Idaho Potatoes top National list
Washington--When it comes to potatoes, Idaho is #1. Results of the 2012 Census of Agriculture confirmed it. According to the census, Idaho farmers led the United States in acres of potatoes harvested, at 345,217 acres. And believe it or not, this was done by only 794 farms. On these farms, 58 percent of the potato harvested acres were for the fresh market and 42 percent were for processing.
Of course, the other parts of our agriculture are no small potatoes either. Overall, in 2012 we had 24,816 farms in our state, and our farmers sold more than $7.8 billion worth of agricultural products. Nearly a third of that amount – $2.3 billion – came from milk sales. Only three states, California, Wisconsin, and New York, had more milk sales than Idaho. Idaho’s Gooding County ranked fourth in the nation for milk cow inventory. The 2012 census counted nearly 179,000 head of milk cows there.
When it comes to crops, barley is one of the biggest commodities grown in Idaho. Nearly a quarter of all U.S. barley came from our growers. In 2012, they produced more than 51 million bushels of this important crop. Nearly 600,000 acres of Idaho farmland were dedicated to barley. We were also one of the top states for winter wheat, with more than 738,000 acres.
We also have plenty of less conventional agriculture, which was captured by the census. For example, 74 farms raised peacocks and peahens in Idaho in 2012. We also had 276 farms that raised llamas and 20 farms that raised bison. This less conventional agriculture was not limited to livestock. In 2012, the census also counted six farms growing boysenberries and 13 farms with currants.
This is just a snapshot of Idaho’s agriculture. Our state has a lot more to offer from both the conventional and the less traditional sides of agriculture. To see more of Idaho’s 2012 Census of Agriculture results, check out www.agcensus.usda.gov.