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Top U.S. Cash Crops

Name America's 25 most valuable cash crops.
For the year 2015. Source
Does not include illegal crops
A crop is a plant that is grown for human use or animal feed
Last updated: November 12, 2016
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$ Value
Change
since 1997
Crop
49.0 bil
+ 96%
Corn
34.5 bil
+ 95%
Soybean
16.8 bil
+ 25%
Hay
10.2 bil
+ 18%
Wheat
5.89 bil
+ 445%
Almond
5.82 bil
+ 116%
Grape
3.86 bil
- 38%
Cotton
3.85 bil
+ 48%
Potato
2.96 bil
+ 85%
Lettuce
2.86 bil
+ 69%
Apple
2.67 bil
+ 44%
Tomato
2.58 bil
+ 49%
Rice
2.22 bil
+ 144%
Strawberry
$ Value
Change
since 1997
Crop
2.08 bil
+ 43%
Sorghum
1.96 bil
+ 1%
Orange
1.59 bil
+ 683%
Pistachio
1.43 bil
- 53%
Tobacco
1.23 bil
+ 61%
Mushroom
1.19 bil
+ 28%
Peanut
1.84 bil
+ 426%
Walnut
1.44 bil
+ 20%
Sugarbeet
1.12 bil
+ 22%
Barley
1.06 bil
+ 33%
Sugarcane
0.993 bil
+ 53%
Onion
0.919 bil
- 7%
Broccoli
+1
level 75
Oct 15, 2013
Count on NORML to be off in space. Spearmint is NOT a bigger cash crop than tomatoes, lettuce, strawberries, mushrooms, onions, peppers, broccoli, carrots, cantaloupe, watermelons, cabbage, celery, garlic, cauliflower, cucumbers, asparagus, artichokes, spinach, or lentils. The correct list is at: "http://usda01.library.cornell.edu/usda/nass/CropRank/98180/crprnkus.txt".
+1
level ∞
Oct 16, 2013
Wow. I thought their numbers looked a little strange. I can't believe how bad they were. Updated the quiz using your source. Thanks!
+1
level 71
May 7, 2016
Marijuana easily beats corn into the number 1 position, with a value of 35.8 billion dollars. Ignoring the number one crop because it's illegal seems quite arbitrary.
+1
level 76
May 7, 2016
But its price is much higher just because it is illegal...
+1
level 70
May 7, 2016
And if corn were illegal no one would bother...
+3
level ∞
May 7, 2016
I don't consider that news story to be accurate. Marijuana clearly would be somewhere on the list, but it's impossible to say where. Almost certainly not #1. Keep in mind that street value != crop value.
+2
level 75
Nov 12, 2016
I'm sure it will start to be in the data soon. Having a legal crop grown in 7 or more states, where it is tracked and regulated will put it into the mix, and it will be actual value, not street value.
+2
level 20
Jan 20, 2017
Now marijuana is legal in quite a few states. Maybe a list update?
+1
level 63
Jul 22, 2018
True, it doesn't figure in the price of corn when you break it down into bag size.
+1
level 75
Jan 24, 2014
Got Soybean with 2 seconds to spare...
+1
level 20
Jan 24, 2014
got sorghum with 1 second to spare
+1
level 53
Jan 18, 2017
got a life. lololol
+5
level 75
Apr 11, 2017
but how much time did you have left when you got it?
+1
level 81
Jan 24, 2014
Surprised at some of these results. How can almonds, peanuts, pecans, and pistachios make the list, and my favorite, cashews, be left off? Also hard to believe sorghum is such a huge cash crop in the US, as I've never seen it as an ingredient.
+1
level ∞
Jan 24, 2014
I don't think you can even grow cashews in the U.S. (outside of Hawaii)
+1
level 25
Jun 10, 2017
arent cash crops thing that cant be eaten
+1
level 63
Jul 22, 2018
Yeah, because no one would ever get a job just to pay for something to eat.
+1
level 75
Jan 24, 2014
I guessed sorghum because I saw it on some user-created quiz about the biggest cash crops in the world. But I had no idea sorghum was grown anywhere in the United States.
+1
level 73
Jan 24, 2014
We grow a lot of it 'round these parts. (west Texas)
+1
level 71
May 13, 2014
A pretty common summer cash crop in Australia - an option to corn (maize) sunflower etc. Generally sold as stockfeed; may be exported in limited quantities for human consumption
+1
level 53
Jul 6, 2014
You wouldn't see it as an ingredient, necessarily. It's mostly used as feed, or for a syrup resembling molasses.
+1
level 59
Apr 19, 2015
Thank you! I put in milo, but it didn't take it. Glad to know I at least had the right idea.
+1
level 75
May 7, 2016
We used to grow grain sorghum but around here everyone calls it milo or millet. Please accept those? It is used mainly for animal feed and ethanol production. Sweet sorghum is used for making sorghum molasses, and isn't quite the same thing. Broomcorn is also in this family. My guess is that the data used here was only for grain sorghum.
+1
level 53
Jan 24, 2014
surprised only 28% got hay?!
+1
level 65
May 8, 2016
I wrote "grass"... :(
+1
level 80
Jun 8, 2014
I've heard sorghum mentioned in my language, but I'd never ever even heard the English name and I wouldn't have come up with it in any language at all. Really unknown plant to me. -- Also almost forgot all the berries.
+1
level 48
Aug 19, 2014
Surprised that spinach is not on here, but asparagus, which I thought was mainly a CA thing is..
