Special Report

Most Important Agricultural Product From Each State

Joe Raedle / Newsmakers / Getty Images

The U.S. agricultural sector contributed less than 1% to the national GDP in the second quarter of 2018, the smallest share in recorded history. While the economic impact of the sector on a national scale is the smallest ever, it remains a major sector in some parts of the country, accounting for more than 5% of GDP and 10% of total employment.

U.S. agricultural production is largely concentrated in the Great Plains, which is characterized by expanses of flat, arable land. In many Great Plains states, the most important agricultural products — the crop or livestock with the largest total production values — are cattle, corn, and soybeans. Relative to their size of their economy, these states have the largest agriculture sectors in the country, with farm output per worker more than 10 times greater than in Northeastern states with smaller farm economies.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed the total production value of approximately 170 agricultural commodities in 2017 using data from the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. We considered livestock and plants and excluded non-food agricultural products, such as cotton, tobacco, and hay.

Click here to see the most important agricultural product from each state.
Click here to see our detailed findings and methodology.

Source: shan213 / Flickr

1. Alabama: Chickens
> Value of most important product: $3.3 billion
> Total crop production: $5.6 billion (25th largest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 3.0% (25th largest)
> Other major crops: Cattle, corn, and peanuts

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Source: L T Hunter / Wikimedia Commons

2. Alaska: Cattle
> Value of most important product: $4.2 million
> Total crop production: $58.9 million (2nd smallest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 0.9% (the smallest)
> Other major crops: Potatoes, barley, and oats

Source: ChuckSchugPhotography / Getty Images

3. Arizona: Cattle
> Value of most important product: $584.6 million
> Total crop production: $3.7 billion (13th smallest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 2.1% (19th smallest)
> Other major crops: Lettuce, spinach, and melons

Source: 46183897@N00 / Flickr

4. Arkansas: Chickens
> Value of most important product: $3.8 billion
> Total crop production: $9.8 billion (19th largest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 4.8% (14th largest)
> Other major crops: Soybeans, rice, and cattle

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Source: ah_fotobox / Getty Images

5. California: Grapes
> Value of most important product: $5.8 billion
> Total crop production: $42.6 billion (15th largest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 5.5% (the largest)
> Other major crops: Almonds, grapes, and strawberries

Source: cgbaldauf / Getty Images

6. Colorado: Cattle
> Value of most important product: $2.0 billion
> Total crop production: $7.8 billion (25th smallest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 2.8% (20th largest)
> Other major crops: Corn, potatoes, and sorghum

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Source: Helioscribe / Getty Images

7. Connecticut: Apples
> Value of most important product: $19.9 million
> Total crop production: $550.6 million (8th smallest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 1.6% (5th smallest)
> Other major crops: Cattle, maple syrup, and apples

Source: 22748341@N00 / Flickr

8. Delaware: Chickens
> Value of most important product: $1.0 billion
> Total crop production: $1.3 billion (9th smallest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 1.7% (12th smallest)
> Other major crops: Corn, soybeans, and melons

Source: MoJoStudio / Getty Images

9. Florida: Oranges
> Value of most important product: $1.0 billion
> Total crop production: $7.7 billion (17th smallest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 2.3% (21st largest)
> Other major crops: Cattle, strawberries, and tomatoes

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Source: jason-riedy / Flickr

10. Georgia: Chickens
> Value of most important product: $4.4 billion
> Total crop production: $9.3 billion (16th smallest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 2.2% (15th largest)
> Other major crops: Peanuts, cattle, and pecans

Source: lightfast / Getty Images

11. Hawaii: Macadamias
> Value of most important product: $53.9 million
> Total crop production: $661.3 million (22nd largest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 3.7% (6th smallest)
> Other major crops: Cattle, coffee, and papayas

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Source: blmidaho / Flickr

12. Idaho: Cattle
> Value of most important product: $1.4 billion
> Total crop production: $7.8 billion (2nd largest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 13.5% (19th largest)
> Other major crops: Potatoes, barley, and corn

Source: dszc / Getty Images

13. Illinois: Corn
> Value of most important product: $7.4 billion
> Total crop production: $17.2 billion (11th smallest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 1.9% (7th largest)
> Other major crops: Soybeans, cattle, and potatoes

Source: Purdue9394 / Getty Images

14. Indiana: Corn
> Value of most important product: $3.2 billion
> Total crop production: $11.2 billion (23rd smallest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 2.7% (10th largest)
> Other major crops: Soybeans, cattle, and tomatoes

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Source: DarcyMaulsby / Getty Images

15. Iowa: Corn
> Value of most important product: $8.5 billion
> Total crop production: $30.8 billion (8th largest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 8.6% (2nd largest)
> Other major crops: Soybeans, cattle, and oats

