By Cyndie Shearing
Producing a bounty of food, fiber for clothes and renewable fuels for cars is a vast agricultural undertaking and one that few consumers today know much about. That’s not surprising, considering that most Americans are three or more generations removed from farming.
Although most of us aren’t involved in full-time food production, it can still be fun – and educational – to ponder facts about how modern farmers and ranchers go about their work. That’s where Food and Farm Facts, a publication from the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture, comes in.
“Food and Farm Facts provides the opportunity to learn about the many ways modern farmers produce food to meet the needs of today’s consumers,” explained Foundation Chairman Zippy Duvall, who also serves as president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.
The 32-page, full-color book features hundreds of updated agriculture facts and easy-to-read infographics organized into sections: Consumers, Modern Farmers, Trade & Economics, Environment and Production.
Fifteen fantastic facts about agriculture to whet your appetite for the Food and Farm Facts book are below.
- Ninety-nine percent of all U.S. farms are owned by individuals, family partnerships or family corporations.
- Farmers will have to grow 70 percent more food than what is currently produced to feed the world’s growing population by 2050.
- Each American farmer produces food and fiber for 165 people annually, both in the U.S. and abroad.
- Eight percent of U.S. farms market foods locally through farmers’ markets and food hubs.
- One day’s production for a high-producing dairy cow yields 10.5 pounds of cheese.
- Women make up 30 percent of today’s farmers.
- More than 20 percent of all farmers are beginning farmers.
- There are 257,454 millennial farmers.
- Texas has 248,809 farms, more than any other state in the nation.
- About 25 percent of all U.S. agricultural products by value are exported yearly.
- Careful stewardship by America’s farmers spurred a 44 percent decline in erosion of cropland by wind and water since 1982.
- One-third of the U.S. or 750 million acres, is covered with trees.
- Many of the products we use in our everyday lives are byproducts of food produced by America’s farmers and ranchers – everything from detergents and paints to X-ray film and crayons, textbooks, chalk and strings for musical instruments.
- An acre of land is about the same size as a football field.
- Biotechnology saved the Hawaiian papaya industry after a virus nearly wiped the crop out.
Order the Food and Farm Facts book and related resources online.