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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Soybeans, cotton and tobacco were Tennessee’s top cash crops in 1996, totaling more than $750 million in sales, a University of Tennessee agricultural economist said Wednesday.

Dr. Charles Farmer of UT’s Agricultural Extension Service said state growers earned $275 million for soybeans, $255 million for cotton and $225 million for tobacco.

Larger than average crop yields and strong market prices led to more profitable harvests of all three crops, he said.

Market conditions were especially favorable for soybean farmers, whose crop sales exceeded the previous year by $37 million, Farmer said.

Early in the year many farmers and economists were concerned that increasing soybean production in South America could cause market prices to drop, Farmer said.

Tennessee soybean farmers produced about 40 bushels per acre in 1996, compared to an average of less than 35 per acre in 1995. Many sold their crops for an above-average market price of about $300 per acre, he said.

“Tennessee growers enjoyed above-average prices and higher than normal yields and realized some very attractive profits per acre in 1996,” Farmer said.

Contact: Dr. Charles Farmer (423-974-7271)