The U.S. vegetables and pulses sector comprises hundreds of independent markets within the food-marketing system. From 2017 to 2022, U.S. farm cash receipts from the sale of vegetables and pulses (including potatoes and mushrooms) averaged $19.9 billion— approximately 10 percent of average U.S. crop cash receipts over the same time period. This amount was generated on approximately 2 percent of all U.S. harvested acreage. Annual per capita availability (a proxy for consumption) of vegetables and pulses over the same period averaged 414 pounds—down approximately 4 percent from a decade earlier when average per capita availability was 431 pounds.

USDA, ERS provides a range of data products and reports on vegetable and pulse markets including domestic supply, demand, trade, and prices. 

Periodic, Scheduled Outputs 

  • Outlook reports are published three times a year and provide current intelligence and forecasts on changing conditions in the U.S. vegetable and pulses sector. Interactive charts and highlights of the most recent Outlook report are available on the Market Outlook page
  • Vegetables and Pulses Data are updated monthly and provide prices, price indexes and trade for the sector and for individual commodities.
  • Vegetables and Pulses Yearbook Tables are updated annually and contain Excel spreadsheets detailing a 40 year time series of supply, availability (including per capita use), and price for a range of U.S. fresh and processing vegetables.

Recent USDA, ERS Reports Relating to Vegetables and Pulses

In addition to the periodic Outlook reports and data products, USDA, ERS disseminates reports covering issues important to vegetable and pulse crop markets in the United States and around the world. Recent USDA, ERS reports relating to vegetable and pulse crops include: 

USDA, ERS researchers conducted interviews with Mexican horticultural growers focused on the export market to explore how their industry responded to the new requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Medium-to-large companies (300–1,000 seasonal workers) were more likely to have modified their food safety activities and to hold three or more food safety certifications—facilitating the sector’s growing presence in the U.S. market. 

This study characterizes recent changes in the Federal Crop Insurance Program (FCIP) and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Program (NAP). It covers program use by specialty crop farmers, compares differences among conventional and organic farms, and investigates the reasons some farmers choose whether to participate in these programs. Specialty crop growers increased the value of their crops insured by FCIP products from about $12 billion in 2011 to about $21 billion in 2020 (not adjusted for inflation). A case study of nine specialty crop growers in New York State explores reasons they choose whether to participate in these Federal programs.

This report examines how U.S. producers of selected labor-intensive fresh fruit and vegetables address the rising costs of labor. Rising labor costs often cause producers to adjust their production and management practices to compensate for the changing cost structure. Short-term options to meet the labor needs on farms include management changes, such as picking fields and orchards less often and introducing mechanical aids that increase worker productivity. Longer-term options include the use of more labor-saving mechanization, additional H-2A guest workers, and reducing overall domestic production.

This study provides an overview of the drivers of food loss on the farm and other pre-retail sectors, with a focus on economic incentives that underlie the way fresh foods are grown, processed, and marketed in the United States. The study focuses on the produce sector because fruits and vegetables are highly perishable and important to diet quality.

U.S. produce growers face increased demand for implementing more food safety practices, prompted by a series of high-profile foodborne illness outbreaks. A series of case studies with growers of five commodities in six regions reveal the industry's long history of voluntarily adopted food safety standards as well as requirements set by commercial buyers and government agencies.