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Arkansas Farming Facts


Agriculture is Arkansas’ largest industry, adding around $16 billion to the state’s economy annually. The Natural State’s diverse landscape and climate produce a wide variety of Arkansas agricultural products. Arkansas is a major exporter of rice, soybeans, cotton, poultry and feed grains. There are 49,346 farms statewide and 97 percent of Arkansas’ farms are family-owned. A mere 16 percent of Arkansas’ farms account for a whopping 92 percent of production. Below you will find a long list of Arkansas agriculture fun facts.

Arkansas’ Top Retailers, Producers and Processors

  • Wal-Mart: the largest food retailer in the world.
  • Tyson Foods: the largest poultry and meat processor in the U.S.
  • Riceland Foods: the largest rice exporter in the U.S.

Arkansas Landscape
Agriculture and Forestry use more than 95 percent of Arkansas’ land resources.

  • 14.5 million acres of farmland    
  • 6.2 million acres of crops
  • 8.3 million acres of livestock and hay
  • 18.8 million acres of forest

Farming Facts - The Average Arkansas Farm

  • Acres: 308
  • Farmer’s Age: 57
  • Value of Land and Buildings: $658,732
  • Value of Equipment: $90,822
  • Yearly farm expenses: $124,324
  • Yearly farm revenue: $160,270

Arkansas Agriculture Fun Facts

  • Only 11.6-cents of every dollar you spend at the grocery store goes to a farmer.
  • More than 30 cents of every dollar you spend will go to the processing, packaging, transporting, and energy costs of that product.
  • In the next 50 years farmers around the world will have to feed more people than we did the previous 100 years.
  • Farmers will have to become more productive to feed the growing world population.  
  • Today, with almost 7 billion people there is only 1.7 acres of agricultural land in the world per person.
  • Each U.S. farmer already feeds more than 150 people up from 43 just 50 years ago.
  • Genetically enhanced crops and commercial livestock operations significantly improve the efficiency and sustainability of agriculture production allowing farmers to produce more with fewer inputs.
  • Food products face strict regulations from state and federal governments.
    •  A hamburger is subject to 41,000 state and federal regulations
  •  Organic agriculture provides an excellent market for producers to receive a premium for their production, which will cost more to produce.
  • Farmers are among the best stewards of the land as they realize they must protect the land in order for it to remain productive.
  • Arkansas is one of the few states where average per capita farm income exceeds non-farm per capita income.

Commodities

Aquaculture

  • Around 11,000 acres are devoted to catfish production in Arkansas.  
  • The value of catfish production peaked at $78.1 million in 2007 with 166 farms.

Beef Cattle

  • Arkansas' cattle inventory exceeds 1.7 million head, with 28,292 farms in Arkansas producing cattle.
  • Arkansas ranks 12th nationally in beef cows on farms.

Cotton

  •  Arkansas ranks 3rd in production, with around 7 percent of the U.S. crop
  •  Arkansas has the 4th highest yield per acre behind only California, Arizona, and Missouri.

Dairy

  •  Arkansas produces more than 17 million gallons of milk annually. 
  • Use of the U.S. milk supply:
    • Cheese - 49 percent  
    • Fluid milk - 28 percent  
    • Butter - 7 percent  
    • Frozen Products - 7 percent  
    • Other - 9 percent

Forestry

  • Arkansas has 18,778,660 acres of forest land representing approximately 56 percent of the total land base:
    • 58 percent of timberland is owned by private landowners.
    • 7 percent of timberland is publicly owned.
    • 25 percent of forestland is owned by the forestry industry
  • Arkansas is the fifth-largest softwood lumber producing state.

Horticulture

  • Almost $50 million of horticulture products come from nursery and greenhouse products.  
  • More than 3 million pounds of tomatoes, the state's top vegetable crop, are produced annually.  
  • Peach production, Arkansas' largest fruit crop, annually tops 10 million pounds.

Pork

  • More than 1.8 million pigs are produced in Arkansas annually.  
  • The total value of Arkansas pork production exceeds $80 million per year.  

Poultry

  • Arkansas is 2nd in the nation in broiler production,
  • About 2,500 farms in Arkansas produce chickens.

Rice

  • Arkansas ranks 1st in the nation in rice production, producing close to 50 percent of the nation’s rice.
  • More than 60 percent of the rice produced in Arkansas is exported.

Soybeans

  •  Arkansas is the 10th largest soybean producing state
  •  Approximately 50 percent of Arkansas’s crop is exported. The remainder is processed into oil and meal.

Wheat

  • In Arkansas, wheat is a winter crop that is planted in the fall and harvested in the spring.  It is the green fields you see in January.
  • Arkansas produces soft red wheat, which is used in many confectionery products and for blending for bread products.