Spotlight on Oklahoma

September 16, 2011

As the 46th state to join the Union, Oklahoma may have been a little late to the party, but when it arrived, it had plenty to offer.

Aside from the strong winds and thunderstorms that Oklahoma is known for (thanks to a popular show tune), the state is blessed with a productive agricultural system, the likes of which is celebrated in that same musical number:

Gonna give you barley, carrots and pertaters, pasture for the cattle, spinach and termayters!

Sounds like the founders knew from day one what Oklahoma would bring to the table. And with 35 of 44 million acres being used for farmland, the state has not disappointed.

Though drought and dust storms during the years 1934-37 wreaked havoc on former grasslands that had been plowed and planted with wheat to meet the demands of the war, Oklahoma farmers rose to the challenge by implementing new farming techniques.

These innovations, including man-made lakes created to conserve water, made Oklahoma a pioneer state in conservation techniques and resources.

Winter wheat, hay, corn for grain, peanuts, and pecans are among the top Oklahoma crops, but there are many more places where this state’s agriculture shines:

  • Oklahoma ranks 1st in the nation in rye production; 5th in winter wheat, grain sorghum, and pecan production; and 6th in peanut production.
  • Oklahoma produced over 120 million bushels of winter wheat in 2010, and almost 18 million pounds of pecans in 2009.
  • Oklahoma has 2.5 million cows; 80,000 sheep; 5.7 million chickens; 2.4 million hogs; and 150,000 horses.
  • Oklahoma ranks 5th in the nation in cattle and calf production, 8th in hog production, and 17th in broiler production.
  • Oklahoma cattle, hogs, and sheep produce 3.2 billion pounds of meat per year.
  • Oklahoma poultry produce 933 million eggs per year.