Though we live in an age where it seems like technology is the cornerstone of society, farming and agriculture are still huge social and economic contributors. These crucial industries supply food for consumers and material for manufacturing, and we can learn a great deal about them through these agriculture and farming statistics.
1. U.S. agricultural exports are projected to reach $141.5 billion in 2019.
Agriculture brings in a huge amount of revenue for the country as a whole, and this trend has only increased. In 2016, the fiscal year’s revenue amounted to $135.5 billion, so the upward trajectory has been steady for several years, and this is expected to continue.
2. 25% of America’s farm products are exported.
Going by value, around 75% of our agricultural goods are sold domestically, while the remaining 25% are exported worldwide. Going off the above farming statistic, that means that the actual financial worth of all U.S. farm products is around $566 billion!
3. There are around 2 million farms in the U.S.
As of 2017, there were just over 2 million farms dotting the American landscape, but this was a small decline from the year prior. However, while the number of farms declined overall, the average size of farms increased, as we’ll see next.
4. The average size of an American farm is 444 acres.
This is a slight increase over the previous average of 442 acres. We can see that though total number of farms has decreased slightly, their average size is only growing.
5. The average cost of an acre of farmland is $3,140.
Since 2014, farmland values have remained fairly constant from year to year, with very minuscule growth. In 2018, the cost of an acre of farmland averaged out to around $3,140/acre, although costs did vary from region to region across the states.
6. Half the number of farms in America generate less than $10,000 in sales.
The majority of all U.S. farms are very small, bringing in anywhere from $1,000 to $9,999 in sales annually. These farms average about 84 acres of land each.
7. 97% of farms are family-operated.
Of the 2 million farms across America, the vast majority of them are both owned and operated by families. Often these farms are even passed down to children or other family members over the years.
8. California produces the most food out of all U.S. states.
Exporting around $20 billion worth of food annually, California is America’s biggest producer of farm-grown products. Their main exports were almonds, wine, dairy, walnuts, and pistachios. Iowa comes in second place for largest exporter of agricultural goods.
9. Texas has the most farms of any state.
With around 240,000 farms, Texas is home to 11% of all U.S. farms. Following up in second and third place are Missouri and Iowa, respectively, though each of these states has less than 100,000 farms.
10. The gross cash farm income in the U.S. is around $423 billion.
This farming statistic tells us how much money is drawn in from U.S. farms as a whole, before taxes and expenses are figured in. On the other hand, the net cash farm income is significantly lower, at around $66 billion.
11. America’s biggest crop nationwide is corn.
At 15 billion bushels of corn in 2016-2017, the Midwestern portion of the U.S. produces corn at a higher rate than any other product. This makes sense, given how incredibly versatile corn is!
12. The marijuana farming industry is expected to grow to $23.4 billion by 2022.
One of the fastest-growing crops in the U.S. is marijuana, which is rapidly becoming legal medicinally and even recreationally in some states. The current market is valued at $8.5 billion, but this number is expected to nearly triple by 2022.
13. One American farm feeds around 165 people annually.
We can see from this statistic how incredibly important farms are to keeping our nation fed. And, as the population continues to rise, farms will have to increase their output in order to meet the rise in demand for food and agricultural products.
14. Women account for around 30% of farm operators.
At just shy of a million, female farm operators account for a sizable portion of the total number of farm workers in the United States.
15. Black & minority farmers are on the rise.
The number of African-American farmers rose 15% between 2002 and 2012, while Hispanic farmers are up 21%. We’re starting to see a divergence between the traditionally white, male demographic of farmers and this new group that is far more diverse.
16. 30% of farmers are over the age of 65.
As a generation of farmers begins looking to retire and pass on their farms, a shift will occur in the farming demographic. Younger farmers will take up the reins to fill in for their aging counterparts and keep the industry running smoothly.
17. In 2018, Federal funding for farm ownership & operations was the 4th highest in the history of the loan program.
With $5.4 billion in funds distributed to farmers across a spectrum of demographics and types of agriculture, 2018 offered a big leg up to farmers in the U.S. Whether a farmer is just getting their start or is attempting to get out of a tough financial spot, federal funding helps stimulate the agricultural market and provide assistance where needed.
18. The worldwide value of smart agriculture is estimated to reach nearly $27 billion by 2020.
Smart agriculture, which is essentially technology and data-driven farming to enhance productivity and improve sustainability, is a growing trend in agriculture, and it will only continue to expand along with the growing population and need for preservation of resources.
19. Drone planting systems for agriculture have been shown to reduce planting costs by 85%.
Another agricultural trend is implementation of drone technology. From planting to applying pesticides and irrigating, drones have a variety of uses in agriculture that may decrease costs and improve efficiency.
The Bottom Line
Agriculture is seeing its fair share of changes. From demographic shifts to technological advances to ecological considerations, farming has a number of facets that are in flux and may change the industry in the coming years. However, as technology makes it easier to farm more acreage more efficiently and with less labor, we can hope that agriculture will become a more effective food production source that works both for people and the planet as a whole.