AUSTIN–Commissioner Todd Staples announced today record agriculture production estimates for 2007. For the first time in history, projections show the Texas agriculture industry will surpass $100 billion in economic impact for the state. This is well above the highest previous level of $85 billion in 2004 and a significant increase over 2005 and 2006 when drought plagued Texas.
"These new agriculture numbers are a great way to celebrate the Texas Department of Agriculture's 100-year anniversary. Favorable weather conditions, new technology and a second-to-none work ethic led to this record year," said Commissioner Staples. "All Texans should be proud of the dedicated men and women who put food on our tables and clothes on our backs."
Agriculture is one of the Lone Star State's most powerful economic engines and the industry continues to boom, bloom and grow. Texas leads the nation in production of cattle, cotton, sheep, wool, goats, mohair, horses, hay and deer. The agriculture industry employs nearly two million Texans and contributes approximately nine percent of the Gross State Product.
Some of the largest increases this year are from crops used to produce biofuels. Production of grain sorghum was up an amazing 440 percent compared with last year, while corn production increased 91 percent. Both commodities are in demand because of the nation's new focus on alternative fuels.
"Texas farmers are answering the call to end our dependence on foreign oil. These significant increases in sorghum and corn production should help reduce the upward pressure on food and livestock feed prices while also helping American companies produce more biofuels," said Commissioner Staples.
Texas is currently leading the nation in biodiesel production. Across the state, several ethanol plants are also expected to go online in the next couple of years. Lone Star State farmers will continue to help fuel this expanding industry.
For more information on the 2007 estimates or to set up an interview with Commissioner Staples contact the Communications Division at the Texas Department of Agriculture at (512) 463-7664.