Crunching the numbers

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The USDA Census of Agriculture released its 2017 report, which includes horticulture production.

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May 2, 2019

Although the majority of the USDA Ag Census is comprised of farm data, there are some horticulture and floriculture-related stats. The report is based on 2017 data and includes comparisons to the 2012 census.

A few explanations:

  • The census definition of a farm is any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the census year. The definition has changed nine times since it was established in 1850. The current definition was first used for the 1974 Census of Agriculture and was used in each subsequent census of agriculture. This definition is consistent with the definition used for current USDA surveys.
  • Nursery stock crops: data includes ornamentals, shrubs, shade trees, flowering trees, evergreens, live Christmas trees, fruit and nut trees and plants, vines, palms, ornamental grasses, and bare root herbaceous perennials.
  • Data is also broken up into production under cover (“square feet under glass or other protection”) and outdoor production (“acres in the open”).

In 2017, the USDA reported 15,092 outdoor production nurseries in 2017, down from 19,184 in 2012.

Those nurseries represented 337,855 acres total in 2017, down from 404,382 in 2012.

In 2017 there were 4,302 under cover production nurseries representing 309 million square feet. In 2012, there were 4,883 under cover production nurseries representing 258 million square feet.

The value of sales from both outdoor production nurseries and under cover production totaled $5.8 billion in 2017, up from $5.1 billion in 2012.

The census also includes stats from individual states. The top three producers should come as no surprise.

For outdoor production, Florida leads the pack with almost 46,000 acres. The Sunshine State comes in second for under cover production with about 53 million square feet. The total value of sales of Florida’s horticulture crops equals $870 million.

Oregon is second in outdoor production with 26,676 acres and third in under cover production with 35 million square feet. Total value of horticulture sales amounts to $646 million.

California is third in outdoor production with some 26,000 acres, but first in under cover production with 67 million square feet. California’s total value of horticulture sales adds up to $1.1 billion.

Results are available in many online formats including video presentations, a new data query interface, maps, and traditional data tables. http://bit.ly/2017USDA_AgCensus

Look for more detailed analysis in future issues and on our website at www.nurserymag.com

krodda@gie.net