U.S. production numbers don?t lie: Kansas still a national leader in ag

Hands down, food production has been the single most important vocation in human history. Farming and ranching helped pave the way for modern civilization.

Today as in the past, feeding the world is vital to our growth as a community, region, state and nation. Our ability to produce the safest, most wholesome food in the world has allowed us to progress as a civilization.

When we think of food production, our state and the farmers and ranchers who farm our fertile soil rank with the best in production agriculture. The Sunflower State ranks at the top when it comes to crop and livestock production.

According to 2007 figures, Kansas had 63,800 farms. Land in farms totaled 47.2 million acres. The average farm size was 740 acres.

Cattle and calves totaled 6.7 million head. Hogs and pigs amounted to 1.86 million while sheep were 98,000 head. Milk cows totaled 109,000, while milk production amounted to 19,734 pounds per cow.

Last year, farmers produced crops worth $4.518 billion according to Kansas State Agricultural Statistics. Livestock production accounted for $7.211 billion more for a total of $11.729 billion.

The latest figures on crops and livestock produced in Kansas and shipped abroad totaled almost $3,835 billion.

Kansas lost its wheat crown to North Dakota. Wheat production totaled 283.8 million bushels in 2007. This ranked second.

We led the nation in wheat flour milled with 34.614 million cwt. Kansas farmers produced 212 million bushels of sorghum grain in ?07. This ranked first in the country. We ranked second in sorghum silage production with 1.12 million tons.

Kansas ranked first in the number of cattle processed with a total of 7.726 million head. Kansas ranked second in number of cattle and calves on farms with 6.7 million. Kansas ranked third in red meat processed with 6.225 million pounds. Hog inventories ranked ninth with 1.87 million head.

The Sunflower State ranked third in sunflower production with 234.25 million pounds. We placed sixth in all hay produced with 6.37 million tons and 11th with all alfalfa hay produced with 2.8 million tons.

In soybean production, Kansas now ranks 11th with 84.15 million bushels. Kansas corn ranked eighth with 518 million bushels.

Our state remains one of the most diversified in the nation in terms of crop and livestock production.

Our Kansas farmers and ranchers also produce dry edible beans, oats, corn silage, rye and barley.

Specialty crops like pecans, fruits, vegetables and popcorn are produced in our rich Kansas soil, too.

Kansas farmers and ranchers also raise chickens, sheep, buffalo, ostriches, turkeys and a few other exotic creatures.

Yes, Kansas is blessed with some of the finest farmland and farmers and ranchers in the world.

By using this land wisely, with the help of the latest technology and research, we will continue to feed the hungry mouths of the world.

John Schlageck is a leading commentator on agriculture and rural Kansas. Born and raised on a diversified farm in northwestern Kansas, his writing reflects a lifetime of experience, knowledge and passion.

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