Interesting Agriculture Facts You Probably Didn’t Know

Updated: Jun 27



In 2021, approximately 18% of the nation’s economy and 29% of all American jobs had one thing in common - agriculture. The Feeding the Economy report shows that agricultural sectors contributed to over 43 million jobs, $2 trillion in wages, and $718 billion in tax revenue. In addition to the benefits of agriculture domestically, the industry also accounted for approximately $182 billion in exports, too.


The above information contains a lot of dollar signs to take in, but what it shows is that the agriculture industry plays a vital role in impacting our economy. The agriculture industry, as a whole, is a lot different than it was in the early 1900s. The implementation and innovation of technology on farms have increased the capabilities in ways that even our ancestors probably couldn’t have imagined.


Let’s explore some other interesting facts that you might not know about the agriculture industry:


One US farm feeds 166 people annually - domestically and internationally. The global population is expected to increase by as many as 2.2 billion people by 2050, which will increase the need for food. Farmers will have to grow about 70% more food than they are now to keep up with this increase in population.


A single, high-yielding dairy cow can yield up to 4.8 pounds of butter each day. The same cow can also produce, in addition to the butter, 8.7 gallons of ice cream or 10.5 pounds of cheese. Now imagine what a dairy farm of 100 high-yielding dairy cows could produce!


Farmers are reducing cropland erosion. Using careful stewardship, farmers have recorded a 34% decline in the erosion of cropland by wind and water since 1982. By better understanding the environmental elements, farmers are preserving more of their lands, in turn producing more food than would otherwise not have been possible long-term.


Based on 2020 data, there are approximately 2 million farms across the American landscape. Additionally, 98% of these farms are operated by families - either individually, through family partnerships, or by family corporations.


People trust food from farmers. In a 2017 survey, global market research company Mintel found that there was widespread mistrust among consumers about how food is made. With concerns about safety, ethics, and environmental friendliness, more support for locally grown crops has increased the demand for freshly farmed products.


Smart labels can trace back the lineage of farmed products. The increased awareness of where food comes from has triggered companies like Corteva to create technology that acts like ancestry.com for produce and other farmed products. Smart labeling has been created to help put uneasy minds to rest about where their food comes from and ensures that it doesn’t carry a significant carbon footprint.


Thank a Farmer

As cliche as that sounds, a simple gesture like saying ‘thank you’ the next time you purchase from your local farmers' market goes a long way. As a staple part of the agricultural community, farmers have a lot of pressure to ensure they are supplying the crops and dairy products that keep the world running, even in the face of natural disasters that eliminate crop yields.


The last statistic is a hard one to share, but important nonetheless. According to PBS NewsHour, between 1992 and 2010, the suicide rates among farmers and agricultural workers outnumbered the homicide rates during that same period. Thankfully, platforms like #AgTwitter exist, as a support system for farmers and agricultural workers. So with all of that said, the next time you pick up a bushel, purchase dairy products, or pass a roadside stand, just whisper a little ‘thank you’ to those men and women who are part of a larger collective feeding the world.


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