Field Crops, Except Cash Grains, NEC

SIC 0139

Companies in this industry

Industry report:

This entry includes establishments primarily engaged in the production of field crops, except cash grains, not classified elsewhere. This category includes a range of crops for human or livestock consumption, encompassing farms that produce alfalfa, broomcorn, clover, grass seed, hay, hops, mint, peanuts, sweet potatoes, timothy, and yams. This category also includes establishments deriving 50 percent or more of their total value of sales of agricultural products from field crops, except cash grains, but less than 50 percent from products of any single industry.

Sweet Potatoes and Yams

Yams grown in the United States are actually a variety of sweet potato but with a moister, golden red flesh. Sweet potatoes are light yellow or pale orange in color. Yams, grown primarily in North Carolina, account for about half of all sweet potato consumption in the United States and are consumed mainly in the northeast and mid-Atlantic states. North Carolina, the leading producer of sweet potatoes, combined with Louisiana, Mississippi, and California to account for 95 percent of U.S. sweet potato production in 2009, when production reached 19.5 million cwt (one cwt equals 100 pounds). This figure showed an increase from 18.4 million cwt in 2008 and 18 million cwt in 2007. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the total number of acres planted in sweet potatoes rose to 109,900 in 2009, up from 103,200 in 2008. Acres harvested decreased slightly, from 97,300 in 2008 to 96,900 in 2009, but yield was up during the same time period, from 190 cwt to 201 cwt. The number of acres planted in 2010 was 117,100. Price dropped slightly from $21.20 per cwt in 2008 to $20.90 in 2009. Total value of production increased, however, from $390.6 million in 2008 to $410.4 million in 2009.


Grass, alfalfa, clover, and timothy are all used for livestock fodder. Farmers grow hay for their own livestock and for commercial sale. The amount of land from which hay is harvested remained relatively stable throughout the late years of the first decade of the 2000s, ranging from a high of 61.6 million acres in 2005 to a low of 60.2 million acres in 2008. In 2010, 60.5 million acres were harvested. However, the shift in value of production for all hay was more significant. In 2005, the industry value was $12.5 million, and in 2008, hay generated $18.6 million in revenues. In 2009, production was valued at $15.0 million. More than 133.7 million tons of hay was produced in the United States in 2009, with Texas and California leading the way with production valued at $929.6 million and $927.5 million, respectively. These states were followed by Kansas, Colorado, and Idaho, with production values of $664.3 million, $663.0 million, and $615.4 million, respectively


The United States is one of the three largest producers of peanuts in the world, but unlike other countries where the focus is on end products like peanut oil, the U.S. marketing and production focus is on edible consumption of peanuts. Peanut butter, for example, accounts for about half the U.S. edible use of peanuts (with annual retail sales around $850 million), and only 15 percent of U.S. peanut production is crushed for oil. (Peanut butter made in the United States must contain at least 90 percent peanuts.) Ten states accounted for virtually all U.S. peanut production in 2009, which reached 5.1 billion pounds, up from 3.6 billion pounds in 2007. Georgia led by producing more than 45 percent of peanuts in the United States. Of the 1.2 million acres planted (of which 1.1 million acres were harvested) in the United States in 2009, the top-producing state was Georgia, which supplies about 44 percent of the nation's peanuts. Other top producers included Texas, Alabama, and Florida. Total production for 2009 was 3.69 million metric tons.

The peanut industry has been regulated by government price support and quota programs since the 1930s. Although support prices guarantee peanut farmers a minimum price for their crops, the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996, also known as the Farm Bill, reduced and froze the loan rate at 10 percent. The government also imposes production quotas on regions, and even on individual farms within the regions, according to the unit's historical share of production; the nation's total production quota is based on expected food and seed use for the coming year. The 1996 Farm Bill set up a two-tiered pricing system that distinguished between "quota peanuts" and "additional peanuts." Quota peanuts are used for domestic food products or for seed and receive higher price supports than additional peanuts, which can be sold only for export or for processing into peanut oil or peanut meal. The 2002 Farm Bill changed the peanut program, replacing the two-tiered price system with a market/loan system that makes no distinction between peanuts for domestic and export markets. The 2002 Farm Bill also extended price supports for another six years. In 2008, the 2002 Farm Bill was replaced by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, which retained many of the provisions of the previous legislation.


The two main types of mint grown in the United States are peppermint and spearmint. U.S. farmers harvested nearly 6.4 million pounds of peppermint in 2009 on 69,800 acres. About 1,220 metric tons of spearmint was harvested from 20,500 acres that year. Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, Indiana, and California accounted for 97 percent of all peppermint produced in the United States, based on value of production. Washington produced more than 75 percent of the spearmint. Oregon, Idaho, Indiana, and Michigan were other, much smaller producing states. Production numbers and acres harvested and planted of spearmint remained relatively stable through the first decade of the 2000s. However, the value of production of peppermint jumped from $87.5 million in 2008 to $128.5 million in 2009. The value of spearmint production, however, rose rapidly during the same decade, from $17.7 million in 2004 to over $44.7 million in 2009. Although the number of acres harvested increased during the decade (from 15,800 in 2004 to 20,500 in 2009), both increased yield, which increased from 116 pounds per acre to 132 pounds per acre, and increased price, from $9.62 to $16.60 per pound, over the same time period, it also helped raise overall industry revenues.


The top three types of melons produced by the United States in the late years of the first decade of the 2000s were watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew. Watermelons were harvested on 126,300 acres, resulting in a crop of 1.82 million metric tons. The top producing states were Texas, Georgia, Florida, and California. Total value of the watermelon crop for 2009 was $460.7 million. Cantaloupes were harvested on 76,130 acres in 2009, producing a crop of 902.4 metric tons, valued at $359 million. The 2009 honeydew crop totaled 167,740 metric tons, valued at just over $59 million.

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