BOISE, Idaho (AP) — While Idaho lost ground in 2015 among the 11 Western states in the rankings for farm cash receipts and net farm income it remained No. 1 when it comes to those categories on a per capita basis.
“To me, (that) shows how dependent Idaho is on agriculture compared to our neighboring states,” said University of Idaho agricultural economist Ben Eborn, who compiles the Western state rankings annually.
Eborn told the Capital Press the rankings are a way to show how Western states compare with each other in agricultural terms but he compiles them to show policy makers how critical farming is to the state.
The 2015 data, based on USDA Economic Research Service numbers, became available this week.
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California retained its No. 1 overall ranking for the West, and United States, with $47 billion in farm cash receipts in 2015 and $14.6 billion in net farm income. Washington kept its No. 2 ranking for cash receipts with $10.2 billion and generated $3.3 billion in net farm income, taking the No. 2 ranking in that category from Idaho, which had $1.8 billion in net farm income.
Idaho, which also ranked third in cash receipts with $7.5 billion, had ranked No. 2 in net farm income the previous two years but Washington moved past Idaho last year in that category.
The downturn in beef and dairy prices hurt Idaho, which is top heavy in animal production when compared with other Western states.
Idaho generated $4.6 billion in livestock cash receipts in 2015 and $2.9 billion in crop receipts, while Washington generated $2.9 billion in livestock receipts and $7.2 billion in crop receipts.
Dairy has ranked No. 1 in Idaho for several years in cash receipts.