In 1900 the two leading manufacturing industries in Texas were lumbering and the processing of grain. Since that time there has been a rapid increase in the number and types of manufacturing plants. During World War II the value of Texas manufacturing multiplied almost four times. Manufacturing valuetoday exceeds 53 billion dollars. Texas is the chief manufacturing state in the South, and the value of its manufacturing is surpassed only by that of California among the states west of the Mississippi River.
Most of the increase in industry has been due to the rise of petroleum refining, which followed the discovery of the great Spindletop oil field in 1901 and has become the most important industry in Texas. Texas now refines more petroleum than any other state. Ranked second is the manufacture of chemicals and allied products, which includes organic chemicals and plastics. The third most important industry is the processing of food products. This includes meat-packing and the preparation of bakery goods, flour and meal, and soft drinks. Fourth in importance is tourism.
In farm income, Texas is first among the Southern states and second or third in the nation. The annual cash income from Texas agricultural products, estimated at about 9 billion dollars, is usually surpassed only by the agricultural income of California--and sometimes Iowa. Texas has about 160,000 farms, more than any other state. Some farms contain thousands of acres. The average size is about 838 acres (339 hectares).
Texas leads all the states in the production of cotton, cattle, wool, and sorghum grain. Irrigation is a major factor in crop production. Much of the irrigated land is in the High Plains. Other large irrigated areas are the lower Rio Grande valley, the Coastal Prairies, the Pecos Valley, and the Rio Grande Plain.
Livestock and related products usually account for more than half the yearly farm income. Crops account for the rest. Texas leads nationally in the number of cattle, horses, sheep, and lambs. Cattle ranks in value as the most important commodity in almost every Texas county.
The state 's chief cash crop is cotton. Texas leads the nation in cotton lint and cottonseed. The major producing counties are Gaines, Dawson, Terry, Cameron, and Martin. Sorghum grain is usually second in value. Wheat for grain is the third most valuable crop; the Panhandle is noted for its wheat. Corn ranks fourth in value. Other farm products are milk, eggs, chickens, hay, pigs, peanuts, rice, turkeys, wool, oats, and mohair. Texas ranks among the first five states in the production of broomcorn, flaxseed, grapefruit and oranges, pecans, sweet clover seed, sweet potatoes, carrots, and onions.
The mineral resources of Texas yield an annual value of about 45 billion dollars--more than that of any other state. Most of the income is derived from petroleum, in which Texas leads the nation. The East Texas field is one of the most productive in the world. Top producing counties in Texas are Pecos, Yoakum, Gaines, Ector, and Gregg. Gregg was the first county to produce more than 2 billion barrels of petroleum ever since records have been kept.
The second and third most valuable minerals are natural gas and coal. Pipelines carry natural gas, as well as petroleum, from Texas to all sections of the country. Texas is one of the nation ' s chief sources of helium, with much of the production centered at Amarillo, Exell, and Dumas.
Cement is fourth in importance. Texas ranks among the leading cement-producing states. The Gulf Coastal Plain is one of the nation 's richest sources of sulfur. Magnesium is processed from seawater at Freeport's electrolytic plant. Among other minerals produced in the state are stone, sand and gravel, lime, salt, and gypsum.
Because of its huge size, Texas has had to develop a vast network of transportation routes by road, rail, water, and air. The Texas Department of Highways and Public Transportation, established in 1917, maintains about 71,000 miles (114,260 kilometers) of state roads.
In addition to the state roads and dozens of federal routes, a number of highways in the Interstate system cross Texas. Interstates 10, 20, and 40 are major east-west routes. Crossing parts of Texas from north to south are Interstates 35, 45, and 27. Interstate 30 runs northeastward from Dallas.
The first railroad in Texas was a 20-mile (32-kilometer) line in the Houston area that was completed in 1853. Transcontinental service became a reality in 1881, when the Southern Pacific linked the state with California. Today Texas is served by a statewide network of railroads and by a number of major airlines. The Dallas-Fort Worth Regional Airport is the nation's largest in terms of land area and one of the busiest.
Thirteen deepwater ports handle shipments of petroleum products, cotton, and wheat. Routes of travel are the Intracoastal Waterway (extending eastward from Brownsville) and the Gulf of Mexico. The Houston Ship Channel, which opened in 1915, has helped make that city one of the great United States ports. The other major ports are Port Arthur, Beaumont, Texas City, Corpus Christi, Port Aransas, and Galveston.
In an average year Texas is visited by more than 40 million tourists. One of the chief attractions is the rugged land of mountains and canyons in the Trans-Pecos. This region includes Big Bend National Park and Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Palo Duro Canyon cuts a 1,000-foot- (300-meter-) deep slash through the high plains of the Texas Panhandle. The Gulf coast has many fine beaches and resorts. Near Kingsville in south Texas is King Ranch, one of the largest in the world. East Texas boasts more than 11 million acres (4.5 million hectares) of woodlands, including four national forests.
San Antonio is famous for the Alamo and San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. Dallas