Spotlight on Nebraska

May 26, 2011

Nebraska is well-known for its high rate of agricultural production. The state leads the nation in per capita agricultural output, generating about $15 billion—five percent of the U.S. total—despite being the 13th least populous state with just over 1.8 million residents.

And with almost 93 percent of Nebraska’s land now used for farming, the area once known as the Great American Desert could now be called the great productive prairie, with high crop yields that sprout from a unique blend of silt and clay.

Of these crops, corn is king—which is where the state gets its nickname “The Cornhusker State.” In 2010, 9.2 million acres of corn were planted, yielding nearly 1.5 billion bushels—better than the national bushels per acre average.

While most of the corn produced in Nebraska is used for food, almost half is used to make ethanol and animal feed, thus serving as both food and fuel for people (and animals) all over the country.

Soybeans are also a large crop for Nebraska farmers, who produced nearly 270 million bushels on 5.2 million acres in 2010. Additionally, Nebraska laying hens produced 2.8 billion eggs while the state’s dairy cows produced over 130 million gallons of milk.

Other prominent products from this agriculturally diverse state include beans, hay, sorghum, winter wheat, sunflowers, popcorn, beef cattle, chickens, hogs, and sheep.

And just recently, another native Nebraskan partnered with the Hand That Feeds U.S. to promote the importance of American agriculture.

The reigning Miss America, Teresa Scanlan, knows where she comes from, what that place means to America, and how to keep its number one industry out of harm’s way.

“To me it’s about not forgetting our roots and what is most important to our country. Holding on to that thin green line…protecting the heartland of the country…protecting a way of life and a livelihood for many farmers and those involved in agriculture.”

“[We need to talk] about why agriculture is so important, why it is the heart and soul of this country and, being from Nebraska I understand that quite well.”

Even though the state is divided by time zones, Nebraskans seem to be pretty united when it comes to what’s important—maintaining American jobs and a safe domestic food supply by protecting U.S. agriculture.

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