilers, turkeys, cattle, peanuts, and tobacco. The state has 4.7 million acres of farmland and 25,000 farms.

 

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GoodFreePhotos

#34. New Mexico

- Total cropland: 1,948,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 2.5% (#6 lowest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 1,183,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 534,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 231,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: hay & haylage ($211.9 million), pecans ($165.1 million), peppers ($50.0 million), cotton ($33.4 million), corn ($27.3 million)

Native Americans are responsible for about 24% of New Mexico’s farms and ranches, according to the 2017 census data. Maize was grown on 596 farms on a total of 1,923 acres. Chile peppers are cultivated on 8,313 acres, putting New Mexico first in the country for the crop. The next Agriculture Census will take place in 2022.

 

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Acroterion // Wikicommons

#33. Wyoming

- Total cropland: 1,986,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 3.2% (#9 lowest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 1,523,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 207,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 256,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: hay & haylage ($427.1 million), barley ($34.3 million), corn ($31.7 million), wheat ($18.4 million)

Beef comprises the largest part of Wyoming’s agriculture, and the state has, on average, the largest farms and ranches anywhere in the country. Wyoming also is known for its wool, and it’s second in the U.S. in wool production behind California.

 

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timlewisnm // Flickr

#32. Alabama

- Total cropland: 2,806,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 8.7% (#16 lowest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 2,231,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 415,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 161,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: cotton ($331.8 million), corn ($188.3 million), hay & haylage ($150.5 million), peanuts ($97.9 million), soybeans ($86.6 million)

Alabama was once “The Cotton State,” but in the spring of 2020 farmers there planted more corn and wheat and less cotton, peanuts, and soybeans. The survey from the U.S. Department of Agriculture noted that farmers base their planting decisions on the economy, including U.S. markets and foreign trade.

 

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Public Domain

#31. Florida

- Total cropland: 2,834,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 8.3% (#15 lowest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 2,122,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 452,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 260,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: oranges ($1.0 billion), tomatoes ($425.9 million), strawberries ($307.2 million), peppers ($235.0 million), melons ($161.5 million)

Florida dominates citrus cultivation in the United States, with 474,540 acres dedicated to citrus or 57% of the total across the country, according to the 2017 Census of Agriculture. The state also cultivates 422,421 acres of oranges (70% of the national total) and 40,248 acres of grapefruit (59% of the national total).

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Pixabay

#30. Virginia

- Total cropland: 2,989,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 11.8% (#22 lowest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 2,636,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 205,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 148,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: hay & haylage ($323.2 million), corn ($227.1 million), soybeans ($167.6 million), cotton ($64.3 million), tobacco ($58.2 million)

Agriculture in Virginia is worth $70 billion a year and is responsible for more than 334,000 jobs. The state deals in a wide array of commodities: tobacco, apples, grapes, peanuts, tomatoes, turkeys, and broilers.

 

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Daniel Case // Wikicommons

#29. New York

- Total cropland: 4,247,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 14.1% (#24 lowest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 3,816,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 318,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 113,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: hay & haylage ($734.8 million), corn ($367.7 million), apples ($276.2 million), soybeans ($89.6 million), cabbage ($82.4 million)

Agriculture accounts for nearly 200,000 jobs in New York, and 98% of farms are family-owned, according to the 2017 Agriculture Census. The average size is 205 acres. The average age of the farmers is nearly 56 years old.

 

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Public Domain

#28. Georgia

- Total cropland: 4,385,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 11.9% (#23 lowest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 3,799,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 457,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 129,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: cotton ($807.7 million), peanuts ($532.2 million), corn ($252.0 million), pecans ($137.2 million), blueberries ($133.1 million)

President Jimmy Carter was a peanut farmer, and his home state typically leads in the production of peanuts, as well as pecans, broilers, blueberries, and spring onions. Agriculture is a $13 billion industry in the state.

 

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Ildar Sagdejev // Wikicommons

#27. North Carolina

- Total cropland: 4,473,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 14.4% (#25 lowest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 4,085,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 294,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 95,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: soybeans ($468.2 million), corn ($459.4 million), tobacco ($441.3 million), sweet potatoes ($323.9 million), cotton ($303.2 million)

Tobacco long dominated North Carolina’s agriculture production, and it remains a top cash crop, but some farmers are showing interest in industrial hemp. The state authorized a pilot program in 2014 for those interested in growing hemp. In 2019, the state approved 13,000 acres and 5 million square feet of greenhouse space for that effort, according to the North Carolina Hemp Association.

