Specialty Crop Production
Specialty crop production is important to Mississippi’s economy. Specialty crops typically include horticulture crops, such as fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, nursery crops, and floriculture.
Barnes and Myles (2017) recently measured the economic contribution of five of these crops to Mississippi’s economy: blueberries, honey, pecans, sweet potatoes, and watermelons. Results indicated this cluster of selected specialty crops contributes significantly to Mississippi’s economy:
- $238 million in industry sales
- 1,929 jobs supported
- $146 million in income
- $170 million in value-added
- $29 million in local, state, and federal taxes
This cluster of selected specialty crops also supported several economic sectors in Mississippi’s economy. Recipients of these benefits purchased goods and services from 10 other sectors, which created jobs for local residents, who spent a portion of their disposable income on goods and services in the state. The top 10 sectors supported by this cluster’s economic activities in Mississippi include:
- vegetable and melon farming
- owner-occupied dwellings
- fruit farming
- real estate
- support activities for agriculture and forestry
- wholesale trade
- all other food manufacturing
- physicians’ offices
- limited-service restaurants
Numerous businesses in many sectors of Mississippi’s economy are linked together as suppliers and purchasers of goods and services and benefit from agriculture, and specialty crop production in particular. Expansion of production for this cluster of selected specialty crops by 10 percent (about $14 million) could contribute an additional 193 jobs, $24 million in industry sales, and almost $17 million in gross regional product to the Mississippi economy.
Barnes, J. and A. Myles. 2017. “Local Food System Economies: How Selected Specialty Crops Contribute to Mississippi’s Economy.” Mississippi State University Extension, Forthcoming.
MACON, Miss. -- Myron Unruh has no complaints about the quality of his farm’s strawberries. He just wishes more of them would grow.
“We picked some strawberries earlier this week, and they were gorgeous, but we’re getting less than half of what we should be getting,” said Unruh, who owns Lazy U Farms in Macon. “It’s pretty tough right now.”
Bone-chilling temps have you stuck inside dreaming of that first home-grown tomato sandwich? Well, this is a great time to prepare for a healthy crop. (Photo by Alan Henn)
CARRIERE, Miss. -- The Small Farm Training Center will host the Alliance of Sustainable Farms field day on Jan. 19 in Hancock County.
Farm operators Terry and Elicia Sheldon, along with student apprentices who live and work at the center, will show attendees their techniques for growing organic produce.
RAYMOND, Miss. -- A daylong Mississippi State University Extension Service workshop Jan. 18 will provide an in-depth look at horticulture and pest management with pecan orchards.
The Pecan Education Workshop will be held from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Raymond. The $35 cost covers registration, lunch and handouts, and must be submitted by Jan. 11. Late registration is on a space-available basis.
PINEY WOODS, Miss. -- The National Center for Appropriate Technology will host the Alliance of Sustainable Farms field day on Dec. 15 in Piney Woods.
Representatives from the center's Gulf States Regional Office in Jackson will provide a hands-on bed preparation demonstration at its farm at The Piney Woods School. The demonstration will feature the use of small farm tools, including a rotary tiller, rotary plow, power harrow and flail mower. Attendees can also see bed preparation in a hoop house using a broadfork, lightweight tiller and seedbed rake.