Mississippi poultry, eggs top agriculture commodities in 2012

Overall agriculture up 9.4 percent

Mississippi’s agricultural commodities reached $7.3 billion in total estimated value in 2012, with poultry and eggs the top commodity at $2.53 billion, according to Mississippi State University agricultural economists.

The $7.3 billion represents a 9.4-percent increase over 2011 numbers. Soybeans, with an estimated record value of $1.16 billion, moved past forestry to claim the number two spot in the state’s rankings for the first time. Number three forestry saw a 7.7-percent increase and estimated value of $1.03 billion. “The fact that soybeans surpassed forestry is indicative of the year that we had,” said John Michael Riley, agricultural economist with the university’s extension service. “The jump has everything to do with production and prices for soybeans, and the general economy as it relates to housing starts and the use of forest products. We saw a small growth in forestry value, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the huge gain in soybeans.”

Mississippi’s 2012 corn crop came in at number four with an estimated production value of $891 million, the highest on record. As of mid-December, corn had the highest-ever yield per acre at 156 bushels. The number of bushels harvested — 1.22 million — is the highest since 2007, and the second highest in Mississippi’s history, according to economists.