The agriculture sector of the U.S. economy grew 16.4 percent in 2013, the fastest rise since 1998. This sector accounts for forestry, fishing and hunting and farming (the largest portion), and made up 1.6 percent of the nation’s total GDP last year. The federal government’s recent estimates of state economic growth showed an increase in every state except Alaska, due to declining oil production, and the District of Columbia, due to budget cuts in government spending. Last year marked the first year in the past three years that the agriculture sector did better than the overall U.S. economy.
In a New York Times article, Mitch Morehart, an economist with the Agriculture Department, attributes much of this growth to rising prices for livestock and a recovery in production after the 2012 drought. While progress was apparent in 2013, he says this sector does not seem to be doing as well in 2014.