The numbers tell the story of Washington agriculture
Washington farms and ranches produce more than 300 different crops with a combined value of about $11 billion – a figure that triples once food processing is factored in.
Agriculture is one of Washington’s most important private sectors, along with aerospace and tech.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agriculture Statistical Service tallied 35,500 agriculture operations in its 2020 Washington survey. Collectively, they cultivate 14.6 million acres.
Big numbers give an overview, but they only go so far. Here is a look at Washington agriculture by the numbers, gleaned from the USDA, the Washington Department of Agriculture and the state Office of Financial Services:
|Crop land values: Ag land was worth $2,610 per acre in 2020, or $7,650 for irrigated acres and $1,240 for dry ones. Pastureland was worth $740 an acre.|
|Earnings: Of the 35,500 farm operations, 1,450 earned $1 million or more while 21,000 earned less than $10,000. Nearly 90% of Washington farms sell less than $250,000 worth of product per year.|
|No. 1 in the U.S.: Washington is the nation’s leading producer of apples (69% of the U.S. total), hops (73.2%), spearmint oil (69%), sweet cherries (67.5%) and pears (45.3%). It lost its No. 1 ranking for asparagus to Michigan in 2020.|
|No. 2 in the U.S.: Washington is second to Idaho for potatoes (25% of the U.S. total) and to California for grapes (5.7%).|
|Top 10 commodities in 2019: Apples ($1.95 billion), milk ($1.28 billion), potatoes ($934 million), wheat ($792.5 million), cattle ($698.7 million), hops ($475 million), hay ($468 million), cherries ($393.5 million), grapes ($308 million) and onions ($180 million).|
|Top trading partners in 2020: Canada ($1.2 billion), Japan ($1.1 billion), China ($518 million), South Korea ($459 million), The Philippines ($343 million), Mexico ($316 million), Taiwan ($268 million), Indonesia ($258 million), Hong Kong ($231 million) and Vietnam ($199 million).|
|Top 10 exports in 2020: Fish and seafood ($1 billion), frozen french fries ($784 million), wheat ($663 million), apples ($637 million), hay ($508 million), dairy ($500 million), fresh sweet cherries ($342 million), hop cones and extracts ($268 million), beef ($214 million), pulses ($170 million)|
|Head of cattle slaughtered: Washington is the Northwest’s leading processor of beef, slaughtering twice as many animals in 2020 as No. 2 Idaho. The headcount was 1.1 million in 2020, down from 1.15 million in 2019. The U.S. total was 32.7 million.|