Top 7 Crops of Texas and the Vital Role They Play in Our Lifestyle
Jan. 22, 2018 at midnight
Agriculture is an essential part of both the Texas and U.S. economies. The state's total receipts from agriculture are second only to California. But they are also vital to our way of life. What? Yes, it's true. The state's top seven crops make our way of life possible not only because they provide so much of our income but also because the crops themselves are things we use every day, whether we realize it or not.
Of all the crops produced in Texas, cotton contributes the largest portion, 9% of the state's agriculture receipts. It's been a major crop in our state for over 100 years. As the top cotton-producing state in the U.S., our cotton production is also a critical part of the national economy. Most of us know that cotton is used to make everything from the clothing we wear to the blankets on our beds. But you may not be aware that its oil goes into things like soap, cosmetics, and even prescription drugs.
Greenhouse and Nursery Products
This category includes things like bedding plants, sod, and foliage plants. We first think of row after row of flowers and other plants at our local home improvement store or nursery when we think of these products, but there are other ways greenhouse and nursery products create income for Texas. Plant rental is a multi-million dollar business. Many plants we see at the mall or our office building are rented. Texans love green environments, and it shows in cash receipts estimated at about $1.6 billion in 2014.
Texas is widely known for its livestock, and hay is essential to the health of that livestock. The millions of dollars in revenue that it creates boost the economy and ensure that the cattle, goats, sheep, and other livestock that we count on for food and other essentials are well fed and cared for. If their health suffers, so do so many important parts of the economy and our lifestyle.
Grain sorghum has many uses. Animals like pigs, chickens, and rabbits consume it, and ethanol plants use it. We often eat foods that are possible because of grain sorghum. Molasses cookies? That molasses was made with grain sorghum. All those couscous dishes that have become so popular? Grain sorghum is an essential ingredient.
In 2014, corn crops were valued at $1.3 billion. It's another source of nutrition for livestock, but the uses of corn are growing. One of its important but lesser-known uses is in ethanol, which is blended with gasoline and used in motor vehicles. Of course, there are also the multitude of ways we eat it. From cornbread to all the corn dishes we've come to know and love, it has satisfied many stomachs over the years.
Wheat pastures are a great source of food for Texas cattle during the winter months, improving the quality of products from our valuable livestock. Six million acres of this grain were planted in 2014, and over two million acres were harvested. The number of disease-resistance varieties has increased in recent years, which has led to even more acres of the crop. Wheat is essential in the bread and other baked goods we eat at home and in restaurants.
White Spanish peanuts are a very popular variety in Texas crops. Besides being a favorite snack among humans both in its natural form and as addictive peanut butter, peanut vines are good livestock feed and are baled for that use. Their oil is also a top choice for healthier frying.
Agriculture is the foundation of so many aspects of life in Texas. The revenue it brings into the state is invaluable, and the contribution it makes to revenue of the country is major. The revenue itself contributes to our way of life, but the crops themselves are also essential to the way of life we've become accustomed to. From the clothes on our backs to the baked treats we eat to the steak or chicken we have for dinner, it's all made possible because of the strong agriculture industry in Texas.