In 2020, the top 10 agriculture-producing States in terms of cash receipts were (in descending order): California, Iowa, Nebraska, Texas, Kansas, Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and North Carolina. See these and related statistics in the USDA, Economic Research Service Farm Income and Wealth Statistics.
In 2020, the 10 largest sources of cash receipts from the sale of U.S.-produced farm commodities were (in descending order): cattle/calves, corn, soybeans, dairy products/milk, miscellaneous crops, broilers, hogs, wheat, chicken eggs, and hay. See these and related statistics in the USDA, Economic Research Service’s Farm Income and Wealth Statistics.
Almost all farms (98 percent) are family farms and they account for the majority of farm production (87 percent). Family farms with an annual gross cash farm income (GCFI) of at least a million dollars account for 46 percent of farm production. Additionally, the majority (87 percent) of the over 66,000 operations with an annual GCFI of a million dollars or more are family farms. The other 13 percent are nonfamily farms with an annual GCFI of a million dollars or more. Small and midsize family farms account for 41 percent of all value of farm production. See these and related statistics in the USDA, Economic Research Service report:America's Diverse Family Farms: 2021 Edition
Since the mid-1990s, the median income of U.S. farm households has surpassed that of nonfarm households. Farm household income is derived from a number of sources. The financial well-being of the majority of farm households today depends more on off-farm employment than from farm income. However, households operating commercial farms (those with more than $350,000 in gross cash farm income) typically derive most of their income from the farm operation, although many of those households also have substantial off-farm income. These and related statistics can be found in the ERS's topic on Farm Household Well-being.
While total per capita food consumption has increased in the U.S. since 1970, Americans are consuming less beef per capita than in the 1970s or 1980s. The ERS loss-adjusted food availability (LAFA) data series in the ERS Food Consumption (Per Capita) Data System provides data on over 200 foods in the American diet. LAFA is derived from ERS’s food availability data series by adjusting for food spoilage, plate waste, and other losses to more closely approximate actual intake.
ERS forecasts retail food price inflation on a 12 to 18-month forecast horizon, with the new year of forecasts published each July. These forecasts are based on current conditions as well as an assumption of normal weather conditions throughout the remainder of the year; however, severe weather or other unforeseen events could potentially drive food prices above or below the current forecasts. For this reason, our forecasts are updated on a monthly basis. For the most current forecasts and analysis see the Food Price Outlook.
In 2020, 89.5 percent of U.S. households were food secure throughout the year—meaning that they had access, at all times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. An estimated 10.5 percent of U.S. households were food insecure in 2020, meaning that they had difficulty at some time during the year providing enough food for all their members because of a lack of resources. In 2020, 3.9 percent of U.S. households had very low food security. In this more severe range of food insecurity, the food intake of some household members was reduced and normal eating patterns were disrupted at times during the year because of limited resources. See Key Statistics & Graphics under the topic Food Security in the United States.
How does one find the areas in the United States that are low-income with low access to supermarkets or large grocery stores, formerly referred to by the Economic Research Service as "food deserts"?
ERS’s Food Access Research Atlas estimates and maps census tracts that are low income and have low access to a supermarket. In this atlas, low access is defined as having a significant number or share of people who live more than 1 mile from a supermarket in urban areas and more than 10 miles in rural areas. An estimated 18.8 million people in these low-income and low-access census tracts lived far from a supermarket in 2019. The Food Access Research Atlas provides measures of neighborhood access to healthy, affordable food for the entire Nation using ½-mile and 1-mile demarcations to the nearest supermarket for urban areas, 10-mile and 20-mile demarcations to the nearest supermarket for rural areas, and vehicle availability for all tracts. Users can map low-income and low-supermarket access census tracts for 2019 and now compare the results with those for 2015.
In calendar year 2019, U.S. agricultural exports equaled about $136.7 billion, while corresponding imports totaled about $131.0 billion. ERS publishes monthly trade updates that provide up-to-date information on agricultural trade.
Trade is essential to the U.S. agricultural sector, with agricultural exports accounting for more than 20 percent of the volume of U.S. agricultural production. In recent years, the leading agricultural export products in terms of value have consistently been bulk commodities including soybeans, corn, and wheat. Top U.S. exports of high-value products include feeds and fodder, beef and veal (fresh or frozen), and almonds. State export calculations produced by ERS estimate the volume of agricultural production within each State that contributes to U.S. export sales.
The number of people living in nonmetro counties increased by about 8,000 between July 2018 and July 2019, a gain of about 0.02 percent. This modest rate of growth stands in contrast to the historic declines in nonmetropolitan population that occurred from 2010-17, when annual population losses averaged about 39,000 residents per year. ERS provides details, data, and analysis on demographic trends in nonmetro areas, including how "nonmetro" is defined.
For calendar year 2020, the farm share was 16.0 cents of the total food dollar expenditure, and the marketing share was 84.0 cents, accounting for the remainder of the food dollar. For the typical dollar spent in 2020 in the United States on domestically produced food—i.e., food dollar—U.S. farmers sold 16.0 cents of farm products, on average, to nonfarm establishments (farm share)—up from 15.0 cents in 2019. This increase marked the largest increase in farm share in 9 years. The farm share covers the cost of purchased inputs used in farm production plus the value added on farms—or onfarm production costs—which is attributed to the use of farmland, farm labor, farm machinery, and equipment. Onfarm production costs per food dollar were 8.0 cents in 2020, increasing from 7.4 cents in 2019, when these costs were at their lowest level since 2002. For more information, see the Food Dollar Series.
U.S. agricultural-environmental policy addresses a range of environmental concerns including soil quality, water quality, wildlife habitat, and air quality. The United States relies heavily on financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers who agree to adopt practices designed to improve their environmental performance. Financial and technical assistance support a number of conservation activities including land retirement, conservation practices on land in production (e.g., conservation tillage, nutrient management, or rotational grazing), protection of wetlands and grasslands, and preservation of productive farmland at risk of residential or commercial development. Key programs include the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), and the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). Conservation Compliance also ties conservation effort to participation in other agricultural programs. Under Conservation Compliance, farmers must apply an approved soil conservation system on highly erodible cropland and refrain from draining wetlands to maintain eligibility for a wide range of agriculture-related benefits, including farm income support and crop insurance premium subsidies.
Agriculture, food, and related industries contributed $1.055 trillion to the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020, a 5.0-percent share. The output of America’s farms contributed $134.7 billion of this sum—about 0.6 percent of GDP. The overall contribution of agriculture to GDP is larger than 0.6 percent because sectors related to agriculture rely on agricultural inputs in order to contribute added value to the economy. Sectors related to agriculture include: food and beverage manufacturing; food and beverage stores; food service and eating and drinking places; textiles, apparel, and leather products; and forestry and fishing.
USDA does not have an official estimate of the number of jobs associated with specific industries or sectors. Published U.S. Government data are available for direct farm employment and for employment in selected industries or sectors related to agriculture. The Bureau of Economic Analysis publishes data on the number of full- and part-time jobs for agricultural and related industry sectors. In 2020, 19.7 million full- and part-time jobs were related to the agricultural and food sectors—10.3 percent of total U.S. employment. Direct on-farm employment accounted for about 2.6 million of these jobs, or 1.4 percent of U.S. employment. See the section on Ag and Food Sectors and the Economy in the ERS data product, Ag and Food Statistics: Charting the Essentials for more information.