State’s field crops production value; had 23 percent rise last year


Good prices and good yields helped Arkansas farmers enjoy a 23-percent increase in total value of production for principal field crops in 2012, officials said.

Eugene Young, deputy director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service in Little Rock, said Friday that much of the increase could be attributed to an 86-percent jump in the state’s corn value of production for the year. The overall value of production for principal field crops statewide was $5.22 billion. The 2011 value was $4.25 billion.

The top three crop commodities — rice, soybeans and corn — accounted for 80 percent of the total value of production for principal field crops. All principal field crops in Arkansas — except cotton, cottonseed, oats and wheat — showed increases in value of production from 2011, according to a USDA crop values report.

“We saw a record corn yield,” said Young. “There was a severe drought in the upper corn belt, where acreage can’t be irrigated like it can be here. It was unfortunate for some elsewhere, but we reaped the benefits of misfortune in those other states.”

Sweet potatoes in Arkansas showed the largest value of production percentage increase from 2011 at 141 percent, followed by grain sorghum at 90 percent and corn for grain at 86 percent. Rice marked a record yield in 2012 and showed a 30-percent hike in value of production from the previous year.

Soybean yields soared to 43 bushels an acre. Cotton showed the biggest decline in value of production from 2011 at 28 percent.

At the national level, the value of production for principal field crops was up 7 percent, or $188 million, from 2011. At $77.3 billion, corn was the leading field crop, followed by soybeans at $43.2 billion and all hay at $18.6 billion.