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Ag economics in west central Minnesota

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news Willmar, 56201
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

One of the most important industries for west central Minnesota is agriculture. Following is a breakdown of agriculture statistics for Kandiyohi and other regional counties as released in economic profiles by Cameron Macht, regional labor market analyst for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

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Kandiyohi County

Kandiyohi County had 1,386 farms producing more than $309 million in the market value of products sold in 2007, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Kandiyohi County ranked eighth in the state of Minnesota for the total value of agricultural products sold, including fourth in the value of livestock, poultry and their products and 25th for the value of crops.

Kandiyohi County was ranked first in the state for both turkeys and poultry and eggs, fourth in aquaculture, fifth in sheep and lambs, and ninth in sugar beets for sugar.

Kandiyohi County also ranks highly in vegetables harvested for sale (12th), milk and other dairy products from cows (20th), corn for grain (22nd), horses, ponies, mules, burros and donkeys (26th) cattle and calves (27th), and hogs and pigs (30th).

Nationally Kandiyohi County actually ranks fifth out of 2,371 comparable counties in the entire United States for the livestock inventory of turkeys. Kandiyohi County also ranks 27th in the U.S. for sugar beets, 104th for sheep, goats and their products; 113th for vegetables harvested for sale; 131st in corn for grains, 179th in soybeans, and 193rd in hogs and pigs.

Of the 1,386 farms in Kandiyohi County, 616 of them reported farming as their primary occupation (44.4 percent). The average age of the principal operator on these farms was 57.2 years in 2007, extending a steady increase over time.

The average net cash income per farm was 472,593 in 2007, while about 57.5 percent of the farming operations in the county reported sales of more than $100,000 in 2007. According to the 2007 U.S. Census of Agriculture, the trend in agriculture shows that farms are either getting smaller and producing niche products, or getting bigger and producing commodities.

Renville County

Renville County’s largest industry is agriculture, with 1,119 farms producing more than $420.5 million in the market value of products sold in 2007, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

That placed Renville County second in the state of Minnesota, behind just Stearns County. Renville County also ranked second in the state for the value of crops, at $266 million; and 11th in the state for the value of livestock, at $154 million.

Renville County was first in the state for the value of sales of grains, oilseeds, dry beans, and dry peas ($200.6 million), first in the state for aquaculture, third in the state for sheep, goats, and their products; and third in the value of vegetables, melons, potatoes, and sweet potatoes.

Renville County was also first in the state for the total crop acres of corn for grain, vegetables harvested for sale, and sweet corn; as well as third for soybeans for beans and sixth for sugar beets for sugar. On the livestock side, Renville County ranked second in the number of poultry “layers”, fifth in pullets for laying flock replacement, tenth in hogs and pigs, and 18th in turkeys.

Of the 1,119 farms in Renville County, 680 of them reported farming as their primary occupation, and 92.6 percent were males. The average age of the principal operator on these farms was 53.0 years in 2007, a steady increase over time.

The average net cash income per farm was $118,322 in 2007, while just over half (52.5 percent) of the farms in the county reported sales of more than $100,000 in 2007. According to the 2007 U.S. Census of Agriculture, the trend in agriculture shows that farms are either getting smaller and producing niche products, or getting bigger and producing commodities.

Meeker County

An important industry for Meeker County is agriculture, with 1,146 farms producing just over $204 million in the market value of products sold in 2007, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. At that level, Meeker County ranked 27th in the state of Minnesota for the total value of agricultural products sold, including 40th in the value of crops and 17th in the value of livestock, poultry, and their products.

Meeker County was ranked highest in a couple categories, including fourth in the state for livestock inventory of turkeys, 4th in inventory of layers, and sixth in the number of pullets for laying flock replacement, as well as 32nd in the number of cattle and calves and 46th in the count of hogs and pigs.

On the crop side, Meeker County ranks 14th highest in the state in corn for silage, and 29th for both corn for grain and soybeans for beans.

Of the 1,146 farms in Meeker County, 507 of them reported farming as their primary occupation (44.2 percent). The average age of the principal operator on these farms was 54.8 years in 2007, extending a steady increase over time. The average net cash income per farm was $33,907 in 2007, while just one-quarter (23.5 percent) of the farming operations in the county reported sales of more than $100,000 in 2007.

Chippewa, Yellow Medicine counties

Agriculture is also an important industry in both Chippewa and Yellow Medicine counties, with 720 farms in Chippewa County producing more than $169 million in the market value of products sold in 2007 and 986 farms producing $209 million in Yellow Medicine County, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That placed Yellow Medicine 25th in the state of Minnesota, including 19th in the state for the value of crops and 35th for the value of livestock; and Chippewa County in 37th place, including 14th in the value of crops and 57th in the value of livestock.

Yellow Medicine County ranked as high as 13th in the state for acres of corn for grain and inventory of sheep and lambs; as well as 14th in the value of sales for grains, oilseeds, dry beans, and dry peas and 15th in the acres of soybeans for beans. Chippewa County ranked 6th in acres for dry edible beans, 7th in acres for sugar beets, and seveth in the value of sales for other crops and hay. Chippewa County also ranked in the top 30 for turkeys and broilers and other meat-type chickens, according to the Department of Agriculture statistics.

Of the 720 farms in Chippewa County, 399 of them reported farming as their primary occupation (55.4 percent), and 92.1 percent were males. The average age of the principal operator on these farms was 55.3 years in 2007, a steady increase over time. The average net cash income per farm was $86,477 in 2007, while two-tenths (41.0 percent) of the farms in the county reported sales of more than $100,000 in 2007. Yellow Medicine had 542 primary operators out of the 986 farms (55.0 percent), with an average age of 56.0 years. The average net cash income per farm was $74,146 in 2007, while two-fifths (43.4 percent) of the farms in the county reported sales of more than $100,000 in 2007.

According to the 2007 U.S. Census of Agriculture, the national trend in agriculture shows that farms are either getting smaller and producing niche products, or getting bigger and producing commodities.

--Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development

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