While the interesting reading that can be found in the new USDA-Economic Research Service State Fact Sheets won't be a best seller soon, the information provided offers insight into a wide range of issues in each state. The agency collects a wide range of information on farms and now they've pulled it together into the latest warehouse of state-by-state data.
The sheets look at population, income, poverty, education, employment, federal funds, organic agriculture, farm characteristics, farm financial indicators, top commodities and exports for each of 50 states. The latest fact sheets have been updated to include information from 2009.
What can you discover? A quick look at Iowa's fact sheet, for example, shows that the number of certified organic operations has grown from 454 to 677 between 2006 and 2008 and the number of acres has risen from 69,600 to more than 108,000.
The same report shows that Iowa has held steady on the number of farms, but net farm income dropped from $6.76 million in 2008 to $5.01 million in 2009. And the top five commodities were corn, soybeans, hogs, cattle and calves and chicken eggs. In fact according to this report, Iowa produces 12.3% of all the eggs - by value - produced in the United States.
Iowa also ranks second in total farm exports with soybeans, feed grains, and live animals and meat topping the value list. Total value of farm exports from Iowa alone was $6.49 billion in 2009.
The report shows that family farms, including corporations, sole proprietorships and partnerships accounted for 97.4% of farms owned. The rest included non-family corporations (.5%) and cooperatives, estate or trust owners, institutions and others.
That's just a rundown of one state's data and the report is packed with other information as well. You can find out more about your state by visiting USDA State Facts.