 

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fishhawk // Wikicommons

#26. Pennsylvania

- Total cropland: 4,517,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 15.8% (#25 highest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 3,952,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 446,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 119,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: hay & haylage ($843.6 million), corn ($713.6 million), soybeans ($252.6 million), apples ($106.3 million), wheat ($56.7 million)

Pennsylvania is first in the country in the production of mushrooms, accounting for 425 million pounds worth $330.7 million a year. It also leads in the production of hardwood, including red maple, red oak, black cherry, and sugar maple trees.

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#25. Louisiana

- Total cropland: 4,585,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 16.6% (#23 highest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 3,497,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 869,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 218,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: soybeans ($361.2 million), corn ($355.2 million), rice ($309.0 million), cotton ($186.3 million), hay & haylage ($100.4 million)

More than 85% of Louisiana's farms are family-owned. When Hurricane Laura ripped through the state in the summer of 2020, the storm caused $1.6 billion in damage to crops and forests throughout Louisiana—more than hurricanes Katrina and Rita combined.

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Pixabay

#24. Oregon

- Total cropland: 4,664,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 7.6% (#14 lowest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 3,522,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 834,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 308,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: hay & haylage ($674.3 million), wheat ($282.9 million), potatoes ($233.9 million), blueberries ($134.3 million), pears ($108.8 million)

Families own and operate 96.7% of Oregon’s farms and ranches. Among its farmers and ranchers, 44% are women, making the state fourth in the country for women as the principal operators of farms and ranches.

 

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Public Domain

#23. Mississippi

- Total cropland: 5,174,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 17.2% (#22 highest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 4,372,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 638,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 163,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: soybeans ($725.4 million), cotton ($458.5 million), corn ($431.5 million), hay & haylage ($136.1 million), hay ($136.1 million)

Agriculture employs 17.4% of Mississippi’s workers in some way. Poultry and eggs top agricultural production in Mississippi, a $2.16 billion part of the industry.

 

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Pixabay

#22. Tennessee

- Total cropland: 5,261,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 19.9% (#18 highest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 4,479,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 374,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 408,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: corn ($636.2 million), soybeans ($582.7 million), hay & haylage ($457.1 million), cotton ($280.6 million), wheat ($78.5 million)

Tennessee has 66,600 farms, with farmland accounting for 40%, or 10.8 million acres, of the state. Tennessee also is one of the country’s top producers of hardwood lumber. More than 14 million acres of farmland and other forests bring in $300 million a year in the sale of timber.

 

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Robbiegiles // Wikicommons

#21. Idaho

- Total cropland: 5,801,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 11.0% (#21 lowest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 4,790,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 789,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 221,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: potatoes ($1.0 billion), hay & haylage ($937.9 million), wheat ($501.0 million), barley ($265.0 million), corn ($136.5 million)

Idaho does indeed lead the country in the cultivation of potatoes, growing nearly one-third of them. There are more than 30 varieties, including russets, reds, Yukon golds, and fingerlings. Another major crop is wheat: Nearly half of Idaho wheat is sold abroad.

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David Ohmer // Flickr

#20. Kentucky

- Total cropland: 6,369,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 25.2% (#14 highest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 5,400,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 641,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 328,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: corn ($1.0 billion), soybeans ($707.4 million), hay & haylage ($616.2 million), tobacco ($268.6 million), wheat ($131.7 million)

Kentucky has 75,966 farms, most of them small family farms, on about half of the state’s land. The average size is 171 acres, much smaller than the national average of 444 acres. The annual sales of approximately 66% of them amount to less than $10,000.

 

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Tom Collins // Flickr

#19. Washington

- Total cropland: 7,539,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 17.7% (#20 highest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 5,558,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 1,856,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 125,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: apples ($2.0 billion), potatoes ($934.1 million), wheat ($791.0 million), hay & haylage ($525.4 million), hops ($475.7 million)

Washington produces twice as many pounds per acre of potatoes than Idaho; grows 230 commodities, right behind California; and sells its apples throughout the United States and in more than 50 countries. Whitman County is particularly renowned for its wheat and barley.

 

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Kevin Dooley // Flickr

#18. Michigan

- Total cropland: 7,766,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 21.5% (#17 highest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 7,192,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 483,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 91,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: corn ($959.6 million), soybeans ($631.3 million), hay & haylage ($514.1 million), apples ($258.6 million), potatoes ($200.4 million)

Michigan’s Traverse City is known as the Cherry Capital of the World, and each year it puts on the National Cherry Festival. The state grows both sweet and tart cherries. It accounts for 70% of the country’s tart cherries and produced 201 million pounds of them in 2018.

