Taking an environmentally sensitive approach to pest management


Missouri Produce Growers



AUTHOR

Robert Garino
USDA-NASS
Missouri State Statistician
(573) 876-0950

James Quinn
University of Missouri
Extension
(573) 634-2824
quinnja@missouri.edu

2012 Census of Ag Verifies Produce Auction Impact

Robert Garino
USDA-NASS
(573) 876-0950

James Quinn
University of Missouri
(573) 634-2824
quinnja@missouri.edu

Published: August 1, 2014

Every 5 years the Census of Ag is conducted, which is the most comprehensive view into changes occurring in agriculture (by the numbers). So it is comforting when it documents something everyone working in and around produce auctions ‘feels or knows’. That sales are increasing, and thus, so must be acreage, greenhouses or high tunnels, and farms involved. This article discusses some tables created to specifically look at counties across the state heavily involved with growers selling to produce auctions and the produce facilities nearby Rich Hill.

Of greatest concern was if the data would be severely compromised by the drought of 2012. Upon first glance it didn’t look good. Statewide, Missouri’s harvested acreage in vegetable production plunged, from over 32,000 in 2007 to just over 20,000 in 2012, a 38% decrease. However, most of that reduction was in processing vegetable acres. Still, acres for fresh vegetables declined a bit more than 10%, from 11,000 acres to just under 10,000, which seems logical. Why plant dryland pumpkins in a drought year? Or that last planting of sweet corn? Or harvest a fizzled crop? Let’s look at how vegetable production fared in the main produce auction counties.

The first table is the most detailed presented, and shows 2012 sales was up smartly (123%) over 2007, thanks in part to the surge in Vernon County. But sales were up in 7 of the 8 areas with produce auctions and similar facilities as was also acreage in most counties as well as the number of farms. For the 2012 census, the data used came from County Tables 2 and 29.

Table 1.

Field vegetable (fresh) in Missouri for 2007 & 2012 for selected counties; number of farms with production, acres harvested and sales ($1,000).

Counties

2007 2012

% increase over 2007

farms acres sales farms acres sales
Audrain 29 42 138 23 63 222 61%
Barton 7 87 301* 25 151 606* 101%
Dallas 30 68 314 40 121 398 27%
Daviess 11 64 204 30 134 499 145%
Benton 7 57 197* 9 30 120*
Henry 11 42 215 9 47 171
Johnson 42 84 230 26 74 368
Pettis 14 76 187 4 6 30
4 County Auction 73 259 829* 52 157 689* -17%
Moniteau 29 106 465 45 162 697
Morgan 45 121 419* 34 83 333
Central Auction 74 227 884* 82 245 1030 17%
Vernon 9 96 244 50 879 3527*
Bates 14 88 308 12 84 337*
Rich Hill Produce Businesses 23 184 552 59 963 3865* 600%
Webster 24 45 156* 32 57 229* 47%
Total 272 976 3378* 339 1891 7538* 123%

% increase over 2007

27%

94%

123%

* Adjusted as follows: acreage was multiplied by average sales per acre for that given year. Average sales per acre was calculated by summing sales from counties without an asterisk, of that given year, and then divided by the corresponding acreage.
Adjusted because for that county 'D' was given. D means not disclosed to prevent individual data from being derived or estimated.


The second and fourth tables address the production from greenhouses or high tunnels, which is divided into various market uses in Table 34 in the 2012 census. The most complete information was available in the category ‘Total Greenhouse Vegetables and Fresh Herbs’ of which tomatoes constituted 91% of the sales for Missouri in 2012. One can see that sales were up in all but one county or area. Unfortunately insufficient data existed to include Henry, Pettis and Webster counties. The data is only as good as is reported, so it is a bit odd to see such a small increase in sales in Morgan and Moniteau counties when the square footage tripled. However, the data from counties like Audrain and Daviess matches what I’ve seen, a nice increase in high tunnels or greenhouses.

Table 2.

Greenhouse or high tunnel vegetables and herbs in Missouri for 2007 & 2012 for selected counties; number of farms with square footage and sales ($1,000).

Counties

2007 2012

% increase over 2007

farms sq/ft sales farms sq/ft sales*
Audrain 5 14552 109 13 35281 179 64%
Barton 3 7488 53 10 36980 173 223%
Dallas 3 6360 48 13 81244 287 498%
Daviess 5 20360 124 20 134444 405 227%
Benton 4 38700 220 4 28500 86*
Johnson 4 3850 28* 12 46200 161
4 County Auction 8 42550 248* 16 74700 247* 0%
Moniteau 11 50400 378 14 260020 644
Morgan 15 89740 675 17 97553 444
Central Auction 26 140140 1053 31 357573 1088 3%
Vernon 5 23815 186 19 213916 451
Bates 3 6000 43* 4 28500 86*
Rich Hill Produce Businesses 8 29815 229* 23 242416 537* 221%
Total 58 218715 1867* 126 887938 2917*

% increase over 2007

120%

306%

77%

* Adjusted as follows: square footage was multiplied by average sales per sq/ft for that given year. Average sales per sq/ft was calculated by summing sales from counties without an asterisk, of that given year, and then divided by the corresponding square footage.


This is probably a good time to review how the census is conducted, the compliance rate and the efforts it has made to improve responses from small farms and specialty crops. In conducting the Census of Agriculture, USDA-NASS attempts to contact every farming operation in the state. An important part of doing this is having a good list of farms. While the list NASS has is good and well maintained, it is not complete. As farms go in and out business it is often difficult to keep up with all the changes, especially for smaller, specialty farms. For the 2007 and 2012 Censuses, NASS made extensive efforts to make its list as complete as possible and encourage participation through publicity, outreach and promotion.

