What Crops the State of Washington Produces

Washington Apple Production



Washington State has a diverse geography that creates an endless variety of growing regions – from the moist hillside on the Western part to rolling plains on Eastern Washington. Furthermore, the production facilities are located near rail lines, cold storage facilities, and major transportation corridors. Let’s look at the top Washington Crops that represent a significant portion of the state’s economy.



The combination of mineral-rich alluvial soil and sun gives Washington the perfect conditions to grow potatoes. It’s the third most popular crop that gives Washington a value of over $690 million. It’s estimated that over 80% of the total production is sold to processors who transform them into creamy mashed potatoes, crunch chips, and golden fries.

Unlike other Washington Crops, potatoes are planted in April and mid-august. And depending on the weather conditions, they can take about 90-120 days to harvest. Being a cool-season crop, potatoes thrive in the west of Cascade Mountains – along the Yakima Valley and the Columbia River east of Vancouver.

What makes potatoes one of the most successful Washington crops? Compared to other growing areas in the US, potatoes from this state are nutrient-dense. They have more potassium than bananas and provide more than the daily requirement of vitamin C. In addition to that, potatoes contain trace elements like:

  • Riboflavin
  • Thiamin
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Zinc
  • Iron
  • Folate

After the Second World War, the Colombia basin of central Washington became the most productive area for potatoes. It’s now the second nationally state that produces different varieties for commercial purposes and export.

Another reason why potatoes are one of the major Washington crops is the huge economic impact. Currently, this agricultural crop accounts for about $772 million in annual income in the state. You’ll be surprised to learn that 99% of potato farms in the US are family-owned.

Other scholars believe potatoes are the top Washington crops due to the versatility as recipe ingredients. They come in a variety of colors, shapes, and textures. Not to mention, you can take them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. And that’s why they account for a bigger percentage of vegetables recommended for good health.


Wheat accounts for about $790 million of Washington’s economy. So, why is it one of the most valuable Washington crops? It’s estimated that about 2.3 million acres are set aside for wheat every year. And because the industry employs thousands of workers, it plays a key role in the growth of the economy.

Since about 90% of wheat is for export, farmers do a lot to ensure a good harvest. For instance, they must protect the crops from pests and diseases.

The eastern side of Washington is known for soft white and club wheat production. Washington is also the home to the low protein wheat commonly used in crackers, cookies, and the making of flatbreads.

Other wheat classes are the red spring (grown on the northern tier of the country) and the hard red winter (grown in the Midwest). The wheat variety is classified as follows:

  • Club
  • Soft white
  • Hard red winter
  • Hard red spring
  • Western white

The soft red winter wheat is grown on the eastern part of Mississippi, while the hard white grows on the foothills of Colorado, Nebraska, Idaho, and Kansas. It’s worth mentioning that about 20% of wheat grown in Washington is the hard red spring wheat.

In 2020, Washington recorded a total production of about 165 million bushels. But the yields depend on the time of the year. During winter, the yield per acre is estimated at 76 bushels while the spring season gives about 61 bushels per acre.

Here are a few facts that make wheat one of the top Washington crops:

  • Once the wheat berries are milled, the other by-products like brans are used as animal feed
  • A combined harvester can do 1000 bushels per hour
  • One bushel of wheat can give 48 pounds of floor
  • About 20% of world calories come from products made from wheat
  • One acre of wheat can feed a family of four off bread for ten years


Since 1989, Washington has been producing about 42% of all the apples grown in the US – half of these are grown for fresh consumption. The state boasts of rich fertile soils, plentiful water, arid climates, and advanced growing practices.

The harvesting season begins every August. And the reason why apples are one of the best Washington crops is the unique varieties. Since the apples are handpicked, they maintain quality, not to mention, this prevents bruising. There are no harvest machines.

While there are hundreds of varieties of apples across the United States, eight of them are grown in Washington. And the flavors range from mild to sweet. In terms of texture, you can choose light to a crisp texture.

