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The United States is one of the leading countries in the global agriculture market due to its effective management of the industry. According to the census of agriculture, there were around 2.2 million farms that covered an area of 922 acres in 2007 and it is believed that US farmers produce approximately 143$ billion worth of crops each year. So, the question is – what are the most grown crops in the United States?
Most grown crops in the USA are Oats, Barley, Rice, Sorghum, Cotton, Durum Wheat and Spring Wheat, Winter Wheat, Hay, Soybean, and Corn.
In this article, we are going to provide detailed information regarding every crop in order to give you a proper understanding of the USA’s successful agriculture industry and it will be extremely useful if you are planning to build a farm in the United States. Let’s Start!
Oats is a species of cereal grain and it can have several uses in foods. Usually, they are used to make oatmeal by rolling or crushing. Oatmeal is mainly eaten as a porridge – by chopping it and make in water or milk, but it can also be suitable in baked goods such as oat bread, oatmeal cookies, and oatcakes. It is also used as a milk substitute.
As for the cultivation, oats enjoy places with cool and wet weather conditions and they require fewer sunny days. We can find these kinds of areas in the USA in South Dakota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Texas. These are the main states where most oats are produced. We have to note that Canada is the world’s biggest oat exporter and around 70% of the oats in the USA are supplied by them. The average annual production of the oat in the United States from 2015 to 2019 was 53 million bushels.
Barley is a cereal grain that belongs to a grass family and it is believed to be the oldest cultivated grain coming from as early as 10.000 years ago. It has various usage as it can be used for producing malt, human food, and livestock feed. Barley is rich in protein and most often we associate it with beer and different alcoholic drinks.
It is one of the largest grains produced in the United States. The farmers harvested 1.95 million acres of barley and produced 141.9 million bushels in 2017 which resulted in a 614.3$ million profit. The leading states in barley production are Idaho, Montana, and North Dakota. It is a highly adapted and short-season crop that loves temperate areas and it is relatively tolerant towards drought. Therefore, it is popular in those states as the weather works best for it.
Rice is one of the important grains in terms of nutrition and caloric intake and there are different variants of it depending on the region. Although the southern Asian countries lead in the production of rice, we can find lands rich for this crop in the United States as well. However, American farmers mainly produce brown rice, rough rice, and long-grain rice and for the most part, the purpose is to export.
The rice production covered nearly 3.1 million acres in the US from 2000 to 2009 years and the largest states include Arkansas, California, Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana, and Missouri. The leading one was Arkansas in 2019 where 84.26 million centum weight of rice was manufactured. California was in second place with the 41.93 million centum weight of rice.
Sorghum is probably the least popular crop on our list as many people don’t know what it is, but it plays a significant part in many people’s lives. This is a gluten-free and non-GMO grain originating from ancient times. It can be an excellent alternative grain for those who are gluten intolerant and deal with celiac diseases.
As for the United States, there are 21 states producing sorghum and the top 5 are – Kansas, Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma, and South Dakota. Farmers had an extremely successful year in 2018 when they harvested 365 million bushels of sorghum covering 5.7 million acres. Kansas was the leading state in 2019 as well and they manufactured 204 million bushels alone. Usually, sorghum is grown on dryland acres and we can find the Sorghum Belt from South Dakota to South Texas.
Cotton is a soft fiber mainly intended for creating clothing and different textiles. When it comes to leading countries in the production of cotton United States is in third place after China and India. However, it is the top cotton exporter country in the world. There are approximately 99% of Upland cotton made in the US and the rest is American Pima.
We can find cotton fiber production mainly in southern and western states including Texas, Arizona, California, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana. There were approximately 20 million bales of cotton produced in the US in 2019 and the profit of the industry is 25$ billion each year and the employers include around 200.000 people. Therefore, cotton production has a significant impact on the economy.
Texas is the leading state in the US as it manufactures nearly 25% of the country’s cotton crop and it produced approximately 6.94 million bales in 2018.
5. Spring Wheat
The United States is in third place in the production of wheat and just like cotton, it is behind China and India. Wheat is produced in almost every state in the US and half of the whole production is exported which makes the US the leading country in the world.
There are different kinds of wheat in the US and two main categories are based on climate – spring and winter wheat. Farmers plant the spring wheat after frozen soil is thawed and it includes nearly 25% of all wheat production. Spring Wheat contains durum – the hardest type of wheat that is used for pasta, baked goods, and cake flour. The leading states that manufacture spring wheat include North Dakota, Arkansas, and Montana.
4. Winter Wheat
As we have already mentioned above, there are two major categories of wheat in the US, and winter wheat includes 75% of whole wheat production. Usually, the flour from the winter wheat is intended for making cookies, crackers, and cakes. Kansas is the leading state that produces nearly 11 million tons of winter wheat each year, followed by North Dakota with 10 million tons. The price of wheat is increasing gradually and farmers are trying to cope with this by increasing forecast acreage.
Hay is unique on our list as it is not a single crop but a combination of different types of crops intended for feeding. One more distinguishing aspect of hay is that there is no international export market for it and it is only produced and sold locally. Hay is a dried grass that is used as animal fodder. Farmers cut the dried grass and keep it for the winter in order to feed domesticated livestock including different types of animals.
As for the United States, the statistic shows slight downfall in hay production starting from 2010. The country produced approximately 128 million tons of hay in 2019. Recently, farmers are trying to take advantage of higher-priced grains by pulling hay out of production and planting corn and other grains.
The United States is the leading country in the world when it comes to soy, as it manufactures 35% of the world’s total soy. Farmers first started producing soy in the 1800s when the first soybeans came to the US by a Chinese ship. Nowadays, around 2 billion bushels are made by 29 states.
The leading states that produced the highest volume of soybeans were Iowa, Illinois, and Minnesota in 2019. However, the statistic showed decreased numbers compared to the previous year from 40$ billion to 30$ billion. Soybean is mainly used for livestock feed and as for human food it can be utilized in several products including candy, tofu, soymilk, and so on. Soy is one of the top exported grains in the US as 60% is going to abroad customers.
Corn is the largest agricultural crop produced in the United States. It is originated 2000 years ago in North America and it was first introduced to Europe by Christopher Columbus. Today, the production of corn plays a very important role in the economy of the US.
The total production of corn in the US in 2019 was around 13 billion bushels. It is mainly used to manufacture ethanol and its co-product Distillers’ Dried Grains with Soluble. Livestock feed includes 33% of the total corn production consisting of different animals and the rest is for export and other processes. The major states that manufacture the highest number of corns are – Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, and Minnesota. Iowa alone produces 3 times as much corn as Mexico and Nebraska is known as a “Cornhusker State”.
In this article, we have listed the 10 most grown crops in the United States and provided brief information regarding each one. We hope this article helps you to get a proper idea of agriculture in the US and it will be helpful if you decide to take part in farming activities.