+1
level 43
Dec 27, 2014
Could you accept "sugar" for "sugarcane"?
+1
level ∞
Nov 12, 2016
Okay
+1
level 80
Nov 12, 2016
It should really be accepted for sugarbeet as well then. You get one and don't think the other one is on the list.
+1
level 58
Aug 18, 2015
I was surprised that marijuana was absent. It did not specify "legal" cash crops. ;)
+1
level ∞
Feb 4, 2016
Yes it does.
+1
level 75
May 7, 2016
Now that marijuana is legal in many states, should it still not be included?
+1
level 77
May 7, 2016
Probably not, only because there are four states where it's completely legal.
+1
level 59
May 9, 2016
Like you mentioned above, while it's still illegal/moderately illegal in many states, it will be hard to get an accurate cash value on it. It'd have to be legalized everywhere to really compare it.
+2
level 44
May 10, 2016
regardless if some states have legalized it, it is still considered illegal on the federal level. so for a country wide cash crop quiz, it would not be considered.
+1
level 63
Jul 22, 2018
It's still not legal anywhere in the U.S. Some states just don't have state laws prohibiting it.
+1
level 72
Jan 29, 2016
Nice quiz, but the title should be "name as many things that grow in the the ground as you can in six minutes." Guessing, say, the top 10 would be more quiz-like.
+1
level ∞
Nov 12, 2016
Changed it to a top 25.
+1
level 68
May 7, 2016
I'm surprised broccoli is so high. Who is eating more broccoli than peanuts, sugarcane, onions, beans, carrots, oats, etc.?
+1
level 67
May 7, 2016
Prisons, jails, schools etc......... it's a form of punishment.
+1
level 59
May 9, 2016
Maybe it's exported a lot? Only reason I can think of, since peanuts would definitely be pretty high because of peanut oil.
+1
level 46
May 7, 2016
America, where are your pumpkins!
+1
level 49
May 7, 2016
When I guessed 'bean' I was thinking 'green bean' but I see that's a separate answer. So what kind of beans are the higher scoring ones?
+1
level 75
May 7, 2016
Dried beans such as Pinto, Great Northern, Black, Red, Wren's Egg, Jacob's Cattle, Horticulture, etc. I, too, thought "bean" covered all of them, including green beans. Many varieties can be used both for eating when the seeds are young in the pod (green) or allowed to mature and eaten shelled as dry beans.
+1
level 65
May 8, 2016
What kind of mushroom?
+1
level ∞
Nov 12, 2016
They are grouped together.
+2
level 67
Feb 8, 2018
Since when are mushrooms a plant?
+1
level 82
Nov 12, 2016
Who eats cotton? or tobacco?
+1
level 72
Nov 12, 2016
wondering that also
+1
level 79
Nov 12, 2016
I was thinking the same thing...nom, nom, nom, this fairy floss tastes a bit bland, and this lettuce tastes funny.
+1
level ∞
Nov 13, 2016
Fixed the caveat!
+1
level 71
Nov 13, 2016
I presume you're excluding trees? Lumber would be a massive income producer. (I double-checked that a tree is indeed a plant before posting this)
+1
level 35
Oct 14, 2017
Apple, orange, almond and walnut are trees
+1
level 47
Feb 22, 2018
Trees aren't crops, unless the fruit from them is.
+1
level 66
Nov 15, 2016
I'm surprised avocado wasn't there. Growing up in the 1980's, I don't think we ever saw an avocado in Massachusetts. Now they seem to be on every sandwich that you order! :)
+2
level ∞
Nov 15, 2016
So true. Also they are incredibly expensive. But I think most come from Mexico.
+1
level 70
Nov 18, 2016
The majority do come from Mexico. I was a little surprised not to see olives.
+1
level 59
Jan 18, 2017
Yes, avocado were very exotic and rare when I was a child, but now they are cheap (usually) and plentiful, thankfully! Yum! And they grow well here in NZ. Three huge avocado trees in my street.
+1
level 59
Nov 15, 2016
Please accept grass for hay.
+2
level 75
Jan 18, 2017
Mushrooms are not plants.
+1
level 75
Jan 18, 2017
Why doesn't lumber count?
+1
level 52
Jan 18, 2017
Looks like I need to get into the nut business. All of the huge growth since 1997 has been there (Almond, pistachio, walnut).
+1
level 72
Jan 19, 2017
With what I see in the stores, how is kale not on here. Kale seems to be in damned near everything now.
+1
level 52
Apr 23, 2017
Guess I don't know much about U.S. crops - really expected oats to be on the list. And sugarbeets and sorghum? Who knew?
+1
level 47
Feb 22, 2018
Yeah I tried oats too and was surprised when it wasn't on there. But then, I guess I haven't seen very many oat fields here in America.
+1
level 65
Oct 14, 2017
Sitting here eating almonds. Missed almonds.
+1
level 75
Oct 14, 2017
By volume I'm sure they wouldn't make the list but they are so overpriced they slide in on cash value.
+1
level 75
Oct 14, 2017
Most undervalued crop in the world? Pretty sure it's the humble banana.
+1
level 33
Feb 22, 2018
In South Dakota, there is pretty much is corn, soybeans, and cows. I got corn and soybeans and didn't know where to go next
+1
level 48
Jan 12, 2019
I'm surprised peanuts and carrots aren't on this list.
+1
level 58
Jan 18, 2019
Surprised about the peanuts, too. And peaches. I don't think one should consider tobacco food.