As the competition heats up in the 107th World Series, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples is reminding us that professional baseball owes a great deal to the Texas agriculture industry.
In a blog post on the TDA Web site this week, Staples says that while the Rangers of Arlington are a powerful force in the sport, they owe a great deal to farmers and ranchers in Texas who fuel the sport with their many and varied products.
"Baseball is known as America's pastime, and agriculture is America's lifeblood," Staples posted on the site. "In Texas, agriculture is a $100 billion industry that keeps our state and nation running strong. As we cheer for the Rangers here in Texas, let's also root for our heroes in another field who go to bat every day to help feed and clothe us."
Starting with the Texas timber industry, Staples points out an annual production of nearly 500 million cubic feet of lumber services baseball bat manufacturing efforts, a $550 million dollar industry, and Texas leather is used to make baseball mitts. Staples says Texas leads the nation in cattle production with more than 13 million head and an annual production value of more than $7 billion.
It doesn’t stop there. Staples says peanuts have always been a favorite at the ball park and Texas produces more than 600 million pounds of peanuts, enough to make over 6 billion peanut and jelly sandwiches.
What day at the ball park would be complete without a hot dog to go with the game? The Texas pork industry has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $250 million, and a good hot dog requires a good bun, meaning Texas producers can help with 90 million bushels of wheat each year - enough to make more than 25 billion hot dog buns. And a key component to making all those buns is milk, and Texas is the leading dairy state and produces enough milk each year, in fact, to fill Rangers Ballpark in Arlington nearly eight times.
And let’s not forget about cotton. Texas is the nation’s number one cotton-producing state, growing enough cotton every year to make about three billion baseball uniforms. In fact, if the bales of cotton produced in Texas alone were placed side-by-side and stacked three high, they could line both sides of the road from Rangers Ballpark in Arlington to Busch Stadium in St. Louis where the Cardinals call home.
To go with all those cotton uniforms are the traditional wool socks and Texas is the top wool-producing state in the nation with more than 800,000 sheep yielding nearly 4 million pounds of wool.
When it comes to a good playing field, what is more important than all that fancy green grass? Texas harvests nearly 40,000 acres of turf grass sod annually.
As the Commissioner asked, where else but Texas can you find a World Series baseball team owned by a Texas rancher who has a brand of beef named after him? Nolan Ryan produces quality Texas beef, and if that’s what he’s serving those Ranger players this year, then it must be a recipe for success.