Percent of Crops in the World Produced by United States, 1912 and 2012

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:

Tuesday, July 30, 1912:  Nothing doing at all.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Since Grandma didn’t write much a hundred years ago today, I’d like to share some interesting statistics about world crop production in 1912 and 2012.

According to the  July 30, 1912 issue of the New York Times:

We Lead in Crops

The Bureau of Statistics of the Department of Agriculture concluded today a resume of the production of staple crops throughout the world which presents the latest information in such line of inquiry.

It shows that the United States stands first in the production of corn, wheat, oats, cotton, tobacco, and hops. The relative rank of the United States in the world’s exports is first in wheat, flour, cotton, cottonseed oil, tobacco, oilcake and oilcake meal, rosin, and turpentine.

The United States produces 19.8 per cent of the world’s wheat crop, 74.8 per cent of the world’s corn crop, 24 per cent of the oat crop of the world, 59 per cent of its cotton, 31 per cent of its tobacco, and 25 per cent of its flaxseed.

Click on figure to enlarge.

The US produces a lower percentage of the world’s total production of wheat, corn, oats, cotton, and tobacco now than in 1912—though of course the actual amount produced would be higher.  (A previous post provides data about actual crop yields a hundred years ago and now.)

Click on table to enlarge.

In both 1912 and 2012, the US was the largest producer in the world of corn.

If you care about the details about how I compiled the data in the figures–

If 2012 data wasn’t available for a crop, I used data from the most recent year available and assumed that it was the same in 2012.

If you’d like to dig deeper into crop current crop production data here are some useful resources:

United States Department of Agriculture–Economic Research Service

Index Mundi–Agriculture

AgMRC: Agricultural Marketing Resource Center

US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Major Crops Grown in the United States

6 thoughts on “Percent of Crops in the World Produced by United States, 1912 and 2012

  1. I enjoy your little tidbits and facts when your grandmother had nothing much to say. I do like what she wrote today “nothing doing at all” sounded like my day yesterday! Blessings – Patty

  2. I stopped by earlier and copied out your charts… didn’t have time to leave a comment. I think a lot of people in this country just do not realize how much farm land has been lost… and how farming had changed and not necessarily for the good. Now with the droughts and dust storms and the heat in the midwest we’re losing even more. Helena’s folks raise dairy cows didn’t they… I suppose they raised corn to feed them too. And vegetables for their own use. I didn’t see milk and milk products on your charts… I suppose that may be because many dairy farms around the country are independent farmers???? I know we cherish our dairy herds around here.

    I can imagine the heat and humidity at this time of year makes one logey with no air conditioning… and working outside on the farm would be very tiring this time of year… I can imagine it would sap enthusiasm quite quickly… No wonder there was nothing to write.

    1. Yes, her family had dairy cows. Sometime I need to track down the dairy statistics from a hundred years ago. It seems as if dairy and other livestock statistics were reported in different places from crop statistics.

      It is sad how much farmland has been lost. I also think that some of the other countries may have cleared land and may now have more farmland now than they had a hundred years ago.

  3. Very interesting charts, it’s great that she kept those stats and that you can compare them today.

    The US may not be the world producers of certain crops anymore but with the spread of GM farming, all those countries are suffering now e.g. the masses of Indian farmers that committed suicide after losing their livelihoods with GM crops.

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