close [X]

Fast Facts About Agriculture

2.1 million farms dot America’s rural landscape. About 99 percent of U.S. farms are operated by families – individuals, family partnerships or family corporations America's Diverse Family Farms, 2016 Edition.

One U.S. farm feeds 165 people annually in the U.S. and abroad. The global population is expected to increase to 9.7 billion by 2050, which means the world’s farmers will have to grow about 70 percent more food than what is now produced.

In 2016, $135.5 billion worth of American agricultural products were exported around the world. The United States sells more food and fiber to world markets than we import, creating a positive agricultural trade balance.

Farmers and ranchers receive only 15 cents out of every dollar spent on food at home and away from home. The rest goes for costs beyond the farm gate: wages and materials for production, processing, marketing, transportation and distribution. In 1980, farmers and ranchers received 31 cents.

The millennial generation (people aged 34 and under) includes 257,454 farmers. More than 20 percent of all farmers are beginning farmers (in business less than 10 years).

The pounds of feed (grain, forage, etc.) a dairy cow needs to eat to produce 100 pounds of milk has decreased by more than 40 percent on average in the last 40 years.

Farming accounts for about 1 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product.

Farm and ranch families comprise just 2 percent of the U.S. population.

Farm programs typically cost each American just pennies per meal and account for less than one-half of 1 percent of the total U.S. budget.

The number of farm operators of Spanish, Hispanic or Latino origin is higher than ever, up 21 percent to 99,734. There also are more African American (44,629, up 12 percent) and American Indian (58,475, up 5 percent) farm operators.

Total U.S. corn yield (tons per acre) has increased more than 360 percent since 1950.

Women make up 30 percent (969,672) of the total number of U.S. farm operators.

About 25 percent of U.S. farm products by value are exported each year.

About 8 percent of U.S. farms market foods locally, through direct-to-consumer or intermediated sales.

Cattle and calves, corn, and dairy products are the top 3 U.S. farm products.

Americans enjoy a food supply that is abundant, affordable overall and among the world’s safest, thanks in large part to the efficiency and productivity of America’s farm and ranch families.

Information on this page was originally published in AFBF’s Food & Farm Facts book (2017 edition) and may be shared via social media, etc. Visit for additional resources and information on ordering products in the Food and Farm Facts series (books, pocket guides and more).