Washington produces many varieties including:

  • Fuji
  • Gala
  • Golden delicious
  • Red delicious
  • Cameo
  • Pink lady
  • Jonagold
  • Braeburn

According to recent statistics, the researchers found that about 12 billion apples are harvested each year. The reason why apples are one of the best Washington crops in the state is low diseases and the absence of pests.


Washington grapes account for about $308 million of total GDP. Because the weather is a key factor, it’s no wonder grapes are regarded as one of the top Washington crops that give a massive boost to the economy.

For grapes to thrive in the farmlands, the sun must be adequate. Washington receives about 300 days of sun per year due to the incredibly long days. But in the Southerly wine regions, the growing season is shorter. From a scientific standpoint, the sun helps in photosynthesis and plays a key role in ripening.

Compared to other regions that receive rainy weather in spring and fall, Washington has the highest altitude. Eastern Washington has the highest altitude while the western part experiences some cloudy conditions.

But the main reason why grapes are among the best Washington crops is the fact that vineyards are fungus-free. This means that only a few anti-fungicides are required throughout the growth period. The eastern side of Washington is fungus-free due to the arid climate.

On the other hand, Washington has incredible sources of water as most farmers rely on irrigation. This helps the farmers to manage the grapes by controlling the amount of water that gets into the vineyards. Just like other top Washington crops, the farmers can rely on the Mountain Rivers. Apart from the massive Columbia River on the eastern side of Washington, you’ll find other rivers like the Blue Mountains, Rockies, and cascades.

When growing grapes on a large scale, unity is key. There is an organization that teaches farmers how to increase the quality of grapes. The soil temperature also matters as it influences things like:

  • The soil texture
  • Skin color
  • Flavor compounds
  • Tannins
  • Seed color and texture

To ensure balanced sugars and crisp acidity, the day to night temperature variability maters. The cool evenings preserve the acid and add freshness and balance.


Every time you mention the top Washington crops, hay farming can’t miss on the list. One of the top varieties is Timothy hay. It has high-fiber content that allows for good conditioning of livestock.

Hay thrives well in different climates due to the shallow root system. It also grows well in summer and cool springs. Once hay is harvested, it’s stored in areas with high winds to dry naturally.


The Pacific Northwest soils make Washington a great state for growing a variety of veggies. In higher elevations like the Columbia Basin, the growing season can extend up to 180 days. But the reason why vegetables are the top Washington crops is the varying weather conditions. Because fall and winter months are relatively quiet, veggies thrive well.

Cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli are common in many Washington gardens. Most farmers also grow lettuce and salad greens on large scale. They grow well in late spring or early summer before the heat sets in. Other veggies that form part of Washington crops include:

  • Beets
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Garlic
  • Kale
  • Cornsalad
  • Chicory


Did you know that more than 60% of raspberries in the US come from Washington? Most of them are grown on the Northwest corner of the state with a few varieties just south of the Canadian border.

The top variety that makes raspberries part of the best Washington crops is the red raspberry – which forms about 95% of red raspberry production, which shows amazing leadership coaching.

During the first year of growth, the fruits develop into biennial canes. But after the first year of growth, the cans develop fruit buds. After harvesting, the canes are selected for the next phase of production. Because most varieties are tolerant to diseases, the raspberries come with refined color and texture. Some of the varieties that do well include:

  • Chilliwack
  • Cowichan
  • Willamette
  • Meeker

The other fact that makes raspberries one of the highly valued Washington crops is the method of harvesting. Berries of a commercial variety are harvested with a machine.


Washington State accounts for about 75% of cherry production in the US. In 2017, it produced over 344,000 tons valued at 630 million dollars. The two main varieties are Sour and sweet cherries. On average, a mature cherry tree will produce about 800 cherries.

The sweet cherry varieties are arranged by color: dark red, red, and yellow.

