Economic Tidbits

Nebraska’s Corn & Soybean Producing Counties

Numbers from the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service show Hamilton County was Nebraska’s top corn-producing county in 2022 and Saunders County topped the state in soybean production. It’s a result these two counties are familiar with. They have led the state in corn and soybean production many times over the years. Figures 1 and 2 plot county-level production of corn and soybeans in 2022. The darker the color, the greater the production. Counties colored grey are ones in which no data was reported. Data on corn production is available for 71 of the state’s 93 counties accounting for 87 percent of the state’s production. And data for 61 counties is available for soybean production, accounting for 86 percent of state production.

Farmers in Hamilton County produced 41.4 million bushels of corn in 2022. Phelps County, with 38.3 million bushels, and Holt County with 36.5 million bushels followed (Figure 1). The dispersion of last year’s production among counties was consistent with historical patterns. Corn production through history has centered in counties along Interstate 80 and the Platte River ranging from York and Fillmore Counties in the east to Dawson and Phelps Counties in the west. Custer County is the only county outside this corridor which consistently shows up as a top producer. Lincoln, Holt, Antelope, Platte, and Merrick Counties have made appearances as top corn producers but haven’t shown the staying power of the other counties.

Figure 1. 2022 Corn Production by County

Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service

Farmers in Saunders County produced 7.9 million bushels of soybeans in 2022. Since 1980, Saunders County has regularly been the state’s top soybean-producing county. Last year, it was followed closely by York and Fillmore Counties with 7.7 million and 7.6 million bushels, respectively. Like in the past years, soybean production in 2022 was centered in eastern Nebraska and in the Platte Basin in central Nebraska.

The distribution of last year’s corn and soybean crop among counties was consistent with the state’s production history even though the state was plagued with severe drought. Time will tell whether the continued dryness affects cropping patterns this year.  

Figure 2. 2022 Soybean Production by County

Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service

You may also like