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Published June 09, 2014, 09:59 AM

NASS state, county profiles now available

Williams County in northwest North Dakota leads the nation in production of durum and lentils and Brown County in north-central South Dakota ranks second nationally in corn for grain production.

By: Jonathan Knutson, Agweek

Williams County in northwest North Dakota leads the nation in production of durum and lentils and Brown County in north-central South Dakota ranks second nationally in corn for grain production.

Montana farms average 2,134 acres in size and Minnesota has 6,370 principal farm operators who are women.

The 2012 Census of Agriculture’s county and state profiles released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture every five years have a wealth of information on farm numbers, farm operators and crop and livestock sales at the state and county levels. The new numbers complement national statistics released earlier this year.

Working its way down

The way the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of USDA, approached the 2012 census — begin with the national numbers and work down to state and local statistics — is “the normal way we do things,” says Darin Jantzi, North Dakota state statistician for NASS.

“We think indications are the best at the biggest level. So we start at the highest level possible and work our way down,” he says.

The profiles provide a quick and easy way to access data, he says.

As expected, the state and county profiles show a huge increase in the value of commodities that farmers sell.

“That (the value of commodities sold) was on a flat trend, up until about five years (ago). It’s just taken off,” Jantzi says. “It will be interesting to see if that continues.”

RRV numbers

In Cass County, in east-central North Dakota, the value of ag commodities sold soared to $567 million in 2012, more than double the $267 million in 2007.

In 2012, Cass County ranked first nationally in the value of soybeans sold, first nationally in the value of grains, oilseeds, dry beans and dry peas sold and third nationally in the value of corn sold for grain.

Cass County is in the Red River Valley of eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota. The new NASS county profiles show ag’s economic importance in the rest of the Red River Valley and reflect corn’s increasing prominence in the area.

• Farmers in Grand Forks County sold $428 million of ag commodities in 2012. That was nearly double the $256 million in 2007. In 2012 the county ranked first nationally in the value of dry edible beans sold and 23rd nationally in the value of grains, oilseeds, dry beans and dry peas sold.

• Richland County, in extreme southeast North Dakota, had $536 million of ag commodity sales in 2012. That was double the $261 million in 2007. In 2012, the county ranked fifth nationally in the value of soybeans sold, fourth nationally in the value of grains, oilseeds, dry beans and dry peas sold and ninth nationally in the value of corn sold for grain.

• Minnesota’s Clay County, separated from Cass County by the Red River, had $398 million of ag commodity sales in 2012. That was nearly double the $202 million in 2007. In 2012, Clay County ranked 20th nationally in the value of soybeans sold and 34th nationally in the value of grains, oilseeds, dry beans and dry peas sold.

• Minnesota’s Marshall County, in the northwest corner of the state, had ag commodities sales of $322 million in 2012. That was up sharply from $190 million in 2007. In 2012 Marshall County ranked 13th nationally in the value of soybeans sold. Corn is still relatively rare in the county, and Marshall ranked only 728th nationally in the value of corn sold for grain. But the county ranked among the top 20 nationally in sales of both spring wheat and sugar beets.

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