For the 2012 Census, a census form was mailed to everyone on the list in early 2013. Following that, a postcard reminder was sent shortly after. A second census form was mailed to non-respondents in February. In March, a third form was mailed to those who had still not responded. In some cases, phone calls or personal visits were made in addition.

When data collection ended, using various statistical methods, NASS estimated that about 69% of farms in the state received a census form, completed it and returned it to NASS. Of the 31% of farms that did not, about 9% were not on the mail list and did not receive a census form. Another 17% received a census form but did not return it. Finally, about 6% returned a form but, for various reasons, the farm was incorrectly classified as a non farm (this was typically a small farm close to not meeting the criteria necessary to be considered a farm). For vegetable farms the percentages were nearly the same. NASS used statistical means to account for farms that did not return a completed census form.

To provide a picture of total vegetable production, Table 3 was created, but since 3 counties were not in Table 2, they could not be included here. The increase in sales is predictable, as two tables are combined where sales increased, but there are a couple items noteworthy. First, how significant the sales from vegetables under cover are. Statewide they ranged from 11 to 12% of total, but for these combined counties ranged from 30 to 39%. For Daviess they nearly equaled field vegetables. For Morgan and Moniteau they may surpass the value of field vegetables in some years. Secondly, how important are these counties to the supply of fresh vegetables in the state. In 2007 this estimate would be calculated as 13% and in 2012 increased to 21%. And this percentage is low, not only because 3 counties are left off, but also because many other counties sell produce to auctions, but their acreage may not be ‘most’ of the vegetables produced in that county. Examples would be some counties nearby the North Missouri Produce Auction, Cooper (Prairie Home community), or counties sending their produce into Iowa auctions.

Table 3.

Total sales* of fresh vegetables in Missouri for 2007 & 2012 for selected counties and entire state.

Counties

2007 2012

% increase over 2007

Field Covered Total Field Covered Total
Audrain 138 109 247 222 179 401 62%
Barton 301 56 357 606 173 779 118%
Dallas 314 48 362 398 287 685 89%
Daviess 204 124 328 499 405 904 176%
4 County Auction (Benton & Johnson only) 427 248 675 488 247 735 9%
Central Auction 884 1053 1937 1030 1088 2118 9%
Rich Hill Produce Bus. 552 229 781 3865 537 4402 464%
Total Above 2820 1866 4686 7108 2916 10024 114%
Statewide 32832 3706 36538 43215 5719 48934 34%

* Several values are estimates, including field statewide value(s). A statewide average sales per acre had to be calculated for fresh vegetables (as the average with the census includes processing vegetables, which tend to be lower value). It was calculated by averaging all the counties for a given year where sales for a given county was available, and processing acreage was 0 to 10. For 2007 this was 26 counties and 29 in 2012. This estimated that average sales per acre was $2985 in 2007 and $4374 in 2012.


The final table presented here considers sales of floriculture crops, which is an important component of auction sales in the spring and a bit with mums in the fall. These crops in the census table include all bedding and garden plants (including hanging baskets), foliage plants, cut flowers, potted flowering crops and ‘other floriculture and bedding crops’. The data available is substantially less, thus an analysis of sales is not provided. [Also, the results are prone to being skewed by large greenhouse operations not selling to auctions. For instance there is a very large bedding plant business based in Moniteau County that delivers statewide.] Most noteworthy is that the number of farms in these counties growing floriculture crops has increased noticeably. By 2012 it appears farms reporting growing ornamentals is 40% of the number of farms growing vegetables. Of course, many, if not most, growing ornamentals also grow vegetables.

Table 4.

Floriculture crops in Missouri for 2007 & 2012 for selected counties; number of farms and sales ($1,000)

Counties

2007 2012
Farms Sales Farms Sales
Audrain 4 D 10 104
Barton 3 79 11 D
Dallas 9 47 19 D
Daviess 5 46 5 38
Benton 4 D 7 128
Henry 3 D 0 D
Johnson 8 134 8 198
Pettis 1 D 8 194
Moniteau 22 3150 27 1940
Morgan 23 741 21 D
Vernon 3 122 4 D
Bates 5 480 7 354
Webster 7 D 9 117
Total 97 136
% of farms with field vegetables 36% 40%

‘D’ means not disclosed to prevent individual data from being derived or estimated.



Are you interested in more information from the Ag Census of 2012? Unfortunately there are relatively few books printed anymore, as most people access it on the web. However, a few books will be available in Missouri. The more practical way to get the information is to request the tables you want and then they can be printed and mailed to you, free of charge by NASS. If you don’t know what tables you want you should try to explain what information you’d like. Please send those requests to:

Robert Garino, Missouri State Statistician, USDA-NASS
  • 601 Business Loop 70 West, Ste. 213E Columbia, MO 65203
  • phone: 573-876-0950

The results of the 2012 Census appears to document the rising importance of fresh vegetables coming from produce auctions and like facilities (as a percentage of what is produced in Missouri). This is important as it is the most definitive ‘proof’ in that regard, and we can see that increase coming from multiple counties and both field and covered production. This can have implications to buyers (this supply is better regarded as a stable growing source), regulators, growers (builds confidence), and the general public (who want more local produce but may be disconnected from your farms). The next census of ag will be conducted for calendar year 2017, being mailed shortly after that year ends, in the winter of 2018. Please fill it out carefully and encourage others to do so as well.

   About IPM     Contact Us    Subscribe     Unsubcribe

Copyright © 2018 — Curators of the University of Missouri. All rights reserved. DMCA and other copyright information. An equal opportunity/access/affirmative action/pro-disabled and veteran employer.

Printed from: https://ipm.missouri.edu
E-mail: IPM@missouri.edu

REVISED: March 2, 2016

March 2, 2016