Source: action74 / Getty Images

16. Kansas: Cattle
> Value of most important product: $4.5 billion
> Total crop production: $18.5 billion (10th largest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 6.4% (6th largest)
> Other major crops: Corn, soybeans, and sorghum

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Source: phattaraphum / Getty Images

17. Kentucky: Chickens
> Value of most important product: $1.0 billion
> Total crop production: $5.1 billion (9th largest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 6.4% (24th smallest)
> Other major crops: Soybeans, corn, and cattle

Source: Judy Darby / Getty Images

18. Louisiana: Soybeans
> Value of most important product: $654.8 million
> Total crop production: $3.8 billion (19th smallest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 2.4% (21st smallest)
> Other major crops: Corn, rice, and cattle

Source: briancweed / Getty Images

19. Maine: Potatoes
> Value of most important product: $155.0 million
> Total crop production: $763.1 million (18th largest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 5.0% (7th smallest)
> Other major crops: Maple Syrup, cattle, and apples

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Source: JZHunt / Getty Images

20. Maryland: Chickens
> Value of most important product: $1.0 billion
> Total crop production: $2.3 billion (6th smallest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 1.2% (15th smallest)
> Other major crops: Corn, soybeans, and cattle

Source: KenWiedemann / Getty Images

21. Massachusetts: Cranberries
> Value of most important product: $59.7 million
> Total crop production: $492.2 million (3rd smallest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 0.9% (4th smallest)
> Other major crops: Apples and maple syrup

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Source: liveslow / Getty Images

22. Michigan: Corn
> Value of most important product: $1.0 billion
> Total crop production: $8.7 billion (23rd largest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 3.6% (18th largest)
> Other major crops: Soybeans, cattle, and apples

Source: Willard / Getty Images

23. Minnesota: Corn
> Value of most important product: $4.5 billion
> Total crop production: $21.3 billion (17th largest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 5.0% (5th largest)
> Other major crops: Soybeans, cattle, and chickens

Source: keepphotos / Getty Images

24. Mississippi: Chickens
> Value of most important product: $2.6 billion
> Total crop production: $6.4 billion (16th largest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 5.2% (24th largest)
> Other major crops: Soybeans, corn, and cattle

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Source: sharply_done / Getty Images

25. Missouri: Soybeans
> Value of most important product: $2.7 billion
> Total crop production: $9.2 billion (21st largest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 3.8% (16th largest)
> Other major crops: Cattle, corn, and chickens

Source: cgbaldauf / Getty Images

26. Montana: Cattle
> Value of most important product: $1.3 billion
> Total crop production: $4.2 billion (6th largest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 9.6% (22nd smallest)
> Other major crops: Barley, lentils, and beans

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Source: PrairieArtProject / Getty Images

27. Nebraska: Cattle
> Value of most important product: $6.2 billion
> Total crop production: $23.1 billion (7th largest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 9.1% (4th largest)
> Other major crops: Corn, soybeans, and potatoes

Source: powerofforever / Getty Images

28. Nevada: Cattle
> Value of most important product: $243.2 million
> Total crop production: $764.1 million (4th smallest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 0.9% (8th smallest)
> Other major crops: Corn

Source: KuntalSaha / Getty Images

29. New Hampshire: Cattle
> Value of most important product: $9.0 million
> Total crop production: $190.9 million (10th smallest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 1.7% (3rd smallest)
> Other major crops: Maple Syrup

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Source: JEBarnhurst / Getty Images

30. New Jersey: Blueberries
> Value of most important product: $83.8 million
> Total crop production: $1.0 billion (5th smallest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 1.2% (11th smallest)
> Other major crops: Peaches, corn, and soybeans

Source: PhilAugustavo / Getty Images

31. New Mexico: Cattle
> Value of most important product: $694.5 million
> Total crop production: $2.6 billion (13th largest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 5.7% (16th smallest)
> Other major crops: Pecans, peppers, and peppers

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Source: planetsheldon / Getty Images

32. New York: Apples
> Value of most important product: $343.1 million
> Total crop production: $5.4 billion (7th smallest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 1.4% (25th smallest)
> Other major crops: Cattle, corn, and apples

Source: bobistraveling / Flickr

33. North Carolina: Chickens
> Value of most important product: $3.6 billion
> Total crop production: $12.6 billion (24th largest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 3.5% (8th largest)
> Other major crops: Soybeans, corn, and sweet potatoes

Source: sharply_done / Getty Images

34. North Dakota: Soybeans
> Value of most important product: $2.1 billion
> Total crop production: $11.0 billion (5th largest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 10.9% (11th largest)
> Other major crops: Corn, cattle, and canola

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Source: NRoberts / Getty Images

35. Ohio: Soybeans
> Value of most important product: $2.4 billion
> Total crop production: $10.1 billion (14th smallest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 2.2% (13th largest)
> Other major crops: Corn, cattle, and chickens

