Economic Information Bulletin No. (EIB-268) 61 pp

February 2024

World Agricultural Production, Resource Use, and Productivity, 1961–2020

World agriculture has undergone significant transformation over the past six decades. Over this period, most regions of the world transitioned from a natural resource-dependent to a productivity-led growth path, made possible by the development and adoption of new technologies and farming practices. This USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS) report documents those changes, providing insights into shifting patterns of agricultural production and resource use world-wide. It also shows the evolution of agricultural growth over time and discusses the implications of these dynamics for sustainable use of natural resources and global food security. Over the past 60 years (1961–2020), world production of crop, livestock, and aquaculture commodities grew fourfold, from a gross value of $1.1 trillion to $4.3 trillion dollars (at constant 2015 commodity prices).

Keywords: Total factor productivity, family farms, capital-labor substitution, food security, environmental resources, agricultural land, irrigation, Green Revolution, genetically modified crops, agricultural technical change, agricultural research and development, agricultural extension

In this publication...