This fact sheet is a summary of agricultural data from 2008-2009 for Pershing County, Nevada. The information and statistics in this fact sheet were gathered from the 2008-2009 Nevada Agricultural Statistics Service’s Annual Report and the 2007 USDA Census of Agriculture. This county version will be helpful to those seeking agricultural data pertinent to Pershing County. Special thanks go to the Pershing County farmers and ranchers whose voluntary participation in the NASS surveys provided this information. Questions regarding any of these statistics or additional information are welcomed.
Summary of Agricultural Data
Located in northwestern Nevada, Pershing County’s population was listed at 7,192 in 2008. The main industries are mining and agriculture. Table 1 summarizes Pershing County’s agricultural demographics, in 2007. The 2007 USDA Census of Agriculture reveals 135 farms and ranches covering more than 244,249 acres, excluding public grazing allotment lands, with the average farm size at 1,809 acres in the county. This is a 17 percent increase in the number of farms and an 86 percent increase in lands in farms from the 2002 USDA Census of Agriculture Report. Market value of products sold in 2007 was $42,403,000, with $23,017,000 (54 percent) from crop sales and $19,387,000 (46 percent) from the sales of livestock.
Table 2 list the major agricultural commodities produced in Pershing County along with the total amounts and market value for each commodity, 2008-2009. Alfalfa hay, alfalfa seed and small grains are the principle crops. Cattle, sheep and goats are the primary livestock species raised in the county. Pershing County is home to the state’s largest cattle feedlot. While agricultural production for this period was valued at nearly $63 million, if one considers the multiplier effect of this production, the total economic impact on the county and state is much greater.
Table 3 summarizes average prices received and the amount of production per acre for alfalfa hay, other hay, alfalfa seed and wheat harvested for grain in Pershing County, 2008-2009. Alfalfa hay remains by far the most important crop in terms of both acres harvested and value of production.
Table 4 illustrates the total acres, yield and total tons produced of alfalfa hay for Nevada Counties, 2007-2008. In 2008, Pershing County harvested 33,000 acres of alfalfa hay, with an average yield of 5.3 tons/acre and total production of 175,000 tons. This was an increase of 4,000 acres, 0.4 tons/acre and 32,000 total tons of production from 2007.
Producers, farm organizations, agribusinesses, lawmakers and government agencies all rely on the information produced by NASS. For instance:
- Statistical information on acreage, production, stocks, prices and value is essential for the smooth operation of federal farm programs.
- Agricultural data are indispensable for planning and administering related federal and state programs in such areas as consumer protection, conservation and environmental quality, trade, education and recreation.
- NASS data help to ensure an orderly flow of goods and services among agriculture’s producing, processing and marketing sectors.
- Reliable, timely and detailed crop and livestock statistics help to maintain a stable economic climate and minimize the uncertainties and risks associated with the production, marketing and distribution of commodities.
- Farmers and ranchers rely on NASS reports in making various production and marketing decisions, such as how much grain to plant, how much livestock to raise and when to buy or sell agricultural commodities.
- NASS estimates and forecasts are used by the transportation sector, warehouse and storage companies, banks and other lending institutions, commodity traders and food processors.
- The businesses that provide farmers with seeds, equipment, chemicals and other goods and services use the data when planning their marketing strategies.
- Analysts transform the statistics into projections of coming trends, interpretations of the trends’ economic implications and evaluations of alternative courses of action for producers, agribusinesses and policymakers.
It should be noted that the Census of Agriculture counts a farm as every place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold or normally would have been sold during the census year. It is the only source of uniform, comprehensive agricultural data for every county in the nation.
Breazeale, D. & Owens, M. (2006). 2004 - 2005 Pershing County Agricultural Statistics. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Fact Sheet. FS-06-61.
Owens, M. (2009). Nevada Agricultural Statistics 2009. Nevada Department of Agriculture.
2007 USDA Census of Agriculture (2009). Vol.1. U.S Summary and State Reports.
2009 Estimates by County, Nevada Department of Taxation and Nevada State Demographer, University of Nevada, Reno (2009).