 

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Nicolas Henderson // Flickr

#17. Arkansas

- Total cropland: 8,235,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 24.7% (#15 highest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 7,466,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 585,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 184,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: soybeans ($1.2 billion), rice ($985.8 million), corn ($494.8 million), cotton ($414.0 million), hay & haylage ($298.9 million)

Agriculture accounts for $16 billion of Arkansas' economy each year, making it the state’s largest industry. Of the state’s 49,346 farms, 97% are family-owned. Arkansas normally produces about 7% of the United States’s cotton crop, but cotton prices cratered during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

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Wonderlane // Wikicommons

#16. California

- Total cropland: 9,577,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 9.6% (#19 lowest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 8,316,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 780,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 481,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: almonds ($6.1 billion), grapes ($5.4 billion), strawberries ($2.2 billion), pistachios ($1.9 billion), hay & haylage ($1.3 billion)

California’s farms and ranches brought in $50 billion in 2019. More than one-third of the country’s vegetables are grown in California, as are two-thirds of the fruits and nuts. Dairy products and milk top production at $7.34 billion.

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Public Domain

#15. Wisconsin

- Total cropland: 10,071,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 29.1% (#12 highest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 9,301,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 607,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 164,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: corn ($1.7 billion), hay & haylage ($1.2 billion), soybeans ($683.1 million), potatoes ($338.7 million), cranberries ($136.5 million)

Wisconsin is not only first in the production of cheese but also of snap beans, cranberries, and ginseng, among other products. Agriculture brings in $104.8 billion a year to the state’s economy. There are more dairy farms (more than 7,000) than in any other state, with 1.28 million cows.​

 

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Max Pixel

#14. Colorado

- Total cropland: 10,668,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 16.1% (#24 highest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 8,013,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 2,218,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 437,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: hay & haylage ($934.7 million), corn ($631.6 million), wheat ($387.1 million), potatoes ($239.9 million), millet ($61.6 million)

Colorado usually exports nearly $2 billion worth of agricultural products annually to Canada, Mexico, China, Japan, and Korea. Agriculture and related businesses create 170,000 jobs in Colorado.

 

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Sixflashphoto // Wikicommons

#13. Ohio

- Total cropland: 10,829,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 41.4% (#8 highest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 10,190,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 530,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 109,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: soybeans ($1.9 billion), corn ($1.8 billion), hay & haylage ($432.8 million), wheat ($113.2 million), pumpkins ($9.9 million)

Ohio’s top industry is agriculture, bringing in more than $93 billion. Almost half of the state’s farmland is classified as prime (meaning it is the most fertile), but after Texas, Ohio has lost the most acres of high-quality farmland. Families own 91% of the state’s farms, on which more than 200 crops are grown.

 

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OakleyOriginals // Flickr

#12. Oklahoma

- Total cropland: 11,290,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 25.7% (#13 highest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 9,155,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 1,123,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 1,011,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: hay & haylage ($644.9 million), wheat ($473.0 million), corn ($185.4 million), cotton ($183.4 million), soybeans ($107.2 million)

Top crops in Oklahoma are winter wheat and hay. The state has moved into the cotton market and is now behind Texas and Georgia in terms of the number of acres planted.

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Public Domain

#11. Indiana

- Total cropland: 12,710,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 55.4% (#4 highest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 12,216,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 414,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 80,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: corn ($3.3 billion), soybeans ($2.5 billion), hay & haylage ($230.1 million), wheat ($79.8 million), melons ($35.3 million)

Indiana is the eighth-largest exporter of agricultural products in the country. The average size of a farm in the state is 264 acres. Among the 94,000 farmers in the state, the average age is 55.5 years old.

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Markkaempher // Wikicommons

#10. Missouri

- Total cropland: 15,627,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 35.5% (#10 highest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 13,455,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 1,591,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 580,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: soybeans ($2.1 billion), corn ($1.8 billion), hay & haylage ($909.1 million), cotton ($283.5 million), rice ($153.0 million)

Missouri has almost 95,000 farms, nearly all of them family-owned. They average 291 acres and take up two-thirds of the state for 27.8 million acres. Agriculture employs almost 400,000 people in the state.

