New Jersey is home to a large and vibrant agricultural industry, and for its size, it holds its own against the larger Mid-Western states that we Americans consider our bread-basket areas.  It is truly remarkable and refreshing to see that a state the size of New Jersey, and a state as densely packed, even has an agricultural industry.  We make do with the small space that we have and actually end up producing large amounts of field crops such as wheat, corn, and soybeans.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/IStockphoto

Soybeans in New Jersey are planted in the Spring and early Summer (5/10 to 7/10), harvested in the Fall (10/1 to 11/15), processed, and shipped to various markets around the country and around the world.  They find their way into the Asian markets in Manhattan and aboard ships leaving from Port Newark to be distributed across the Atlantic.

Photo Credit: Alabama Extension, creative commons/flickr.com

Most of the soybean planting is done in the south of the state to take advantage of the slightly warmer weather.  The top five counties in soybean production are: 1. Salem, 2. Burlington, 3. Cumberland, 4. Gloucester, 5. Warren.  Note that wheat, the other state field crop, is grown primarily in the central and northern portions of the state.  That is because the species of wheat grown here is winter wheat, a wheat that needs colder temperatures to start a hardening process needed to grow and harvest.  Let’s take a look at the numbers.

The 2020 harvesting season:

94,000 acres planted

4,278,000Bu of yield

$42,780,000 of revenue

If we compare those numbers with the leading soybean producing state, Illinois, we can get some idea of where New Jersey fits in to the national conversation.  You can also get some sense of relativity, and you’ll see that, again, for its size and demographics, New Jersey does well.

Illinois Soybean Production, 2020:

10.3 million acres planted (NJ total state acreage is just 5.2 million)

$7,015,100,000 of revenue (NJ total agricultural output is just barely over $1 billion)

So, we can plainly see that Illinois has a remarkable capability for soybean output given its size advantage.  It plants twice as many acres of soybeans as New Jersey’s total land area!  Nevertheless, visiting the southern portion of the state will still provide you with great views of endless soybean fields, among others, and will let you know that New Jersey still has the right to be named the Garden State!