Friday, November 1, 2013
OLYMPIA — Washington’s farmers and ranchers set records for production last year.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the total market value of crops and livestock totaled $9.89 billion, a 6 percent increase from 2011.
Washington State Department of Agriculture Director Bud Hover notes that apples climbed 16 percent to $2.25 billion — the first commodity in the state to go over the $2 billion mark.
Record high values of production were set for six of the top twenty Washington commodities, including apples, wheat, cattle and calves, grapes, pears, and dry edible beans. Table grapes and wine grapes were counted together.
Commodities that saw significant gains in value over 2011 included dry edible beans, which increased 79 percent; barley, up 69 percent: canola, up 64 percent; and onions, up 51 percent.
Crops that declined in value in 2012 were blueberries, down 30 percent from a record high value in 2011, and wrinkled seed peas, down 28 percent.
Apples had a value per harvested acre in 2012 at $15,417, followed by all cherries at $14,681. Blueberries had a value per harvested acre of $10,675.
In a release, Hover said that overall the new figures were good news for Washington agriculture.
“Washington’s farmers and farm workers for several years now have managed to keep boosting the value of our state’s harvests,” Hover said. “We also set record employment and sales figures in the food processing industry. There’s no question that all of this shows just how important agriculture is to our state’s economy.”