Cherries thrive in fertile soils. And that’s why they are grown in the Yakima Valley and Wenatchee area (both account for more than 21,500 acres). It’s estimated that about a quarter of all the cherries produced are exported and the rest are consumed locally.

Unlike other Washington crops, growing cherries is an all-year-round task. In the spring season, the buds open into flowers that attract bees for pollination. After that, a tiny fruit begins to grow. But during the early stages, it has to be protected from diseases and pests.

After the fruits ripen, they are handpicked. But what makes cherry trees unique is that they can grow up to 50 feet tall. For an acre of land, it can take about 30 people to do the job in one day.

The cost to do the picking per acre is $2400, which accounts for more than 40% of production costs. Since more than 130 million cherries are exported every year, the Washington State Department of Agriculture has zero-tolerance to a fruit fly. During harvesting, they check for the presence of insects in the packing house.


While there are more than 3000 pear varieties worldwide, a good number is grown in Washington State. The moderately warm summers make the state ideal for pear farming. Another reason why this fruit is one of the best Washington crops is the availability of a ready market.

Also, the pure glacier waters of the Cascade Mountains guarantee the best tasting pears. Some of the best varieties are:

  • Golden
  • Granny
  • Fuji
  • Red
  • Honeycrisp
  • Jonagold
  • Gala
  • Braeburn
  • Cameo
  • Pink lady

Based on the quality traits, the growing season will depend on the time harvesting begins. For instance, the harvesting of winter pears starts from august to late September. But those Asian varieties thrive well in the summer season.


Onions are grown by many farmers in Washington on a large scale. They do well in drained fertile soils and those with a high level of organic matter. And because they are shallow-rooted, most farmers plant the vegetable close to water sources. Since onion is a biennial plant, it takes two seasons to go from seed to mature onions.

The onions are harvested before they flower or before the bulb fully develops. And because they respond differently to northern latitudes, you should choose a variety that suits you best.

A key feature that makes onions one of the top Washington crops is the availability of the different varieties – from large Spanish cultivars to small varieties. Most farmers go for green onions because they are practically disease and insect-proof. And even after harvest, you’ll have bulbs for replanting.

Another common variety is the Egyptian. It produces bulbs faster and produces a cluster at the end of the stem.

When planting onions, timing is key. The sets are planted in spring which runs from March to April.

Wrapping it up

The productive soils and diverse climates make Washington one of the productive states in the world. Without a doubt, the above Washington crops account for a significant portion of the state’s economy. On average, agriculture has an economic impact of $49 billion and employs thousands of residents.

Top Produced Crops in the United States

Top Produced Crops in the United States


]There are those who consider the USA to be one of the greatest if not the greatest countries that have existed in our known history. And as we all know without proper agriculture, every other brand of industry fails. Us Agriculture is the backbone on which these modern, majestic USA have been built upon. That hasn’t changed. Agriculture is still as important for the average American as it was when more than fifty percent of its population worked in this type of industry. Today that number is quite smaller, but the profits grow non the less.

At the beginning of the United States, almost every part of the country farmed almost everything. With time certain regions started to specialize. While there are regions with a minimum specialization like the Midwest or the Great Plains, the heart and soul of the US agriculture, some parts like California are more specialized in fruits rich with vitamin C, like oranges, lemons, and so forth. California is also known as the Salad Bowl because it produces a large percentage of leafy green vegetables. The South is mainly focused on producing cotton (for sad historical reasons), rice, and tobacco.

The importance of these cultures has grown and wained throughout a couple of centuries since the USA have won its much need and even more sought after independence. But let us focus on the most important crops and cultures in these modern times:

  1. Corn
  2. Soybeans
  3. Wheat
  4. Sugar Beet
  5. Potatoes
  6. Tomatoes
  7. Cotton
  8. Nuts
  9. Fruits
  10. Tobacco
  11. Barley
  12. Hay

Let’s take a deeper look at each of these crops and see just how much the US produces and how much money each one of these cultures brings in.

