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U.S. Farmers Want to Grow World’s Costliest Spice

"As spring crocus blooms approach, some growers have visions of a fall-flowering crocus that produces saffron, the world's most valuable spice.

University of Vermont researchers have been raising the exotic spice now grown primarily in Iran and are encouraging growers to tap into what they hope will be a cash crop.

It's not a hard sell, particularly in the short growing season of the Northeast. A crop harvested in the late fall, when other crops have died off, that tolerates extreme climates and yields an average of $19 per gram."

Google World Maps: 2014 Agricultural Output Per Worker

While the United States and Canada have some of the most productive farms in the world, France and Norway produce slightly more economic output per person employed in agriculture.

Notes from the World Bank: Agriculture comprises value added from forestry, hunting, and fishing as well as cultivation of crops and livestock production. Data are in constant 2000 U.S. dollars. Agricultural productivity is measured by value added per unit of input. Agricultural value added includes that from forestry and fishing. Thus interpretations of land productivity should be made with caution. Among the difficulties faced by compilers of national accounts is the extent of unreported economic activity in the informal or secondary economy. In developing countries a large share of agricultural output is either not exchanged (because it is consumed within the household) or not exchanged for money. Agricultural production often must be estimated indirectly, using a combination of methods involving estimates of inputs, yields, and area under cultivation. This approach sometimes leads to crude approximations that can differ from the true values over time and across crops for reasons other than climate conditions or farming techniques. Data on employment are drawn from labor force surveys, household surveys, official estimates, censuses and administrative records of social insurance schemes, and establishment surveys when no other information is available. The concept of employment generally refers to people above a certain age who worked, or who held a job, during a reference period. Employment data include both full-time and part-time workers.

Data Source: World Bank, Economic Indicators. Table 3.3. Agriculture value added per worker (constant 2010 US$) (EA.PRD.AGRI.KD).

Real Gross Domestic Product – Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting for New York

While the gross domestic product varies a lot from year to year based on commodity prices, the Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting industry in New York has seen some growth in real (inflation-adjusted terms) in recent years.

Data Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Real Gross Domestic Product by Industry: Private Industries: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting for New York [NYAGRRGSP], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis;, February 24, 2017.

Google Maps: Maple Trees Tapped

This interactive google map shows how many maple taps were driven in for each county. New York State and Vermont are the nation's biggest maple producers, but there are several other states that have smaller numbers of trees tapped. This is a consolidation of county level data, those counties with only one farm reporting maple production, were not included in the survey results, which depresses tap counts in counties that are marginal maple producers.

Data Source: USDA Agriculture Census, 2012. Maple Taps. Counts.

Google Maps: Meat Goat Production

Goat meat, aka chevon and cabrito, capretto, or kid is not a real popular commodity in the United States, although there are some very large meat goat farms in Texas and some pockets of meat goat farms in Oklahoma, Tennessee and a few other states. Most counties have some farms raising meat goats, but for the most part, it's not a major commodity, as people don't raise goats commercially much in the United States for food.

More about meat goats:
Data Source: USDA Agriculture Census, 2012. Goats for meat. Counts.

Google Maps: Reported Milk Spills In NY State

Since 1974, there have been 292 reported spills of milk in New York State, mostly involving bulk haulers of milk. Bulk tankers have a dangerous job as they must pick up milk from dairy farms 365 days a year, often driving on icy roads. Due to rural location of many of the spills, many of them could not be accurately geo-coded on the map, but this maps gives an overview of milk spills in our state. Larger milk spills, are shown with warmer colors. Here is a story about a recent milk spill in our state.