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Washington Economy

Agriculture

Washington is a state of "firsts." While it only ranks 14th among the states in total agricultural receipts, it provides a broad range of agricultural products not provided by other states. About 70% of Washington's total agricultural receipts are in crops; About 30% are in livestock products.

In terms of revenue generated Washington's top five agricultural products are apples, dairy products, beef cattle and calves, wheat, and potatoes.

Livestock

Dairy products, particularly milk, comprise Washington's most valuable group of livestock products and account for about 15% of the state's total agricultural receipts.

Beef cattle and calves generate about 9% of the state's agricultural revenue.

Aquaculture, chicken eggs, and broilers (young chickens) are other major livestock products thriving in Washington.

Crops

The State of Washington generates more apple revenues than any other state. Washington is the #1 apple-producing state. About 20% of the state's total agricultural receipts are generated by apples. Washington produces about 64% of the nation's apples.

Wheat (#5 among the states) and potatoes (#2 among the states) are other major crops grown in Washington.

Greenhouse and nursery products account for about 7% of Washington's total agricultural receipts.

Hay, behind wheat, is the second most valuable field crop grown in the state. Washington ranks #3, among the states, in revenues generated by hay. Other important crops grown in Washington are hops (#1 among the states), sweet corn, mint (#1 among the states), corn for grain, barley and Kentucky bluegrass (#1 among the states).

Important vegetables for the state are onions, asparagus (#1 among the states), carrots, dry peas and lentils.

Beyond apples, cherries (#1 among the states), grapes, pears (#1 among the states), and raspberries are the leading fruits grown in Washington.

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Manufacturing

Manufacturers add value to raw products by creating manufactured items. For example, cotton cloth becomes more valuable than a boll of cotton through manufacturing processes.

Transportation equipment is Washington's most valuable manufactured product. The state is a leading producer in the aircraft and space industry. Washington is also a leading shipbuilding state.

Ranking second are computer and electronic products such as computer microchips, telephone and wireless communication equipment, medical equipment and navigational instruments.

Food processing (milling flour, coffee and tea manufacturing, potato processing, packing fish and meats, canning, freezing and preserving fruits, vegetables, and berries, producing butter, cheese, milk, wine, breakfast foods) ranks third.

Mining

The most important mined products of the state are coal, cement, crushed stone, gold, and sand and gravel.

Other mined products are clay, gypsum and silver.

Fishing

Washington is famous for its fish.

Its catch includes sockeye and chinook salmon; chum, coho, and pink salmon; clams; cod; crabs; flounder; halibut; herring; oysters; rockfish; shrimp; steelhead; and tuna.

Services

The community, business and personal services group is the leading service industry group in Washington, with income sources in private health care, computer programming and engineering companies and law firms. Washington is home to the world's largest developer and publisher of computer software.

Ranking second in the state is the finance, insurance and real estate services group. Washington is home to a major banking company and a major insurance company.

Ranking third in gross state product is the wholesale trade (automobiles, automobile parts, computers and other office equipment, groceries, industrial supplies, construction materials) and retail trade (grocery stores, discount stores, restaurants) group. Several major retailers are based in Washington, including Nordstrom, Starbucks, REI and Amazon.com.

Sources

Robert C. Carriker and Ronald Reed Boyce, "Washington," World Book Online Americas Edition, http://www.worldbookonline.com/wbol/wbPage/na/ar/co/592860, August 15, 2001.

U.S. Department of Agriculture: National Agricultural Statistics Service, "Washington State Agriculture Overview, 2004", 3 January 2006, <http://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Ag_Overview/AgOverview_VA.pdf> (12 January 2006)

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