Nebraska 3rd District, Iowa's 4th top list of U.S. agricultural producers

By Daniel Enoch

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Jan. 22, 2015 - Nebraska's 3rd Congressional District is the top agricultural producing district in the nation, edging out the 4th District of Iowa, according to figures from USDA's 2012 Census of Agriculture.

Kansas' “Big First” District, which was No.1 in the previous Ag census from 2007, dropped to third place, according to the report, which was released today by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.

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The farmers and ranchers in Nebraska's 3rd, comprising about three-fourths of the western part of the state, sold some $17.7 billion worth of agricultural products in 2012, with sales almost equally split between crops and livestock. The district also was first in the total number of farms, with 35,850.

The rankings may provide some bragging rights to Adrian Smith, the Republican who represents the district in Congress and who sits on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. In the 2007 census, the district's agricultural production was estimated at $11.4 billion.

Iowa's 4th District, represented by Republican Agriculture Committee member Steve King, produced just under $17 billion worth of farm products. The district has been enlarged from the 2007 census, when ag production was estimated at $6.4 billion, after one of the state's districts was eliminated.

The 1st District of Kansas, a big producer of wheat, grain sorghum and cattle, ranked third in ag production with sales of $14.3 billion, up from about $12.1 billion in 2007 when it topped the USDA list. The district, the 12th largest in the country, is represented by Tim Huelskamp, a Republican who serves on the Small Business subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy and Trade. Huelsamp was removed from the Agriculture Committee in December after he opposed GOP leaders on key issues, reportedly leaving the Big First without a rep on the panel for the first time in 50 years.

Minnesota's 7th District, represented by Democrat Collin Peterson, the ranking member on the House Agriculture Committee, ranked fourth in total production, at just over $11 billion. The district, one of the country's top producers of sugar beets, turkeys and soybeans, had about $5.8 billion in ag production in 2007, when it was ranked in eighth place.

North and South Dakota - which are each considered single legislative districts, were in fifth and sixth place, respectively, with total agricultural sales of $10.95 billion and $10.17 billion, respectively. North Dakota was in sixth place in 2007, and South Dakota, represented by GOP Ways and Means member Kristi Noem, was in fourth.

California 21st District in the farm-rich Central Valley was the seventh biggest ag producer ($9.2 billion). The district is represented by Republican David Valadao, who serves on the Appropriations agriculture subcommittee. Next was Texas' 13th District ($8.6 billion,), which includes the Panhandle and is represented by the GOP's Mac Thornberry.

Rounding out the top 10 ag-producing districts were Minnesota's 1st ($7.1 billion), which stretches across the bottom of the state and is represented by Democrat Tim Walz, and Iowa's 1st District ($6.6 billion), in northeastern Iowa, represented by freshman Republican Rod Blum.

The report includes more than 60 tables ranking congressional districts in categories including value of government payments received (North Dakota, $381.7 million), sales of cattle (Kansas 1st, $8.6 billion), corn, soybeans and other crops, as well as farm numbers and characteristics.

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