Specialty crops are the hallmark of Massachusetts agriculture: horticultural products, cranberries, dairy products, apples, corn, potatoes, butternut squash, cabbage, pumpkins, beans, and tobacco. Oats and hay are widely grown in conjunction with dairying. Although dairying is found throughout the state, the highest concentrations of dairy farms are in southeastern and northwestern Massachusetts and in Worcester County. Cranberries are grown in Plymouth and Bristol counties and on Cape Cod. Horticulture—the growing of plants and shrubs for landscaping and of flowers for the wholesale market—and cranberry growing are the state’s most valuable agricultural activities.
In 2008 there were 7,700 farms in the state, although many of these farms were sidelines for operators who held other jobs. Farmland occupied 206,390 hectares (510,000 acres); 36 percent of farms were devoted to crops.
Massachusetts is a leading state in the processing of frozen fish, and its commercial fish catch was worth $457 million in 2007. Fishing crews work both the nearby coastal waters and more distant fishing banks, including the Grand Banks off the island of Newfoundland and Georges Bank off Cape Cod. In recent years federal regulations have greatly restricted the catch of cod, flounder, and haddock—traditional mainstays of the fishing industry—but sea herring and whiting are still harvested in large quantities.
New Bedford, which leads the state in the quantity and value of its catch, is one of the leading ports in the nation for flounder and sea scallops. Massachusetts has one-tenth of the commercial forestland in New England and harvests less timber than Maine, New Hampshire, or Vermont. Its modest forest industry cuts mainly white pines, spruces, oaks, maples, and birches. The wood is used for pulp, posts, piling, toys, furniture, and boxes. "Massachusetts" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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