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Web site paints agriculture by the numbers

Anyone who wants to learn about farm policy in the United States has a new source, according to Bobby Coats, professor and economist with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.

The FarmPolicyFacts.org Web site offers information from a coalition of farmers and commodity groups created to educate Congress and Americans about agriculture’s contribution to the economy, Coats said.

For those who love statistics, the site includes a “Fact of the Day.” Items that have appeared on the site include:

• Ninety-eight percent of U.S. farms are run by families and less than 2 percent are corporate farms.

• Family farms produce 86 percent of America’s food and fiber.

• U.S. consumers spend just 10 percent of their income on food, which is the lowest percentage in the world.

• Today’s farmer provides food and fiber for 144 people — up from just 19 people in 1940.

• For every dollar Americans spend on food, farmers receive 20 cents.

• There are 6.5 billion people on the planet, and the world’s population will reach 8 billion by 2025.

• There were 13.4 percent more women farmers in 2002 than in 1997, according to the 2002 Ag Census.

• Agricultural land provides habitat for 75 percent of the nation’s wildlife.

• Japanese grocery shoppers spend 26 percent of their incomes on food while Americans only spend 10 percent, thanks to farm policy.

• The Bureau of Engraving and Printing depends on farmers to produce paper currency — 75 percent of every bill is made of cotton.

For more information about Arkansas’ agricultural economy and to hear Coats’ weekly Pod-casts, visit www.uaex.edu.

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