California continued as the nation’s leading crop producer last year in terms of value, mostly because of the state’s huge output of fruits and vegetables.
An annual report by the Agriculture Department showed California accounted for $10.6 billion of the estimated $81.1 billion worth of crops produced by U.S. farmers last year--13% of the total.
Comparatively, the Corn Belt giants of Iowa and Illinois were shown in virtually a dead heat in second and third place respectively.
But nearly all of the crop value produced in the two Corn Belt states--more than $5.8 billion in Iowa and $5.75 billion in Illinois--came from “field and miscellaneous crops” such as corn and soybeans.
In California, field crops were estimated at $3.18 billion, while fruits and nuts contributed $4.83 billion and commercial vegetables, $2.59 billion.
Nationally, according to the 1990 estimates, field crops were valued at more than $67.4 billion, while fruits and nuts were $8.74 billion and commercial vegetables, $4.96 billion.
Corn is traditionally the No. 1 crop in value. It was estimated at more than $18 billion last year. Soybeans were second at $11.2 billion, followed closely by another perennial high-value crop, baled hay, at $11.1 billion. Wheat was estimated at $7.3 billion, and cotton rounded out the top five at $5.1 billion.
Estimates are compiled by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service using acreage, yield and price estimates and projections.