Cattle ranches occupy much more land in Texas than crops do, and livestock and livestock products produce more agricultural income for Texas than crops do. Texas generally ranks first among the states in income from sales of cattle and calves.
The crops grown in Texas range from those typical of temperate climates, such as wheat and sorghum grain that thrive in the High Plains, to those that thrive along the subtropical Gulf Coast, such as rice and citrus fruits. Texas is a leading producer of cattle, sheep, and lambs. It is also an important producer of corn, cotton, dairy products, greenhouse and nursery products, hay, hogs, oranges, peanuts, poultry and eggs, rice, sorghum grain, vegetables, and wheat.
The ranches of Texas raise Hereford, Shorthorn, Angus, and Brahman cattle. The Santa Gertrudis, the only recognized breed to be started in the United States, was developed on the King Ranch in south Texas. Cattle production has shifted from the drier areas of western Texas to the more humid eastern sections. Cattle ranching is concentrated along the Gulf Coast and in the southern Río Grande plain south of the Edwards Plateau. The drier areas in western Texas, notably the Edwards Plateau, have remained important for the production of sheep and goats. Texas is especially noted for its Angora goats, which yield mohair.
Irrigation played an important role in the development of Texas’s agriculture. Cotton, long the chief crop in the Black Prairies of eastern Texas, also became a major crop in the irrigated areas of the High Plains.
Grain sorghum is the other major crop on these irrigated lands. Irrigation agriculture is also important in portions of the lower Río Grande Valley, where vegetables, citrus fruits, sugarcane, and cotton are grown. Farther north, in the area known as the Winter Garden, centered on Crystal City, the leading crops are vegetables and melons, which are also grown under irrigation. Around El Paso and Pecos, lands are irrigated mainly for cotton production. Rice culture, also under irrigation, dominates the Texas Gulf Coast from the Louisiana-Texas border to Lavaca Bay.Most of the corn and wheat grown in Texas is dryfarmed, or grown without irrigation. Corn is grown in central and eastern Texas, and wheat, also irrigated in places, comes mainly from the plains of the Panhandle.
With its long Gulf coastline, which includes numerous bays and estuaries, commercial fishing in Texas is almost exclusively a saltwater business. Shellfish are the most valuable catch, especially shrimp. Crabs and oysters also are taken. The most important commercial finfish include snapper, black drum, and tuna. Also caught is menhaden, an inedible fish used for animal feeds, industrial oils, and fertilizer.
Peak production in lumber was reached in the early years of the 20th century, and thereafter it declined as a result of the severe depletion of forest resources. The cut increased, however, after the 1930s, with emphasis placed on the scientific cutting of trees and on reforestation practices. The yellow pine is the most valuable tree crop. Harvested from the forests of eastern Texas, in the area of Lufkin and Camden, the timber is used chiefly in the manufacture of pulp and paper. Some hardwood is also cut and utilized for furniture and construction lumber. "Texas" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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