NC Fast Facts: Federal agriculture rankings show state’s diverse farming economy

North Carolina is one of the top Christmas tree-producing states in the country. (Kelly VanDellen / Stock)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its national rankings by Congressional District last week. The rankings are based on the 2022 Census of Agriculture and provide a detailed look into agricultural activities across the country, including in North Carolina. The rankings are based on data for the 118th Congress that includes land, farms, market value of agricultural products sold, rankings and producer characteristics.

“Congressional District Profiles and Rankings from the ag census are only available every five years,” said National Agricultural Statistics Service Acting Administrator Joseph Parsons. “Providing ag census information at a congressional district level, in addition to state, county and nationwide data, allows data users to compare districts to each other, shows the value of agriculture in a district, and informs policy makers.”

North Carolina’s agricultural production varies significantly across its congressional districts in terms of activity and national impact.

From a national view, the state’s 1st District, represented by Rep. Don Davis (D), and 5th District, represented by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R), are the only two congressional districts in North Carolina with a top national rank. Davis’s district, which includes 19 counties in northeastern N.C., is the national leader in tobacco for the value of crops ($206 million) and acres harvested (45,690). Foxx’s district, which includes Christmas tree leaders Ashe, Alleghany, Avery and Watauga counties, leads the nation in cultivated Christmas trees and short rotation woody crops with 400 farms. North Carolina’s 11th District, represented by Rep. Chuck Edwards (R), ranks 11th in the same category, with Jackson County driving many of the 93 farms in the district.

The 3rd District, represented by Rep. Greg Murphy (R), ranked second nationally for turkeys with more than 25 million birds from 196 farms. Murphy’s district also ranked third nationally for poultry and eggs with $2.7 billion generated from 736 farms.

North Carolina is a national leader in tobacco with eight districts ranked in the top 20 nationally for total tobacco sales and tobacco acreage.

The 3rd District also ranked fourth nationally for hog production with $2.4 billion in sales from 706 farms. The 7th district, represented by Rep. David Rouzer (R), came in 13th nationally for hog production with $702 million from 201 farms. Only Iowa (four) had more districts in the top 20 than North Carolina.