The 2011 World Series is already in full swing, but the excitement reaches a fever pitch tomorrow when the Texas Rangers step onto their home turf in Arlington to slug it out with the St. Louis Cardinals. As fans watch the action on the field, they should know that, along with producing a powerhouse baseball team, Texas also is a major player in the world of agriculture. In fact, the products of agriculture – from timber and leather to cotton and beef – help make baseball possible.
"Baseball is known as America's pastime, and agriculture is America's lifeblood," said Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples. "In Texas, agriculture is a $100 billion industry that keeps our state and nation running strong. As we cheer for the Rangers here in Texas, let's also root for our heroes in another field who go to bat every day to help feed and clothe us."
Did you know?
- Baseball bats are made of wood and in Texas, the timber industry produces almost 500 million cubic feet of lumber annually with a delivered value of more than $550 million.
- Leather is used to make mitts and Texas leads the nation in cattle with more than 13 million head, which have an annual production value of more than $7 billion.
- Peanuts are a favorite snack at baseball games and in Texas, we produce more than 600 million pounds of peanuts – enough to make over 6 billion peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
- Hot dogs are a traditional favorite at baseball games and the Texas pork industry has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $250 million.
- Hot dogs also need hot dog buns. Texas growers produce an average of 90 million bushels of wheat annually – enough to make more than 25 billion hot dog buns.
- Texas is a leading dairy state and produces enough milk each year to fill Rangers Ballpark in Arlington nearly eight times.
- Texas is the nation's No. 1 cotton-producing state, growing enough cotton every year to make about 3 billion baseball uniforms. If the bales of cotton produced in Texas were placed side-by-side and stacked three high, they could line both sides of the road from Rangers Ballpark in Arlington to Busch Stadium in St. Louis where the Cardinals call home.
- Want wool socks to go with that uniform? Texas is the top wool-producing state in the nation, with more than 800,000 sheep yielding nearly 4 million pounds of wool.
- The grass is always greener at the ballpark. Texas harvests nearly 40,000 acres of turf grass sod annually.
- How better to celebrate a world championship than with a good steak dinner? Texas produces about 8 billion pounds of beef a year.
- Where else but Texas can you find a World Series baseball teamed owned by a Texas rancher who has a brand of beef named after him? Nolan Ryan produces great Texas beef and a world-class baseball team.
These are just a few examples of how agriculture powers our daily lives and our love of baseball.