The Agriculture Industry of Texas

Texas was originally an agricultural state, and while it has grown in other industries over the years, agriculture remains a mainstay of the state economy. In fact, according to recent statistics gathered by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Texas is one of the leading producers of many different crops and livestock. [1]

Texas is the Fourth-Largest Agricultural-Producing State in the US

Texas is the Fourth-Largest Agricultural-Producing State in the US

Texas is the fourth-largest agricultural-producing state in the nation. In 2017, Texas produced more than $100 billion in agricultural products. More than half of these products were livestock and poultry products (including beef cattle, dairy cows, and pigs). Texas also produces large quantities of cotton, grain sorghum, rice, and hay. [2]

Texas is the Number One Producer of Both Cotton and Cattle in the Nation

Cotton is a major agricultural product of the state. It is grown in the eastern and southern parts of Texas, including the Rio Grande Valley, Blackland Prairie, and Rolling Plains regions. In 2014, Texas was the biggest producer of cotton and cattle in the USA, accounting for more than 42% of the USA’s total cotton production. [3]

The cotton industry was started by American settlers in 1833 when they introduced it to East Texas. Later on, during the Civil War (1861-65), it became an important crop that helped feed Confederate troops as well as provide raw materials for clothing manufactured by both sides during their conflict with each other.

Texas Has One of the Highest Cattle Populations in the Nation

Texas Has One of the Highest Cattle Populations in the Nation

As the largest cattle-producing state in America, Texas has 13 million head of cattle. This is more than double the amount found in second-ranked Nebraska, which has about 6.8 million head.

Texas is also one of the leaders in dairy production as well. It ranks fourth with 595,000 dairy cows, while California has just over 1.7 million milk cows, Wisconsin (1.27 million), and Idaho with around 600 thousand milk cows. [4]

Corn is produced throughout the State

Corn is produced throughout the State

Corn is a major crop in Texas and the United States. It is also a major agricultural product worldwide, as it is one of the most popular food crops as well as an important feed and industrial crop. Corn can be consumed fresh, processed into cornmeal, syrup, or other edible products, or used to make ethanol fuel.

Peanuts are Harvested Mostly in the Southern Part of the State

Peanuts are Harvested Mostly in the Southern Part of the State

Peanuts are a legume, meaning they grow in pods. The southeastern part of Texas is famous for its peanut production, which is why many people have come to associate peanuts with the South.

Peanuts are very important to the economy in Texas and other southern states like Alabama and Georgia. Peanut crops make up a large portion of these states’ agricultural output, so they are an important crop to understand if you plan to work in farming or agriculture-related fields as an adult.

One way that peanuts are used is by making peanut butter—a very popular food! If you’ve ever eaten peanut butter, you know how good it tastes! 

Sorghum is grown throughout Most of Texas

Sorghum is a grain crop grown throughout much of the southern United States. The plant is used to make syrup, sweeteners, and ethanol. It has been cultivated for more than 4,000 years and is one of the most important staples in the southern United States. In Texas alone, sorghum covers more than 1.55 million acres of land annually. [5]

Turfgrasses and Forage Crops Are Produced Heavily In Texas, But Especially In and Around Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston Areas

The Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston areas are major cities in Texas and are also where turfgrasses and forage crops are produced heavily. Turfgrasses are grasses grown for lawns and golf courses, while forage crops are grown specifically to feed livestock.

  • Turfgrasses

In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, there is a large market for Bermuda grass (a warm-season turfgrass) that can be used on residential lawns as well as on sports fields. Bermuda grass has been used on golf course fairways since the early 20th century when it replaced perennial ryegrass because it was superior at tolerating wear from heavy traffic.

  • Forage Crops

It’s not just lawns that use turfgrass; some farmers also plant turfgrass in order to harvest it before it goes dormant or dies out during the winter months so they can sell it as hay bales or bulk material.

Texas Wouldn’t Be Quite Like it is without its Agriculture Industry

Agriculture is a major part of the Texas economy. The industry provides more than $100 billion in revenue each year, about one-third of all agricultural production in the United States. Texas has approximately 127 million acres under cultivation, making it the country’s leading producer of cotton and grain sorghum. [6] Farmers grow over 90 crops, including corn and wheat, which are exported to other states around America or used locally to produce food items like corn syrup.

Conclusion

The agriculture industry of Texas is a vital contributor to the overall economy, with contributions totaling over $614.5 billion in output, 3.7 million jobs, and over $13.65 average wage per hour. Cotton, cattle, corn, peanuts, sorghum, and turfgrasses are some of the most common crops grown in Texas. [7]

The ability of the agriculture industries to continue growth will be vital to the future of Texas. Irrigation, technological advances, and proper land management will ensure that this industry continues to be essential to the economy.

References

  1. https://www.ers.usda.gov/faqs/ 
  2. https://www.ers.usda.gov/faqs
  3. https://www.statista.com/statistics/248776/top-10-us-states-for-cotton-production 
  4. https://agri.idaho.gov/main/animals/cattle
  5. https://agfax.com/2019/04/30/texas-field-reports-sorghum-acres-to-decrease-despite-excellent-conditions
  6. https://www.texasagriculture.gov/about/texasagstats.aspx
  7. https://texasfarmbureau.org/u-s-agriculture-feeds-the-national-economy/