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KDA issues report on ag’s economic contribution
Farming makes up 22% of local economy
ag census pic
A Barton County center-pivot irrigation system is shown at sunrise. A recent report rates farming’s impact on the state and local economy.

MANHATTAN — Kansas leads the nation in wheat and milo production and ranks third in beef processing, and Barton County is a big part of that.

These are among the results of a report released by the Kansas Department of Agriculture last week. The agency recently updated its interactive map of Kansas, showing the economic contribution of agriculture across the state broken down by county. 

Located on the KDA website, the interactive resource can be used to find the agricultural economic facts for each of the 105 counties in Kansas, as well as a report for the entire state. Clicking on each county in the map pulls up that county’s information. 

For example, in Barton County, 628 farms account for 557,961 acres, and $365.7 million in crop and livestock sales in 2017, the most recent data available, according to the USDA 2017 Census of Agriculture.

Using this data adjusted for 2019, 18 agriculture, food, and food processing sectors were analyzed to determine their overall contribution to the Barton County economy. 

These 18 sectors have a total direct output of approximately $993.5 million and support 2,022 jobs in Barton County Agriculture, food, and food processing sectors support 3,440 jobs, or 17.10% of the entire workforce in the county.  

Another metric used to calculate the importance of sectors in an economy is their value added as a percentage of gross regional product (GRP). Total value added by the 18 agriculture, food, and food processing sectors is approximately $301.2 million, or 21.66% of the GRP.  

In the top 10 agriculture, food, and food processing sectors by employment, the beef cattle ranching and farming, including feedlots and dual-purpose ranching and farming sector is the top employer with 627 employees. The 18 agriculture, food, and food processing sectors in the county include: 

• Oilseed farming

• Grain farming

• Vegetable and melon farming

• Fruit farming

• Greenhouse, nursery and floriculture production

• All other crop farming

• Beef cattle ranching and farming, including feedlots and dual-purpose ranching and farming

• Dairy cattle and milk production

• Poultry and egg production

• Animal production, except cattle and poultry and eggs

• Support activities for agriculture and forestry

• Dog and cat food manufacturing

• Other animal food manufacturing

• Animal, except poultry, slaughtering

• Bread and bakery product, except frozen, manufacturing

• Frozen cakes and other pastries manufacturing

• Veterinary services

• Landscape and horticultural services

These values do not factor in the retail environment of food sales. Food retail is important, but in order to provide the most accurate picture of what production agricultural and processing contributes to Barton County, the retail sector was omitted. 

“As we review the economic contribution of Kansas agriculture, we are pleased to report a total direct output of $46.9 billion supporting 134,057 jobs in the agriculture industry,” said Secretary Mike Beam. “This output is slightly higher than our data published last year at this time, so we know our farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses across a variety of commodity sectors continue to be critical to Kansas communities despite very challenging economic times for our industry.”

KDA annually updates the state and county economic statistics to provide an understanding of the vast influence of the 68 sectors of agriculture on the state’s economy. In addition to the direct output, the reports include the indirect and induced effects of agriculture and ag-related sectors, which demonstrate the total impact that agriculture has in Kansas communities. This total economic contribution of agriculture totals over $65 billion and supports more than 245,000 jobs statewide.  

The interactive map allows users to see detailed agricultural statistics including farm numbers, leading agricultural sectors, and value-added data for each county. KDA utilizes data compiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. The economic contribution data is sourced from the most recent IMPLAN data available (2017) and adjusted for 2019.

The county statistics map is available at For updated information, click on a county and find the “2019 Full Report for County” after the county sector list. KDA is committed to advocating for and promoting the agriculture industry, and providing an environment that enhances and encourages economic growth of the agriculture industry and the Kansas economy.

Below is the statewide information from the USDA 2017 Census on Agriculture: 

Who is Kansas Agriculture? 

• In 2017, there were 58,569 farms in Kansas, which generated more than $18.7 billion in agricultural output.

• Family-owned farms and ranches are the backbone of Kansas agriculture: 

• 84.6% family 

• 6.2% partnership

• 5.3% corporation

• 3.8% other-cooperative, estate or trust, institutional, etc.

• The face of agriculture is changing in Kansas. The average age of the Kansas farmer is 58.1, according to the USDA Census on Agriculture.

• The average size of a Kansas farm is 781 acres.

How Does Kansas Agriculture 

affect the Kansas Economy? 

• Agriculture is the largest economic driver in Kansas, valued at nearly $65.7 billion, accounting for 42.3% of the state’s total economy (five-year average). 

• The agriculture sector in Kansas employs 248,216 people through direct, indirect and induced effect careers, or 12.6% of the entire workforce in the state. 

• If food retail and ethanol production are included, the economic contribution rises to over $80 billion, and employs more than 21% of the workforce.

• In Kansas, there are 45,759,319 acres of farmland, which accounts for 87.5% of all Kansas land. More than 21 million acres in Kansas is harvested for crops and over 14 million is pastureland for grazing animals.

• Agriculture in Kansas is not just about growing crops and raising animals. The Kansas agricultural sector includes renewable energy production, food processing, research and education, agribusiness and more.

• Kansas is part of the animal health corridor. Between Columbia, Missouri and Manhattan, Kansas sits the single largest concentration of animal health interests in the world.

• Kansas farmers and ranchers are feeding the world. Kansas exports nearly $3.8 billion in agricultural products. The leading exports are beef, wheat, soybeans and corn.

What do Kansas Farmers 

and Ranchers Grow? 

• The top five agricultural products grown or raised in Kansas include: 

• Cattle and Calves

• Wheat

• Corn

• Sorghum

• Soybeans

• Kansas is a recognized leader in agriculture in the United States. 

• Kansas is ranked first grain sorghum production, growing more than 55% of the nation’s crop

• Kansas is ranked first in sorghum for silage production

• Kansas leads the nation in wheat production, growing nearly 20% of the nation’s crop, and also ranks first in flour milling capacity.

• Kansas is ranked third in cattle production and beef processing.

• Kansas is ranked fourth in sunflower production.

• Kansas is quickly becoming the new dairy frontier in the United States. Kansas is the 16th ranked dairy state for milk production and is home to 160,000 dairy cows on over 300 dairy farms. 

• Milk processing capacity has grown significantly in recent years, and now 75 percent of the milk produced in Kansas stays in the state for processing.