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Markets hinder 2002 agricultural values
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Farmers will remember 2002 for the wet harvest season, but economists will remember the depressed markets across the board that resulted in a 6 percent decline from the previous year's agricultural values.
Final numbers are in from the 2002 crops, and Mississippi agricultural economists are finding tallies near last December's expectations. The grand total of all the state's commodities plus government payments is $4.5 billion, down from $4.8 billion in 2001. (See Mississippi Value of Production Estimates)
"As expected, the poultry industry posted some of the biggest losses as a result of export problems and reductions in production," said John Anderson, agricultural economist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service. "The value of broilers was $1.2 billion, compared to almost $1.5 billion the year before for an 18 percent decline. As the state's leading agricultural commodity, a 16 percent decline in all poultry (including eggs and chickens) is significant in the overall picture."
Forestry ranked second among Mississippi agricultural commodities with a value of just over $1 billion, a 1.1 percent decline.
While the rains during cotton harvest were frustrating for many growers and devastating for others, the 2002 crop posted an 18 percent increase from 2001. Cotton's value for 2002 was $439 million.
"Cotton's increase was something of a surprise considering the weather damage and the decrease in acreage from the year before. However, prices were considerably higher than in 2001 and despite some major weather losses for individual producers, statewide yields were up from the previous year," Anderson said. "Soybeans had a significant increase (50 percent) from the previous year, mostly as a result of increased acreage. The 2002 soybean value was $243 million."
Mississippi's fifth through seventh highest agricultural commodities were catfish at $242 million (down 7 percent), cattle and calves at $181 million (down 14 percent), and corn at $156 million (up 56 percent), largely due to increased acreage. Other final values for 2002 include hay at $75 million (down 13 percent), horticultural crops at $73 million (down 1.2 percent), milk at $63 million (down 22 percent), and rice at $62 million (down 10 percent). The bottom four commodities were hogs at $38 million (down 36 percent), sweet potatoes at $29 million (down 12 percent), wheat at $24 million (down 15 percent) and grain sorghum at $14 million (down 7.8 percent).
"The losses in areas such as milk and hogs were especially the result of poor market prices. However, the losses in cattle and calves were the result of reduced production," Anderson said. "Large supplies kept catfish prices down in 2002."
Anderson described 2003's values as "too early to predict."
Contact: Dr. John Anderson, (662) 325-1788