Sunday, November 2, 2014

Is Everything Really Bigger in Texas?

I've always been a big fan of setting up a good story with some facts and figures. Since I'll be spending 30 days talking about Texas Panhandle agriculture, I thought it might be beneficial to provide an introduction to Texas agriculture first and foremost.

You've heard it before: the "Everything's bigger in Texas" comment. People love to throw that around, whether they are from the state or not. Heck, even Geico has a commercial about big things in Texas. Generally, non-Texans say it with a bit of spite, as in "Yeah, that guy has a big attitude, but you know what they say about Texas!" On the other hand, Texans use this statement all the time for reinforcement. Example: a Texan man attempts to flirt with some out-of-stater woman. I think you can guess where that goes. *Ahem*

What truth is there to this statement though? Sure, Texas is a large state, but it isn't the largest (good for you, Alaska). Sure, Texas ladies like big hair, but that's kind of a Southern woman thing (which I definitely haven't mastered). Sure, Texans drive big trucks, have big ranches, eat big steaks, etc., but is agriculture in Texas really bigger?

That's a great question! And one I'll attempt to answer - now.

After some number crunching and research, I believe I can say with certainty that agriculture in Texas is a really big deal.

With 12 percent of the U.S. farms contained in the Texas border, we definitely have the most total farms in the nation. Missouri and Iowa are second and third in the nation, respectively, but when combined, they only total 8.9 percent of the nation's farms (yes, I said combined). It is definitely safe to say Texas has the most farms. Another interesting tidbit: Texas has the most farms that are 1,000 acres or more. Therefore, farms in Texas really are bigger.

In overall sales, California and Iowa beat Texas out in terms of dollars, bringing in a cool $25 billion to the economy. In terms of livestock, poultry and their products however, Texas easily walks away with that trophy with around $18 billion directly related to those aspects of the agriculture industry. Oh, and yes, Texas really does have the biggest steaks, or at least, the most steaks. Texas is number one in the country for beef production. Reason number one why Texas is the best place in the country to live (not that I'm biased or anything.) Texas leads the country in production of 11 categories of crops and livestock: some of which are obvious (like beef), others which aren't so obvious (hello Mohair Production!).

While I find all of these numbers very cool, I totally get that you didn't come here to read the statistics about why Texas is awesome at agriculture. Either way, if you made it to here, you did just read those wonderful numbers (unless you are skipping around) so hopefully they provide some context for you in the coming month. By the way, I won't be doing many of these statistic-heavy posts (my head hurts from figuring). I will be sharing why these numbers are important and what they really relate to in terms of the Texas Panhandle. Stay tuned!

Until tomorrow! And by tomorrow, I really mean later today since I'm definitely late on my Day 1 post.

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