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USDA makes historic agricultural data available online

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service put 77 years of agricultural statistics online earlier this month.

Statistics were previously published only in the annual bulletin of Agricultural Statistics in print form since 1936. Data highlights annual farmland production, consumption, trade and price data for a wide variety of crops and livestock, along with spending on government programs. Statisticians unearthed the following interesting historical facts:

n U.S. egg exports skyrocketed from 5 million dozen in 1940 to 153 million dozen in 1941, the same year the Lend-Lease policy was enacted to provide food aid to Britain and other allies during World War II. By 1944, that number was nearly 700 million dozen.

n In 1933, hybrid corn seeds made up only one-tenth of 1 percent of the national crop. Within ten years, that proportion reached 50 percent; by 1956, more than 90 percent of the national corn crop was from hybrid seeds.

n Iowa harvested 2.36 billion bushels of corn in 2011, more than the entire U.S. corn harvest of 1935.

n Once staples of American farms, horse and mule populations fell from 18.7 million in 1930 to 3.1 million in 1960, after which the statistic was discontinued.

The data is available at http://wdt.me/oRnHR5.

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