1. Soybeans

Jeff Sparks checks out soybeans

Photo by Jeffrey S. Otto/Farm Flavor Media

Soybeans are planted on more acres than any other row crop in Tennessee, with more than 1 million acres grown annually since 1967. In 2017, the state’s farmers harvested a record soybean crop of 50 bushels per acre across almost 1.7 million harvested acres. Soybeans generated $680.3 million in annual cash receipts.

2. Cattle and Calves

Photo by Todd Bennett/Farm Flavor Media

Beef cattle are produced in every county in Tennessee. Most of those farms are family owned and operated, and the Volunteer State is one of the top beef-producing states in the nation. Tennessee ranks 12th in the nation in beef cow numbers and 16th in total cattle. Cattle and Calves brought the state $537.2 million in annual cash receipts.

3. Broilers


Photo by Michael Conti/Farm Flavor Media

The poultry industry in Tennessee has an overall economic impact of $6.55 billion, provides more than 27,000 direct and indirect jobs, and accounts for over $438 million paid annually in state and federal taxes. Broilers brought in $443.9 million in annual cash receipts.

4. Corn

Photo by Frank Ordonez

Tennessee ranks 17th in corn acreage in the U.S., and most recently harvested 740,000 acres for grain. The largest corn-producing counties in Tennessee are in the western and central regions of the state. Corn generated $418.9 million in cash receipts.

5. Hay

Photo by Jeffrey S. Otto/Farm Flavor Media

Growers across Tennessee harvested more than 1.7 million acres of hay in 2017, which produced nearly 4 million tons of the crop. Hay brought the state $130.7 million in cash receipts.

6. Wheat

Photo via istock.com/DannyRM

Growers across Tennessee harvested more than 1.7 million acres of hay in 2017, which produced nearly 4 million tons of the crop. Wheat brought in $121 million in annual cash receipts.

7. Dairy Products

Dairy Cow

Photo by Todd Bennett

The state has six commercial milk processing plants that are in Nashville, Murfreesboro, Memphis, Powell and Athens. A typical Tennessee dairy farm has a herd of about 170 milking cows, and the state is home to approximately 226 registered dairies. Dairy products generated $118.9 million in annual cash receipts.

8. Cotton

georgia cotton

Photo by Michael Conti/Farm Flavor Media

In 2017, Tennessee produced 1,031 pounds of lint per acre from 340,000 acres harvested, for a total production of 730,000 bales. The majority of the crop is grown in the Western and Delta part of the state. Cotton brought the state $110.2 million in annual cash receipts.

9. Tobacco

Burley tobacco. Photo by Brian McCord/Farm Flavor Media

The state’s farmers harvested 21,100 acres of tobacco in 2017, which produced 43 million pounds of the crop. Tennessee ranks No. 4 in the nation for tobacco production. Tobacco brought in $96.8 million in annual cash receipts.

10. Hogs

Photo by Jeff Adkins/Farm Flavor Media

In 2017, Tennessee had a total inventory of 235,000 hogs. Hogs generated $73.7 million in annual cash receipts.


  1. I love this site! As a public school teacher, I appreciate having access to this detailed information. Our students are trying to research assigned states, for the students learning about Tennessee, you are a superb resource! Thank you,
    Steve Applebaugh

  2. Hi i am 24 years old and i am just now getting in to farming. I have lots to learn but the one question i have that will start me off on my adventure. I have access to 40 acrs of land and i was wandering what would be a good cash crop to grow, what would be something i could buld on for the future. Im sorry for the lack of info i just need a point in the rite direction any help i am thankfull for. hope to here from someone thank you so much


  3. You’re looking for cash, I’d sell the 40 acres. You’re looking to build a sustainable farm and lead a different life-style, I would focus on pasture grazing and rotating pasture and crop lands. It will increase the fertility of your soil through manure and clover (legumes return nitrogen to soil). Intense commercial monoculture of corn/soybean rotations and ignoring the importance of pasture rotation, results in lost fertility and increased top soil erosion.

    The commercial farming industry seems to not be concerned with land fertility. And their answer to erosion is chemicals, so I would steer away from what agro-business tells you to do, and more important what to buy. Keep in mind 40 acres is tiny compared to some 4000 acre commercial farms. I think you’re gonna make more if you are a small operation focusing on sustainability and value added goods (lavender soap – grow the lavender, milk a cow).

    Take a look at John Seymour’s The Guide to Self-Sufficiency. Covers the pasture rotation plan to build fertility and a whole lot more.

    I also advice on reading Gene Logsdon’s Contrary Farmer (he advises for pasture grazing/crop rotations too) and his book on Raising Grains is indispensable (since grains will take up a large part of your rotations).

    Cheers, buddy. I am 24 now, and moving to Nashville to start a farm. I wish you luck.


  4. I’d also advise you to conserve 5-10% to woodlands, if you have woods on your property. By maintaining woods, you’ll allow greater diversity of wild and plant life. Diversity of species is a key component of sustainable agriculture. They all balance each other out.

    Also wood burns reeeeaaal nice. 🙂


  5. Hi, I´m a writer from Spain (Europe). I need to know which is the Tennessee´s village which has more crops and farmhouse. The main character of my story is a woman from Nashville.
    Thank you

  6. I love that I found this site.. so much incredible information. We are moving from Oregon to Tennessee hoping to start a small family farm. Leaving the fast paced business world to provide better opportunities for our family. Any info on what to plant, where to start, etc , is greatly appreciated!


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