Farm Talk

Area Farm & Ranch News

June 25, 2013

The importance of agriculture

Parsons, Kansas — I know this is not breaking news (and I am probably preaching to the choir), but agriculture is important, even in the modern world. Recently, I was asked to speak at a Rotary Club meeting in Pittsburg, and the topic I was asked to present was the importance of agriculture. Honestly, I am not accustomed to speaking about such a broad topic, but I truly appreciated the experience.

I began by asking the crowd of 40 or so how many of them grew up on a farm. I should admit that I am naïve, but I was surprised to see only six hands raised (excluding myself). I guess I expected a few more hands raised, though I probably should not have been so surprised since the number of farms is still decreasing.

How important is agriculture to Kansas? The Kansas Agricultural Statistics releases a Kansas Farm Fact report annually from which I thought I would highlight some points from the 2012 Fact Sheet that is based off of data from 2011.

Kansas was ranked first in wheat production with 276,500,000 bushels which comprised 13.8 percent of the wheat produced in the United States. Just for visualization sake, that much wheat would fill the inside of the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium 3.3 times.

Kansas also ranked first in grain sorghum production with 110,000,000 bushels which is 51.3 percent of the grain sorghum produced in the United States. For a state known as “The Sunflower State”, Kansas only ranked third in sunflowers produced with 149,400,000 pounds. Kansas also ranked third in cattle slaughtered with 6,417,800 head which was 18.8 percent of the cattle slaughtered in the US.

Corn production ranked 9th with 449,400,000 bushels harvested. This made up only 3.6 percent of the US total which gives you an idea of just how much corn was produced nationwide. Soybean production ranked 11th with 101,250,000 bushels produced, which was 3.3 percent of the US total.

Kansas ranked third in the amount of land in farms with 46,000,000 acres with the average farm size being 702 acres. This number really needs the context that the whole state of Kansas is made up of just over 52,000,000 acres.

There were many more rankings for many more commodities, but if you total up all of the value of the farm marketing in 2011, it would be $15,858,516,000 with $5,286,800,000 worth of commodities exported. Again, for comparison sake, the aeronautics industry exported $2,131,015,077 for 2011 according to the Kansas Department of Commerce.

So why is agriculture important today? The world population continues to grow at a fairly rapid rate. As of writing this, there are 7,093,065,650 people in the world according to the world population clock on the US Census Bureau Website (http://www.census.g ov/popclock/) and 316,090,650 people in the United States. When you read this, check out the number for yourself and see how much it changes over a period of time.

The real question facing agriculture is can we feed this number of people? I’m afraid I don’t know the answer to that question. Farmers and ranchers have been producing more and more commodities from, essentially, the same amount of acres used. To keep up with the population growth, efficiencies must increase at a similar rate.

If you have questions or would like more information, please call me at the office (620) 724-8233, or e-mail me at jcoltrain@ksu .edu, or visit the Wildcat Extension District Website at www.wildcatdistrict.ksu .edu. £


Text Only
Area Farm & Ranch News
  • Stockpiled bermudagrass can reduce winter feed costs

    Harvested forage costs are a large part of the production costs associated with cow-calf enterprises.  
    An Oklahoma State University trial had the objective to economically evaluate stockpiled bermudagrass. The research found that this practice can reduce cow-wintering costs.

    July 22, 2014

  • FSFS to feature well drilling, equipment demonstrations

    The 40th Four State Farm Show is this weekend, and exhibitors will have over 25 acres of agricultural products and services on display.

    July 15, 2014

  • Corn growers smile in June rains, haymakers fret at few sunny days

    June, noted for the start of the hot, dry days of summer, became a spring-rain month this year.
    All grasses, including corn, continued to grow.

    July 8, 2014

  • Kansas net farm income continued to slide in 2013

    Kansas farmers took a one-two punch with drought and lower grain prices in 2013 and the result was a drop in average net income to its lowest level since 2009, according to data from the Kansas Farm Management Association’s annual PROFITLINK Analysis.

    July 8, 2014

  • Ergot hits Mo. pastures

    The first two weeks of July are prime time for ergot to appear in common pasture grasses, said University of Missouri Extension forage specialist Craig Roberts.
    Wet, cool weather, followed by heat and humidity, creates favorable conditions for the disease. “With the amount of moisture in the ground and in the plants, the state turns into an incubator when it gets hot,” Roberts said.

    July 1, 2014

  • Mo. AG files lawsuit for Barry Co. fish kill

    Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has filed suit against Tyson Foods Inc. seeking civil penalties and compensation for state costs and natural resource damages for a large fish kill in southwestern Missouri.

    June 24, 2014

  • MU offers online grain marketing ‘game’

    Market values in farming don’t stay the same for very long. Farm prices are like Missouri weather.  We don’t have to wait very long for a change.

    June 17, 2014

  • Check grasshopper populations now

    Parts of Oklahoma that have suffered from a lack of rainfall are likely to experience grasshopper infestations the likes of a Biblical plague this summer.

    June 10, 2014

  • dairy-days-Fitting-'13.jpg Dairy Days tradition continues in NW Ark.

    Youth from around the area will head to Bentonville, Ark., for the 25th Annual 4-State Dairy Days and Dairy Camp on June 19-22.

    June 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • SEK poultry litter program announced

    The Kansas Department of Agriculture – Division of Conservation has announced a program for landowners using poultry litter as part of their fertilizer program in a 10-county targeted area for poultry litter.

    May 28, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Seasonal Content