Ag Week 2022
National Ag Week: As a kid growing up on the farm, I don’t remember thinking about how many jobs outside of farming are agricultural-related. Yet, one in four Nebraska jobs are connected to ag. These jobs provide food, feed, fiber, and fuel and include farming/ranching/livestock and poultry production, processing, manufacturing, transportation, advising/education, storage, inspecting, veterinary/medical, technology, sales, research and development, conservation, government, etc.
What happens in ag impacts all Nebraskans. A strong ag economy (Nebraska ranks #1 in farm cash receipts of all commodities/capita) helps Nebraska’s overall economy. This week is National Ag Week with National Ag Day celebrated on March 22. So, this week I dug into ag facts from Nebraska Dept. of Ag’s ‘Nebraska Ag Facts Brochure’ at: https://nda.nebraska.gov/publications/ne_ag_facts_brochure.pdf and 2022 Ag Facts card: https://nda.nebraska.gov/facts.pdf. Thank you to all who are involved with ag-related careers! And, for youth, there’s numerous opportunities to pursue ag-related careers in the future!
#1: Nebraska’s largest ag sector is beef production with Nebraska leading the nation in commercial cattle slaughter, #2 in cattle on feed, all cattle and calves, beef exports, and commercial red meat production. Nebraska’s beef industry generates approximately $10.6 billion in annual cash receipts. With 6.8 million head of cattle, cattle outnumber people in Nebraska more than three to one. Every part of a cow is used for a wide variety of products, including leather, fishing line, biodegradable outboard motor oil, pet chew toys and gummy candies.
#1: Nebraska ranks 1st in U.S. popcorn production with approximately 34% of the popcorn consumed in the U.S. produced in Nebraska. Popcorn is a nutritious and low-calorie snack! Nebraska also ranks 1st in Great Northern bean production, 2nd for pinto bean production and 4th in the nation for all dry edible bean production.
#2: Nebraska is #2 in ethanol production. With approximately 25 operating ethanol plants utilizing corn as the main feedstock, Nebraska produces more than 2 billion gallons of renewable fuel annually. Distillers grains, a co-product of ethanol production, is an important livestock feed. Nebraska also ranks 2nd in alfalfa hay production and 3rd in total grass and alfalfa hay production with hay grown in every county in Nebraska, which is vital to the state’s livestock producers. A surprising fact I learned is that Nebraska is also #2 in bison production.
#3: Nebraska is #3 in corn production. There are 21,500 corn farmers across the state, producing seven times more corn than in the 1920s. Today’s corn farmers grow 87 percent more corn per ounce of fertilizer than they did 30 years ago and have cut erosion by 44 percent through new tillage practices.
#4: Nebraska ranks 4th in soybean production. Soybeans are used in animal feed, human food products, renewable fuel, ink, coatings, solvents, plastics, lubricants and adhesives. 1 bushel of soybeans can make 1.5 gallons of biodiesel. Nebraska also ranks 4th in grain sorghum with it used for livestock and poultry feed, ethanol, and for human food. Nebraska is also ranked #4 in dry edible pea production.
#5-6: Nebraska ranks 5th in the nation for production of sugar beets with half of U.S. sugar production coming from sugar beets. Nebraska is 6th for all hogs and pigs on farms and in commercial hog slaughter.
Nebraska is the 11th largest wheat producing state; one bushel of wheat weighs 60 lbs on average and can make 64 loaves of bread. For potato chip lovers, Nebraska ranks 11th in potato production with 1/3 of Nebraska’s potatoes processed as potato chips.
In egg production, Nebraska ranks 14th nationally with 9.1 million birds populating Nebraska’s commercial laying facilities producing more than 2.6 billion eggs/year. Nebraska ranks 25th in total milk production from dairy cattle. There are around 78,000 sheep and lambs raised in Nebraska and Nebraska is home to more than 24,000 meat goats and around 3,500 dairy goats.