National Ag Week is being celebrated March 15-21 all across the United States, with Wednesday, March 18, designated as National Ag Day. As we celebrate National Ag Week, it is a good time to reflect on all the traditions and advancements that help make the U.S. agriculture industry second to none! Here are some interesting statistics about today’s agriculture industry.
- The 2012 Census of Agriculture listed a total of 2.1 million farms in the U.S. Overall, U.S. farm numbers have generally been declining since World War II; however, farm numbers have been more stable since 1992. Minnesota had a total of 79,800 farms in 2012, which compares to 80,992 farms in 2007.
- There was a total 915 million acres of land in farms in the U.S. in 2012. This total land in farms declined by less than one percent from the 2007 total, which was the third smallest decline between ag census years since 1950. The average U.S. farm size in 2012 was 434 acres, while the average farm size in Minnesota was 349 acres. There are about 27 million acres of land in production in Minnesota, with 6,262 farms being above 1,000 acres.
- There was a total of $394.6 billion of agricultural sales in the U.S. in 2012, which was at a record level, and was about one-third higher than 2007. Crop sales in 2012 totaled $212.4 billion, while total livestock sales in 2012 were $182.2 billion. 2012 was only second time in the history of ag census data (since 1840) that total U.S. crop sales have exceeded total livestock sales. The other time was in 1974.
- In 2012, Minnesota total crop sales were $13.2 billion and livestock sales were $7.4 billion. Hog sales accounted for 38% of the livestock sales, dairy products for 24%, beef cattle 19% and poultry 16%. Minnesota ranks 1st nationally in sugar beet production, 2nd in sweet corn production and usually ranks 3rd or 4th in corn, soybean and wheat production.
- Minnesota ranked 5th in the U.S. total agricultural sales in 2012. Minnesota trailed only California, Iowa, Texas and Nebraska in total ag sales. Minnesota ranked 4th in total crop sales in 2012, behind California, Iowa, and Illinois. Minnesota ranked 7th in total livestock sales, with Texas, Iowa and California being the leading states.
- The average agricultural sales per farm in the U.S. in 2012 was $187,093. There were 57,292 farms with total sales above $1 million per year in 2012, which was an increase of 42.5 percent from 2007; however, 1.6 million farms (75%) had total sales of less than $50,000 annually. Minnesota had 5,393 farms with total ag sales of $1 million or more in 2012, which is nearly double the number of farms at that level in 2007.
- In 2014, approximately 5.2 billion bushel of corn were used for U.S. ethanol production. There were 198 operating ethanol plants in the U.S. in 2014, producing just over 15 billion gallons of ethanol. Minnesota had 21 ethanol plants producing about 1.15 billion gallons of ethanol, while Iowa had 42 plants in operation producing nearly 4 billion gallons of ethanol.
- Advanced biotechnology corn seed was used on 93% of the U.S. corn acres in 2014. The use insecticides in corn production in the U.S. has been reduced by 65% in recent years by the use of biotechnology corn varieties. The use of biotechnology in crop production has also reduced the overall need for pesticides, while helping to protect the environment.
- The U.S. farmer of today produces enough food and fiber for approximately 160 people. This number compares to 19 people in 1940, 46 people in 1960, and 115 people in 1980.
- Farmers receive just under 16¢ of every consumer dollar that is spent on food. The other 84¢ is spent on processing, packaging, marketing, transportation, distribution and other costs in the retail food supply.
- One acre of wheat will yield about 50 bushels per acre and will produce over 2,500 loaves of bread, or over 50 loaves of bread per bushel of wheat. If a farmer is paid $6 per bushel for wheat from the farm, the wheat cost in a 2-pound loaf of bread is only about 15¢ per loaf. (Est. retail value of a loaf of bread is about $2.19/loaf).
- Following is the farmer’s share of some other common food products and the (Est. Retail Value as of February, 2015, based on USDA average prices): Bacon: 78¢/lb. ($5.49/lb.); sirloin steak: $2.64/lb. ($8.79/lb.); boneless ham: 78¢/lb. ($4.39/lb.); milk: $1.51/gal. ($3.89/gal.); eggs: $1.31/doz. ($2.59/doz.); breakfast cereal: 6¢/box ($4.69/box); potatoes: 46¢/5 lbs. ($4.39/5 lbs.); tomatoes: 35¢/lb. ($3.59/lb.).
As we celebrate National Ag Week, everyone should take time to appreciate the abundant supply of safe and affordable food that is provided by farmers and the U.S. agriculture industry!
Facts listed in this article are from USDA, National Farmers Union, American Farm Bureau, National Corn Growers Association, and other sources.