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Tennessee farming is far from the mule-and-plow stereotype of the past. Staying attuned to the technological times, embracing sustainability and fostering innovation in an ever-changing industry is how agriculture and forestry have remained vital sectors in the Volunteer State, contributing approximately $74.8 billion to Tennessee’s economy each year. Leading agricultural commodities are cattle and calves, broilers and milk, and also soybeans, corn, hay, wheat, cotton, tobacco, and a variety of fruits and vegetables.

The Average Tennessee Farm

  • Acres: 156
  • Farmer’s Age: 58
  • Value of Equipment: $80,447
  • Value of Land and Buildings: $608,739

Tennessee’s Top Agricultural Commodities


  • Soybeans are planted on more acres than any other row crop in Tennessee and is currently the #1 commodity in the state in cash receipts.
  • In 2017, farmers harvested a record soybean crop of 50 bushels per acre across almost 1.7 million harvested acres.
  • In 2018, Tennessee soybeans brought in $655.3 million in cash receipts.


  • Tennessee’s poultry industry has an overall economic impact of $6.55 billion.
  • Poultry provides more than 27,000 direct and indirect jobs, and accounts for over $438 million paid annually in state and federal taxes.
  • Broilers brought in $494.5 million in cash receipts.
  • Tennessee currently ranks 16th in the U.S. for number of broilers on farms.


  • Tennessee ranks 17th in corn acreage in the U.S. and 18th in total corn for grain production.
  • The largest corn-producing counties in the state are in the western and central regions.
  • In 2018, corn brought in $374.2 million in cash receipts.


  • Tennessee farmers harvested 21,100 acres of tobacco in 2017, which produced 43 million pounds of the crop.
  • Tennessee ranks No. 4 in the nation for tobacco production
  • In 2018, Tobacco brought in $99.3 million in cash receipts, an 8% share of total U.S. receipts.


  • Tennessee’s climate is conducive for the production of high-quality, low-protein, soft red winter wheat.
  • In 2018, Wheat brought in $97.2 million in cash receipts.
  • Tennessee ranks No. 21 in the nation for Winter wheat production

Dairy Products

  • Tennessee has six commercial milk processing plants in Nashville, Murfreesboro, Memphis, Powell and Athens.
  • A typical Tennessee dairy farm has a herd of about 170 milking cows.
  • The state is home to approximately 226 registered dairies.
  • In 2018, Dairy products brought $109.4 million in cash receipts.

Upland Cotton

  • In 2017, Tennessee produced 1,031 pounds of lint per acre from 340,000 acres harvested, for a total production of 730,000 bales.
  • The majority of the crop is grown in the Western and Delta part of the state.
  • In 2018, The crop brought $236.3 million in cash receipts.


  • In 2017, Tennessee had a total inventory of 225,000 hogs.
  • In 2018, Hogs brought $79.5 million in cash receipts.
  • Tennessee ranks No. 21 in the U.S. for Hog production.

Cattle and Calves

  • Beef cattle are produced in every county in Tennessee.
  • Tennessee is one of the top beef-producing states in the nation.
  • Tennessee ranks 12th in the nation for number of beef cows and 16th for total cattle.
  • In 2017, Tennessee had an inventory of over 1.8 million cattle and calves.
  • In 2018, Cattle and Calves brought $548.8 million in cash receipts
  • Cattle and Calves rank #2 in the state for total cash receipts.


  • Growers across the state harvested more than 1.7 million acres of hay in 2017.
  • In 2018, Hay brought $157.4 million in cash receipts.
  • In 2017, there were 1.66 million acres of land for hay and forage production.
  • Tennessee ranks No. 7 in the U.S. for Hay production.

Tennessee Ag Fun Facts

  • A single acre of soybeans can make 82,368 crayons.
  • Hay can be a single species or a mix of plants such as alfalfa, clover or ryegrass.
  • Lincoln County had a total of 61,000 cattle and calves in 2017 – the most of the counties in the Central Basin according to most recent data.
  • Tennessee has 40,097 women farmers.
  • The average farm size is 155 acres.
  • Tennessee has 9,344 producers who are involved in the care of 7,101 farms.
  • Tennessee ranks fourth in the nation for meat goat production.
  • Roughly 52 percent of Tennessee is covered in forest, or close to 14 million acres.
  • 89 percent of Tennessee’s forest composition is hardwoods, making the state one of the top three lumber-producing states in the country.
  • Tennessee ranks third in the nation for the production of fresh-market tomatoes.

Tennessee Forestry Facts

  • Approximately 52% of of the state is covered in forest for a total of 14 million acres.
  • Tennessee is home to more than 120 tree species.
  • Tennessee ranks within the top 3 hardwood lumber-producing states in the U.S.
  • Forestry accounts for 3.5% of the state’s economy and employs more than 98,000 Tennesseans.
  • In 2019, forestry generated $24.3 billion in output.
  • 2017 exports of Tennessee forest products, furniture and related products outside the U.S. totaled $343.7 million.
  • Top Tennessee forest product exports include Oak Lumber, Hardwood Lumber, Wooden Casks, Ash Lumber and Hardwood Logs.

Local Food Facts

  • Pick Tennessee Products has 2,388 producers with more than 10,000 products.
  • Tennessee has 125 farmers markets.
  • Tennessee ranks 15th in the nation for farms selling local foods direct to consumers.
  • The value of local food sold from farms in 2014 totaled $58,720,441.


Sources: USDA Ag Census, Tennessee Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service