Ag in Mississippi hits $8.33B value


STARKVILLE — Excellent commodity prices pro­pelled Mississippi agricul­ture to its highest level: an estimated $8.33 billion value in 2021.

This figure is a 19% in­crease over 2020. Poultry, soybeans and forestry con­tinue to rank first, second and third, respectively, in the state’s agricultural economy.

Will Maples, agricultural economist with the Missis­sippi State University Ex­tension Service, said high prices were matched by mostly good yields. Strong exports added to the pos­itive picture.

“It was a much better year for farmers, but we’re coming off some years with pretty low prices,” Maples said.

Poultry increased 39% to an estimated $2.65 billion value in 2021. Sharply higher feed and energy prices in 2021 were key concerns for the poultry in­dustry.

Soybeans increased 25% to an estimated value of $1.49 billion. “Soybean prices were strong throughout 2021, helped by good exports and strong domestic demand,” Will Maples said.

Forestry increased 6% to an estimated value of $1.29 billion.

While soybeans single-handedly topped the $1 billion mark, corn, cotton, soybeans, wheat and spe­cialty crops also saw in­creases. Hay, peanuts, rice and sweet potatoes achieved lower estimated values.

Corn increased 129% to an estimated value of $748 million based mostly on planted acreage increasing 43% in 2021. Strong ex­ports to China also helped keep prices strong.

Wheat saw the greatest increase, a whopping 450%, to $27 million. State producers almost tripled the amount of wheat grown in 2021, but strong prices also contributed to the value increase.

Cotton increased 27% to $558 million based solely on strong prices, as grow­ers planted 18% fewer acres in the state in 2021.

Livestock, which includes cattle, calves, milk and hogs, saw an overall 13% increase to $399 million. Catfish added another $232 million, a 3.5% in­crease.

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