Record farm production in 2012 in Washington

OLYMPIA — Washington farmers and ranchers set a production record last year, growing crops and raising livestock worth $9.89 billion — a 6 percent increase from 2011, according to a report last week from the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Apple production climbed 16 percent to $2.25 billion. It’s the first commodity in the state to pass the $2 billion mark, said Washington State Department of Agriculture Director Bud Hover.

Apples are the top commodity in the state, representing 23 percent of the total agriculture value.

Washington is the nation’s top apple producer, growing about 60 percent of the U.S. crop. Washington also leads the nation in sweet cherries, pears, red raspberries and hops.

Harvested apple orchards were worth $15,400 per acre in 2012, the report said.

After apples’ $2.25 billion, the other crops in the top five were wheat, worth $1.18 billion; milk, worth $1.16 billion; potatoes, worth $700 million; and hay, worth $679 million.

There are 39,500 farms and ranches in Washington, according to the 2007 USDA census. They employ 160,000 owners, farm workers and associated jobs, including 40,000 in processing.

“We also set record employment and sales figures in the food processing industry,” Hover said in a statement on the October report from the Statistics Service, a U.S. Department of Agriculture agency.

The value of food processing was up about 3 percent, to $15.46 billion, said state Agriculture Department spokesman Mike Louisell.

Washington leads the nation in potatoes grown for processed foods, such as french fries, Louisell said. The Evergreen State also is the leading U.S. producer of apple juice and the second-largest producer of premium wines. It has more than 750 wineries.

The Statistics Service report ranking 40 commodities also showed significant gains for cattle and calves, grapes, pears, dry edible beans, barley, canola, and onions.

While apples shined, the totals for milk, potatoes and hay all declined. Production of blueberries fell 30 percent from their 2011 record.

More in Herald Business Journal

Health-care consumers need to take the lead, so get smart

David Russian, CEO of Western Washington Medical Group, writes our third essay about fixing health care.

More business, more competition for Everett kidney dialysis center

Nonprofit Puget Sound Kidney Centers sees large for-profit competitors enter state market.

Boeing makes investments in future of autonomous flight

“We believe these are … technology enablers that could change the future of aviation.”

Molina Medical holds fall carnival for families in Everett

Molina Medical is hosting a free event for families in the Everett… Continue reading

Leadership Snohomish County celebrates 20 years of service

Leadership Snohomish County is celebrating its 20th anniversary. The organization was launched… Continue reading

Snohomish, Monroe manufacturers honored for innovation, excellence

Two Snohomish County companies have been honored with Manufacturing Excellence awards at… Continue reading

Remodeled home tours planned this weekend

This weekend, Edmonds-based Chermak Construction will participate in the 2017 Remodeled Homes… Continue reading

Barron Heating to celebrate anniversary at Marysville showroom

Barron Heating and Air Conditioning is celebrating its 45th anniversary from 10… Continue reading

Suitors, beware: In Seattle, Amazon also brought disruption

The company has grown there from a workforce of about 5,000 to more than 40,000 in 33 buildings.

Most Read