Ag economy hits record $11.4 billion in 2012

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The LSU AgCenter says high prices and record yields for corn and soybeans drove Louisiana's agricultural economy to a record high of $11.4 billion last year. That's about 6.5 percent more than the 2011 amount of $10.7 billion.

AgCenter economist John Westra says the only row crop with a higher dollar value than corn and soybeans was sugarcane, which brought in $993 million in 2012. That was down 8 percent from 2011 because of lower sugar prices.

Soybeans covered the most land last year — 1.1 million acres. They brought in $805 million, 53 percent higher than in 2011. Westra says a record average yield of 45 bushels an acre and a record price per bushel of $14 were behind what he calls an astounding increase.