When Gov. Mark Dayton proclaimed March 23-29 as "agriculture week" in Minnesota, it seemed a little out of sync with the state's polar vortex temperatures, and top-to-bottom frozen landscape. In fact, ice-out on Lake Minnetonka this year was not declared until one week ago, on April 24.
As a way to celebrate May Day and belatedly acknowledge agriculture week, here are some facts and figures about the importance of the state's farms and farmers. They come from the Minnesota Agricultural Profile, recently updated by economist Su Ye from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.
Farm land: 27 million acres, or 53% of the total land area
Number of farms: 79,800
Average farm size: 336 acres
Agricultural marketing in 2012: $20.6 billion ($13.2 billion crops, $7.4 billion livestock)
Exports: 4th largest agricultural exporting state after California, Iowa and Illinois
Other rankings compared to other states:
No. 4 overall in crop cash receipts, including No. 1 in sugarbeets; No. 2 in corn, sweet corn, oats and wild rice; No. 3 in soybeans, spring wheat, green peas for processing and dry edible beans.
No. 7 overall in livestock cash receipts, including No. 1 in turkeys, No. 2 in hogs, and No. 6 in dairy, cheese and honey.