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50 fascinating facts about farming in America

  • The US is the world’s leader in corn production

    The United States accounts for a third of all corn grown globally and is the biggest corn exporter in the world. Other corn-producing giants are China and Brazil. The biggest corn-growing states in the U.S. are Iowa and Illinois.

  • South Dakota grows the most sunflowers in the country

    South Dakota farmers in 2018 grew 975 million pounds of sunflowers, followed by North Dakota with 739 million pounds. About 217,000 metric tons of sunflower seed oil was consumed in 2018 in the United States.

     

  • Washington is the biggest grower of hops

    Total U.S. production of hops, used in making beer, was about 107 million pounds in 2018. Washington state grew the most, at almost 77 million pounds, while a distant second was Idaho with roughly 16 million pounds.

  • Contracts mitigate risk for American farmers

    A third of U.S. farm production incorporates contracts to manage risk, price, quality, and markets. Production contracts are more common in livestock farming, including most poultry, egg, and hog farms. In a marketing contract, often used in tobacco and sugar beet farming, ownership of the commodity stays with the farmer during production. In a production contract, the buyer usually owns the commodity during production and the farmer is paid a fee.

  • Texas has the most farms in the US

    There are 248,416 farms and ranches in Texas. Women represent 37% of the state's 408,506 producers.

  • Wisconsin stands to lose the most in a dying dairy industry

    Wisconsin has nearly 8,000 dairy farms, more than any other state. But as struggles continue with declining milk prices, a transition to larger farms, international trade issues, and increased rates of suicide among farmers, the state lost more than 550 dairy farms in 2019 alone.

  • U.S leads in GMOs

    The United States has by far the highest acreage of genetically modified crops worldwide including maize, soybean, cotton, canola, sugar beets, alfalfa, papaya, squash, and potatoes. Nearly all U.S. soybeans are genetically modified to tolerate herbicides.

  • Georgia isn’t the biggest peach producer

    Georgia might be known as the “Peach State,” but California grows the most peaches. The Golden State produced 479,000 tons of peaches in 2018, the bulk of the nearly 652,000 tons grown nationwide.

  • 1.12 million tons of strawberries were grown in 2019

    The United States grows the most strawberries of any country in the world, producing around 1.12 million tons in 2019. Most were grown in California, followed by Florida.

  • Hemp is becoming a huge US cash crop once again

    Hemp came to North America in 1606. The plant’s myriad uses led to its use as a staple crop: Farmers were actually legally bound to grow hemp throughout the 1700s. The plant needs no pesticides and little water, and its long roots help prevent erosion and retain topsoil. Several states, including Colorado, Kentucky, and Vermont, allow farmers once again to grow hemp crops.

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