 

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Tim Evanson // Flickr

#9. Montana

- Total cropland: 16,605,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 17.8% (#19 highest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 12,522,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 3,181,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 902,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: wheat ($1.0 billion), hay & haylage ($907.8 million), barley ($192.1 million), peas ($92.8 million), lentils ($44.1 million)

Meat processing plants became eligible for grants to improve the plants’ storage capabilities during the coronavirus pandemic. The program awarded $7.5 million to 62 processors across the state in early August 2020 and an additional $4.2 million to 40 plants in September, totaling nearly $12 million. The changes allowed the plants to meet heightened local demand.

 

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USDA NRCS South Dakota // Wikicommons

#8. South Dakota

- Total cropland: 19,356,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 39.9% (#9 highest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 17,624,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 1,203,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 528,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: corn ($2.1 billion), soybeans ($1.2 billion), hay & haylage ($747.8 million), wheat ($298.4 million), sunflower ($147.8 million)

South Dakota's agriculture industry is largely concentrated on field crops such as corn, soybeans, and wheat. The number of milk cows, hogs, and pigs has been growing in recent years.

 

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Public Domain

#7. Nebraska

- Total cropland: 21,857,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 44.5% (#6 highest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 20,442,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 1,090,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 326,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: corn ($6.8 billion), soybeans ($2.4 billion), hay & haylage ($632.3 million), wheat ($210.1 million), potatoes ($109.4 million)

Nebraska is appropriately named the Cornhusker State. It grows corn on more acres than any other crop in the state, and leads the country with its popcorn production. Half of the corn crop is used to produce ethanol.

 

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Derek Bakken // Flickr

#6. Minnesota

- Total cropland: 22,452,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 44.1% (#7 highest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 20,394,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 1,887,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 171,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: corn ($4.6 billion), soybeans ($2.6 billion), hay & haylage ($562.9 million), wheat ($375.1 million), potatoes ($194.5 million)

Minnesota’s top commodity for export is soybeans, which would normally go to China, Mexico, Indonesia, Japan, and Taiwan. In 2019, due to the Trump Administration’s trade war with China, farmers received more than $20 billion to offset losses.

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Daniel Schwen // Wikicommons

#5. Illinois

- Total cropland: 23,934,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 67.4% (#2 highest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 22,672,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 1,175,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 88,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: corn ($7.1 billion), soybeans ($4.9 billion), hay & haylage ($201.9 million), wheat ($182.4 million), pumpkins ($17.1 million)

Illinois had 72,000 farms as of 2019, accounting for around 75% of the state land area. The average size is 375 acres, and production varies from cattle to vegetables.

 

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Don Graham // Flickr

#4. Iowa

- Total cropland: 26,714,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 74.7% (#1 highest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 24,750,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 1,738,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 225,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: corn ($9.8 billion), soybeans ($4.3 billion), hay & haylage ($458.9 million), oats ($14.0 million)

Iowa has 87,000 farms, more than 97% of which are owned by families. Iowa leads the country in the production of corn, pigs, and eggs, and is second in soybeans. It also has a grape industry, with 267 vineyards and 104 wineries.

 

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Andrew Filer // Flickr

#3. North Dakota

- Total cropland: 27,120,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 61.4% (#3 highest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 24,080,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 2,718,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 322,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: corn ($1.6 billion), wheat ($1.4 billion), soybeans ($1.4 billion), canola ($420.2 million), hay & haylage ($320.0 million)

The average size of farms in North Dakota is 1,307 acres. Agriculture dominates the state, with 90% of land used for its 30,000 farms and ranches. Among residents, 24% are employed in agriculture or agriculture-related businesses.

 

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On^ste82 // Wikicommons

#2. Kansas

- Total cropland: 28,592,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 54.6% (#5 highest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 25,545,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 2,598,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 449,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: corn ($3.0 billion), soybeans ($1.6 billion), wheat ($1.4 billion), hay & haylage ($773.8 million), sorghum ($668.3 million)

Kansas focuses on growing wheat and grain sorghum and producing beef. Its dairy sector is increasing, with 300 dairy farms in the state.

 

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SteelMaster Buildings // Flickr

#1. Texas

- Total cropland: 29,215,000 acres
- Cropland as a percent of all state land: 17.5% (#21 highest among all states)
- Cropland used for crops: 21,598,000 acres
- Idle cropland: 4,773,000 acres
- Cropland pasture: 2,844,000 acres
- Most valuable crops produced: cotton ($1.8 billion), corn ($1.2 billion), hay & haylage ($1.2 billion), sorghum ($318.0 million), wheat ($306.7 million)

Texas is out front in terms of the number of farms and ranches of any state in the country. Its top crops are cotton, corn, grains for feed, rice, and wheat. There are also olive and pecan orchards and fruit and vegetable farms in the Rio Grande Valley.

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