Source: cstar55 / Getty Images

36. Oklahoma: Cattle
> Value of most important product: $2.9 billion
> Total crop production: $7.1 billion (14th largest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 5.6% (23rd largest)
> Other major crops: Chickens, soybeans, and corn

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Source: forestservicenw / Flickr

37. Oregon: Cattle
> Value of most important product: $695.3 million
> Total crop production: $4.9 billion (3rd largest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 12.1% (23rd smallest)
> Other major crops: Pears, grapes, and potatoes

Source: beklaus / Getty Images

38. Pennsylvania: Cattle
> Value of most important product: $567.1 million
> Total crop production: $7.4 billion (12th smallest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 2.1% (22nd largest)
> Other major crops: Chickens, corn, and soybeans

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39. Rhode Island: Cattle
> Value of most important product: $1.3 million
> Total crop production: $59.7 million (the smallest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 0.8% (2nd smallest)
> Other major crops: Corn

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Source: aerobed / Getty Images

40. South Carolina: Chickens
> Value of most important product: $978.6 million
> Total crop production: $3.0 billion (15th smallest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 2.2% (17th smallest)
> Other major crops: Corn, soybeans, and cattle

Source: photosbyjim / Getty Images

41. South Dakota: Corn
> Value of most important product: $2.2 billion
> Total crop production: $10.2 billion (4th largest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 11.2% (12th largest)
> Other major crops: Cattle, soybeans, and sunflower

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Source: hollandphotos / Getty Images

42. Tennessee: Soybeans
> Value of most important product: $805.1 million
> Total crop production: $3.6 billion (22nd smallest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 2.7% (18th smallest)
> Other major crops: Cattle, chickens, and corn

Source: typhoonski / Getty Images

43. Texas: Cattle
> Value of most important product: $7.4 billion
> Total crop production: $25.4 billion (20th smallest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 2.5% (3rd largest)
> Other major crops: Chickens, corn, and sorghum

Source: Gary Gray / Getty Images

44. Utah: Cattle
> Value of most important product: $415.1 million
> Total crop production: $1.8 billion (21st smallest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 2.6% (14th smallest)
> Other major crops: Corn, cherries, and peaches

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Source: Ron_Thomas / Getty Images

45. Vermont: Cattle
> Value of most important product: $62.7 million
> Total crop production: $776.1 million (12th largest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 5.8% (9th smallest)
> Other major crops: Maple Syrup and apples

Source: Jessica Reeder / Wikimedia Commons

46. Virginia: Chickens
> Value of most important product: $875.2 million
> Total crop production: $3.8 billion (18th smallest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 2.4% (20th smallest)
> Other major crops: Cattle, soybeans, and corn

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Source: MrPants / Getty Images

47. Washington: Apples
> Value of most important product: $2.4 billion
> Total crop production: $9.1 billion (the largest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 14.5% (17th largest)
> Other major crops: Potatoes, cattle, and hops

Source: 119886413@N05 / Flickr

48. West Virginia: Chickens
> Value of most important product: $182.7 million
> Total crop production: $806.8 million (24th smallest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 2.7% (10th smallest)
> Other major crops: Cattle, corn, and apples

Source: norbiy / Getty Images

49. Wisconsin: Cattle
> Value of most important product: $1.7 billion
> Total crop production: $11.7 billion (20th largest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 4.7% (9th largest)
> Other major crops: Corn, soybeans, and potatoes

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Source: R_Litewriter / Getty Images

50. Wyoming: Cattle
> Value of most important product: $689.1 million
> Total crop production: $1.7 billion (11th largest)
> Pct. of workforce in agriculture: 6.3% (13th smallest)
> Other major crops: Corn, barley, and beans

Detailed Findings

In most states, the crop or livestock bringing in the most money is not unique to that state and is grown in large quantities throughout the country. In 30 states, for example, the most valuable agricultural product is either cattle or chickens.

Some states, however, have managed to cultivate as their main cash crop certain products not grown on a large scale in other parts of the country. Hawaii, for example, produced $53.9 million worth of macadamia nuts in 2017 — more than any other agricultural product in the state. The macadamia nut is native to Australia and was first introduced to Hawaii in 1882, where U.S. production remains concentrated today.

Other top crops unique to their state include Florida oranges, Massachusetts cranberries, New Jersey blueberries, Maine potatoes, and California grapes.

Methodology

To determine the most important agricultural product from each state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the total production value of approximately 170 agricultural commodities in 2017 using data from the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. We considered livestock and plants and excluded non-food agricultural products, such as cotton, tobacco, and hay.

Data on the total value of all crops produced came from the USDA’s 2012 Census of Agriculture. Data on the size of the agricultural workforce in each state also came from the 2012 Census of Agriculture, and was adjusted for the size of the total workforce with data from the 2012 Economic Census. All data are for the most recent period available.

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