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October 23, 2018

Washington State Agriculture Industry Thrives

Learn more about the diversity of the Washington state agriculture sector, and find out what makes The Evergreen State a top spot for apple production

Washington State is more than just home to the famous Space Needle. Thanks to its rich soils, diverse climate, and large-scale irrigation, Washington is one of the world’s most productive growing regions. Farmers across the state produce more than 300 crops annually, including apples, potatoes, and wheat. Milk and beef cattle are also top commodities, making Washington the second most diverse state for agricultural commodities produced.

Additionally, according to the Washington State Department of Agriculture, the state lays claim to more than 35,900 farms. The agriculture, food processing, and ag tech sectors create more than 164,000 jobs in Washington. To top it off, The Evergreen State has deep-water ports and proximity to important Asian markets, offering ample opportunities for agricultural trade.

What Is Washington State Agriculture Known for Producing?

Apples are the state’s number one commodity, but Washington state agriculture is celebrated for its potato production, too. Washington potato growers have the highest yields per acre in the nation, and in 2017, the state’s farmers harvested 164,000 acres of potatoes, resulting in a production value of more than $686.6 million.

Other Washington state facts include:

  • Washington is also a top state for wheat production, with Whitman County producing more wheat than any other county in the U.S.
  • Washington state agriculture ranks second nationally in barley production.
  • The state is a leader in seafood production, second only to Alaska in shipments of fish and shellfish.
  • With 940-plus wineries and more than 350 wine growers, Washington ranks second in the U.S. in premium wine production. In total, Washington has more than 55,000 acres of wine grape acres and produces approximately 17.5 million cases of wine annually.
  • Other top commodities coming from Washington are red raspberries, hops, sweet cherries, pears, and concord grapes.

Washington State Agriculture: Apples

Apples reign supreme in Washington’s agriculture industry, covering about 175,000 acres across the state with Washington apple growers producing 125 million boxes of apples annually – at 40 pounds per box, that’s 2.5 million tons of apples.

Washington state agriculture produces six out of every 10 apples consumed in the U.S., with top varieties including Red Delicious, Gala, Fuji, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Cripps Pink, and Golden Delicious. Moreover, Washington’s apple sector contributes more than $2 billion to the state’s economy each year.

Although apple orchards are located across Washington due to its rich lava-ash soil and plentiful sunshine, it has five main apple-growing regions: Okanogan, Lake Chelan, Wenatchee Valley, Columbia Basin, and Yakima Valley. The Washington Apple Commission reports that the Yakima Valley, stretching from Naches to the Tri-Cities, is the state’s largest apple producing region and is known for its earlier, longer growing season and ability to produce quality apples of all varieties.

AgAmerica Lending’s spectrum of financial solutions can provide the right financing for operations of all kinds in Washington – and across the U.S. Contact us today to learn more about how our team of land loan experts can help you prepare your operation for a strong, healthy financial future.

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