1 Corn

Corn is the king of the crops in US Agriculture. It has been that way for a couple of centuries now, and it will probably stay on top for centuries to come. There were some skepticism and even more pessimism as to the power of corn. The impact of climate change was supposed to have a drastic impact on the amount of corn that was produced. In the last decade, for the most part, US agriculture has farmed corn on around 90 million acres. Some thought that that number will decrease. But the opposite has begun to happen. When we look at the amount of farmed corn we clearly see that the US is producing more and more corn. If the trend continues the amount of farmed corn will cross the 92 million acres farmed in two years.

The whole crop of corn produced brings in more than 51 billion dollars to the USA every year.

2 Soybeans

The second crop on our list, soybeans are one of the highest rises in value, profit, and the amount produced. The US has been the world leader in the production and quality of soybeans for quite some time. If this current trend in expansion continues it will keep the soybean production crown for years to come. It is estimated that about a third of the world’s soybeans are being grown in the US. Close to 45 percent of the soybeans produced are being exported. The biggest export target continues to be China. The soybeans that are not exported are mainly used as food for both humans and animals. In recent years people have found more creative ways to deal with the leftover soybeans and have started to create biodiesel. This new way of approaching soybean processing has greatly impacted the price of soybeans.

US wheat production

3 Wheat

Third on our list of top crops produced in the US is a staple of the US agriculture, but also a staple of the majority of western agricultures as well – wheat. Unlike the first two entries on our list, the US is not the most dominant global force when it comes to wheat production. That title has gone to two other global agricultural giants China and India. Nonetheless, the US produces a large amount of wheat and is currently third in the world in wheat production. Every year the US agriculture produces close to 60 million tons. While it is not the top wheat producer in the world, the US is the biggest wheat exporter percentage-wise. Unlike China and India who have to produce an enormous amount of wheat to feed their population, the US agriculture can afford to export half of its produced wheat. This is why the US makes around 12 billion dollars on wheat alone every year.

4 Sugar Beet

The sugar industry in the USA is huge. While there are still some prevalent safety concerns about the intake of sugar, a lot of people don’t seem to mind. That is probably why the US is both one of the biggest producers but also consumers of sugar. Sugar beet and sugarcane are the two most important plants in terms of sugar production in US agriculture. The majority of sugar produced falls to the sugar beet. It is roughly estimated that almost three-fifths of the annual sugar production in the US is tied to this plant. The other two-fifths falls on the sugarcane. Much like with wheat production, the US takes the bronze medal. It is behind France and Russia who produce more than the USA. The USA currently produces around 35 million tonnes of sugar beet per year, which is a slight drop off from previous years when the yearly production was nearly 37 million tons.

5 Potatoes

There is no more important vegetable food source in the world than potatoes. Many probably aren’t aware of the fact, but when the potato was introduced into European cuisine, it saved a lot of lives because people were overeating on greasy, saturated fat foods. The US is one of the leading potato growers in the world. Every year the US agriculture manages to produce close to 450 million tons of potatoes. But two American states carry most of the burden in potato production. These two states are Idaho and Washington. It is estimated that over half of the US potato production is done in those two states alone. Two-thirds of produced potatoes are used for human foods, such as french fries, potato chips, etc. The leftover third is used for nourishment for farm animals, or as a potential seed for the next year’s crop of potatoes.

6 Tomatoes

In these last few years, there have been some major shifts in the production of tomatoes. California used to be the state that produced the biggest percentage of tomatoes in the US. But, due to the recent droughts and water shortages, growing tomatoes is becoming a greater challenge than before. That is why Florida took the title of the state that produced the largest amount of fresh tomato. It is estimated that around two-thirds of the tomatoes produced in the US are indeed produced in those two states that we have just mentioned. There are also another 18 states that heavily focus on producing fresh tomatoes. Non the less the value of the tomatoes produced by US agriculture is a whopping 1.6 billion US dollars every year.

