Poultry Tops Mississippi’s $7.3 Billion Agriculture Economy in 2017

Mississippi’s $7.3 billion agriculture economy continues to see growth from the poultry industry which saw an increase of 13% in 2017, reaching $2.8 billion in value.

Agricultural economists with the Mississippi State University Extension Service released year-end estimates for the value of crops in the Magnolia State. Government payments accounted for $227 million in commodity value, so when added to the total crop value the overall monetary value jumps to $7.53 billion.

“Early expectations are for good reports in most commodities for 2017,” says Brian Williams, Extension agricultural economist. “Poultry, overall crops and livestock totals should all improve over the 2016 values. The exceptions are forestry, catfish and some individual commodities.”

The second largest sector was forestry in 2017 with $1.4 billion in value. Forestry witnessed a value decrease of 8% from 2016 to 2017.

Soybeans were just behind forestry at $1.1 billion, while cotton ranked fourth at $562 million. Both soybeans and cotton had increases this year compared to 2016.

“Cotton had the largest increase in value, with lint up 35 percent and seed up almost 31 percent,” Williams says. “A lot of that improvement is because growers planted more cotton.”

Cotton acreage was at 435,000 in 2016 and increased to 625,000 acres in 2017.

The top 16 agricultural commodities for Mississippi in 2017 are as follows:

  1. Poultry $2.79 billion
  2. Forestry $1.39 billion
  3. Soybeans $1.11 billion
  4. Cotton $562 million
  5. Corn $337 million
  6. Cattle $285 million
  7. Catfish $181 million
  8. Sweet Potatoes $123 million
  9. Hogs $117 million
  10. Hay $116 million
  11. Specialty Crops $107 million
  12. Rice $105 million
  13. Peanuts $33 million
  14. Milk $26 million
  15. Wheat $13 million
  16. Grain Sorghum $1 million

Besides poultry other livestock sectors have been mixed in terms of production value. Pork producers saw value climb 31% in 2017 to a value of $117 million. Dairy producers got a 5% increase in overall milk payments in the state, valuing at $26 million.

Beef production had a value drop of 4% from 2016 to 2017, yielding $285 million.

“Beef prices were better than in 2016, but production was down mostly due to last fall’s drought,” Williams said. “We had more hogs in the state in 2017, which contributed to the increase in value.”

Mississippi is the largest catfish producer in the U.S., but catfish only rank seventh in the state for commodity value. Catfish saw a decline of 16% and the estimated value for 2017 is $181 million.

Price was the primary reason for the expected decline in value says Extension catfish specialist Jimmy Avery.

“Prices were down 14-15 percent in 2017, but production remained positive,” Avery says. “In 2018, it will be important for the industry to take advantage of new technologies to help reduce costs. One specific challenge is how to market big fish that are produced under normal production practices.”

Avery says catfish production should come up slightly in 2018 even though he expects catfish ponds will remain near 34,700 acres.

Extension economist say the value of all livestock production in Mississippi came up 4% in 2017.

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