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Year-end figures show 2000 ag value slump
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Recently revised estimates indicate that last year's Mississippi farm and forest products values continued their three-year decline from 1997's high of $5 billion.
The total estimated value of Mississippi agricultural and forestry production for 2000 was $4.7 billion, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Instead of showing a 2000 crop value increase from the previous year as earlier predicted, the state came in 1.2 percent lower than the $4.76 billion value registered in 1999.
John Lee, head of agricultural economics at Mississippi State University, said final figures for many commodities just became available.
"When the final reports came in, the drought had a bigger impact on yields than we thought," Lee said. "Another factor is that for storable commodities, the sales year extends well into the next year, and final sales figures for some crops are not yet in."
Low prices and drought-reduced yields took their toll on the overall value of farm and forest production in Mississippi in 2000. The drought alone is estimated to have cost state producers more than $300 million in lost revenue and added costs.
"The top four commodities remain poultry, forest products, cotton and catfish," Lee said. "The value of poultry and forestry declined as large supplies depressed prices."
Higher acreage and prices helped cotton's value increase despite lower yields. The total value of field crops fell to below $1 billion for the first time in recent history, Lee said. Most notable was the decline in soybean value, which fell 20 percent last year and now at $174 million, registers less than 40 percent of its 1997 value.
"Even record high federal assistance payments totaling $464 million in 2000 failed to compensate crop producers for the loss in market value since 1997," Lee said.
Oversupply problems are causing the low prices seen in most major crops. Lower poultry prices reduced the value of this commodity by 7 percent to $1.38 billion in 2000.
"Net returns to poultry producers were further reduced by higher prices for energy, a major cost in modern poultry production," Lee said.
MSU Extension Service forestry department figures show this industry's production dropped 1.2 percent in value from 1999 to $1.25 billion. Sawlog prices were steady but slightly lower, but pulpwood prices dropped 18 percent for pine and 16 percent for hardwood.
"One of the bright spots in the farm value numbers was catfish values, which continued their slow but steady climb, reaching $300 million in 2000," Lee said. "Higher prices for cattle, calves and hogs pushed the value of livestock products up more than 10 percent to $348 million despite a $14 million decline in the value of milk produced."
Other crop values are cotton, up 16 percent to $483 million; corn, up 0.8 percent to $73.2 million; rice down 28 percent to $72 million; and sweet potatoes, down 37 percent to $33.5 million.
Contact: Dr. John Lee, (662) 325-2752