7 Cotton

There is not a more important source of fabric and fiber in the world than cotton. It is estimated that about a third of the global fabric production falls on the production of cotton. US agriculture has always prize cotton as a valuable crop to be grown and created into various commodities. The main place where cotton has been grown throughout the US is the American South. Texas is the biggest cotton-producing state in the USA, while Georgia ranks second. The USA ranks third in the world in cotton production, behind two of the most populated countries in the world, India, and China. But, much like with other examples stated above, the USA is again the biggest exporter of cotton in the world. The value of the produced cotton in the US is around 5 billion dollars.

United States Cash Crop

8 Nuts

Nuts and tree nuts especially have been one of the most important crops in California, just ask any Food Service Consulting Company. Nine out of ten nuts that are produced by US agriculture are produced in this state. Each year the USA produces between 2.5 and 3 billion tonnes of nuts. The most popular nut cultures that are grown in the USA are:

  1. Almonds – Produced in California exclusively. Annual production is worth around 2 billion dollars. The USA is the leading producer of almonds in the world with every 4 out of 5 almonds produced in the USA
  2. Chestnuts – The chestnut situation is in a way the reversal of the almond situation. The US has some of the best climate conditions to grow chestnuts but they only amount to one percent of its yearly nut production.
  3. Peanuts – Probably the leader in widespread production between the various nut families in the US. It is grown commercially all throughout the country. Every year between 5 and 7 million pounds of peanuts are produced in the USA.
  4. Walnuts – There are two distinct sorts of walnuts that are grown in the USA. Those two sorts are the English Walnut and the Black Walnut. The majority of the walnuts grown in the US are English Walnuts. Close to 200 000 tones of English Walnuts are produced in the USA every single year
  5. Pistachios – Almost all pistachios produced in the USA are produced in California. Every year the production peaks at around 600 million pounds of pistachios.

9 Rice

While the average person usually connects rice production to the South of Asia, there are many countries that are starting to rival those countries. Italy in Europe is one such example, but also US agriculture. Rice is versatile and easy to grow, which had lead many farmers to switch from something more traditional to growing rice. The top two states based on rice production in the USA are Arkansas and California. Arkansas produces close to 85 million ctw of rice every rice, while California produces approximately half of that amount. The USA is also one of the leading global exporters of rice. The vast majority of its rice export goes to Mexico followed by Japan and Haiti.

10 Tobacco

There isn’t a crop in the USA that has been hit harder than tobacco. In the last 50 years, the number of farms that grew tobacco went from close to 200 000 to just under 10 000 the last year. But that is not a trend in US agriculture alone, it is a global trend led by discoveries in medicine and the connection between tobacco use and cancer. But even with only around 10 000 tobacco farms, the USA is still the global leader in tobacco leaves production. In overall tobacco production, the USA is currently in fourth place. Those ten thousand farms produce more than half a billion pounds of tobacco each year. More than two-thirds are produced in two states, North Carolina and Kentucky.

11 Barley

The production of barley is not so prevalent all over the US. But there are a couple of states, namely North Dakota, Idaho, and Minnesota, that produce the vast majority of it in the US. Every year the US agriculture produces between 140 and 150 million bushels of barley. Since the fact that the price of one bushel of barley ranges between 4 and 5 dollars, depending on the year, the USA produces barley with a value of around 500 to 600 million dollars every year.

12 Hay

Last but not least on our list is hay. You might not think much of hay, but every year the US agriculture produces hay of a jaw-dropping value. Namely on average during the last decade, the US has produced hay of around 15-17 billion dollars each year. The top states per hay production in the USA are:

  1. Texas with close to 8.5 million tones of hay
  2. Nebraska
  3. South Dakota
  4. California
  5. Montana

Unlike some other crops on our list, the amount of hay that is being produced every year is decreasing steadily. Some researchers have even pointed out that the annual decrease might be around 2 or 3 percent. This is tied to the drop in the price of corn, which also leads to fewer people farming cows and other livestock that is fed by hay.