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50 fascinating facts about farming in America

  • California farms 20% of America’s organic land

    California has 2,700 organic farms, about one-fifth of the country’s total organic land. Only two other states—Wisconsin and New York—have more than 1,000 organic farms.

  • Cotton across the South

    Cotton is grown in 17 states from Virginia to California. Arizona alone grows enough cotton each year to make more than one pair of jeans for every American.

  • The US accounts for 75% of global cranberry production

    Nearly three-quarters of all cranberries are grown in the U.S., mostly in Wisconsin, as well as in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington. It takes about 4,400 cranberries to make a gallon of juice.

  • The US economy has left behind farm and ranch families

    Farm and ranch families make up less than 2% of the U.S. population—down from 70% in 1840. That dramatic shift in America’s workforce shows a complete metamorphosis in the country’s economy, once largely dependent on agriculture.

  • The US is the world’s third-biggest food supplier

    About 40% of the land in the United States is used for agriculture, including cropland and pastureland. U.S. farmers produce 10% of the world’s wheat and 20% percent of the world’s beef, pork, and lamb.

  • US peanut farmers produce 3 million tons of peanuts each year

    Peanut farmers in the U.S. produce their crops on about 1.5 million acres of land. About half the country’s peanuts come from Georgia. Runner peanuts are used mostly in peanut butter, while Virginia and Spanish peanuts are often used for snacks and Valencia peanuts are used largely for roasting and boiling.

  • Over 92% of land in Nebraska is farmland

    With over 45 million acres of farmland, Nebraska has the highest percentage of land dedicated to farming in America. The rest of the top-five states, in order, are South Dakota, North Dakota, Kansas, and Iowa.

  • Cattle represent US farming’s biggest sector

    Over 600,000 farms received most of their income from cattle production. However, the number of cattle operations fell 6% between 2007 and 2012. There were roughly 45 million cows in the U.S. in 1975; by 2014, that number fell to 29 million.

  • Pennsylvania grows the most mushrooms

    Roughly two-thirds of mushrooms grown in the U.S. come from Pennsylvania, with California and Florida coming in second and third for production. There are 300 edible species of mushrooms, 30 of which have been domesticated and 10 of which are produced commercially.

  • Idaho grows a third of all US potatoes

    There’s a reason the potato is the state vegetable of Idaho. The state grows a full third of potatoes in the U.S., bringing in an estimated $27 billion a year. The state has almost 26,000 farms producing over 180 goods.

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