(Updated February 2024)
Here in the midwest, agriculture is kind of a big deal. We all need to eat, and unless we all have self sustaining homestead farms, we can’t do that without farmers. Today at The Barbecue Lab, we will talk about agriculture statistics.
Agriculture Quick Facts
What are agricultural statistics?
Farming and agriculture accounts for 1% of America’s GDP. With advances in technology and globalization, America produces 40% of the world’s crops using 20% of the land, helping in the fight against world hunger. The average American farmer feeds 165 people, while just 60 years ago, they fed about 25 people. The US exports 25% of their agriculture products, worth about $100 billion. ⅓ of US exports are exported to Canada and China.
What percent of America is involved in agriculture?
According to the most recent data analysis from the United States Department of Agriculture (UDSA), roughly 40.5% of U.S. land is involved in agriculture - around 915 million acres. The total farmland is valued at $2 trillion dollars.
There are over 2 million farms in the U.S, and the average farm size is 443 acres. 98% of US farms are family owned and operated. Texas contains 14% of the United States’ farming land, and there are 39 states that have at least 11,000 farms.
Agriculture and related industries make up about 11% of the US employment, and there are roughly 24 million jobs in the agriculture industry and 950k Americans work in farming. 40% of the total world populated works in agriculture.
Advances in Agriculture
Advances in farming means that we can also produce more crops with less land but it also means that many small family farms are unable to make ends meet due to two main factors, technology and globalization. In 1991, small family farms accounted for almost half of food production. As recently as 2017, now they only account for a quarter. Most small operation farmers have to take on a second job.
The agricultural industry is mostly controlled by large or very large farming operations, which make up only 3% of the 2,029,200 farms in the United States.
Sadly, only 41% of small farms make a profit each year and over 50% of American farmers have lost money every year since 2013. Farmers receive about 12 cents for every dollar spent on produce. 58% of farms sell less than $10,000 produce and farming products each year.
Between 2017-2018, America has lost over 12,000 farms. The average age of the American farmer is getting older at 57 years old, perhaps because the industry is not as lucrative as other career paths unless you “make it big.”
However, since people are wanting to have non GMO food that is free from pesticides, there has been an increase in organic farming. It has risen 56% since 2011. It is thought that eating organically grown produce can help reduce food allergies or cancer, and time will tell if that is the case.
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