Which came first, the chicken or the bean? Mississippi’s ag production value drops 10 percent, but still reaching high levels.

Published 9:17 pm Saturday, December 23, 2023

Mississippi agriculture’s value of production fell 10.3 percent in 2023, but still posted its second highest result on record at $8.8 billion.

Though the value of poultry production fell more than 22 percent from nearly $4 billion in 2022, the agricultural commodity still dwarfs all others in the state with an estimated value of $3.1 billion this year. The state’s forestry industry took its usual place as the state’s third most valuable agricultural product at $1.5 billion, an increase of nearly 10 percent from $1.4 billion in 2022.

Soybeans were the most produced of many Mississippi-grown row crops, holding steady in second place. At $1.6 billion, its production value decreased 9.4 percent from last year’s $1.72 billion.

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Outside of row crops, catfish production was worth $251.2 million this year, which is down nearly 10 percent from $278 million in 2022. Livestock netted a total value of $509 million, which is an increase of nearly 16 percent.

During the 2020s, corn and cotton have competed annually for the state’s second most valuable row crop. Corn won a close battle in 2022 but grew its lead significantly this year. Its production was worth $675.4 million compared to $643.3 million last year.

Cotton saw a significant reduction both in planted acreage and estimated value. In 2023, the value was $397.3 million, a 35 percent dip from $615 million in 2022.

“The reduction in soybean values is mainly driven by lower prices, and cotton is a combination of lower prices and reduced acreage,” said Will Maples, a row crop economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “Corn saw a 5 percent increase due to higher acreage, which helped offset lower corn prices.”