Agri-Musings: Statistics

Changes in Agricultural demographics:

  • In 2012, the United States had 2.1 million farms – down 4.3 percent from the previous Census in 2007.
  • Farm size by acres continues an overall downward trend in mid-sized farms, while the smallest and largest-size farms held steady.
  • Between 2007 and 2012, U.S. farm acreage continued a slow downward trend declining from 922 million acres to 915 million. This is only a decline of less than one percent and is the third smallest decline between censuses since 1950.
  • Source – 2012 US Census of Agriculture

Agri-Musings: Statistics

Ag Stats

  • Today, there are about 2.1 million farms in the U.S.
  • Today, there are about 912 million farm acres in the U.S.
  • When permanent grasslands and timber are added, there are about 2 billion acres in agriculture in the U.S. 
  • Today, only 37% of Americans believe that most farms are family-run (That’s one of the findings from the International Food Information Council’s annual survey of consumers).
  • In reality, over 96% of U.S. farms are family operations.
  • 1940, the average farmer produced food and fiber for 19 people
  • 2016, the average farmer produces food and fiber for 160 people.
  • Less than 2% of the U.S. population is involved with farming;
  • but 40-45% of all jobs are rooted in farming (I am not quite sure what this means…)
  • In the U.S. farmers and ranchers earn $0.16 for every retail food dollar consumers spend.

Excerpts from Monterey County Farm Bureau, Farm Focus

Reposted from Jun 13, 2016 3:26pm Facebook Post

Agri-Musings: Statistics

“The [U.S.] food and agriculture sector is one of 16 critical infrastructure sectors. According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), `the Food and Agriculture Sector is almost entirely under private ownership and is composed of an estimated 2.2 million farms, 900,000 restaurants, and more than 400,000 registered food manufacturing, processing, and storage facilities. This sector accounts for roughly one-fifth of the nation’s economic activity.

Stats: Agricultural Gross Revenues

In case you have ever wondered…

  • In 2015, the top ten counties in the U.S., nine of which are in California, accounted for $29 billion or 7 percent of total U.S. agriculture sales.
  • At the top of the list, Fresno County, with $5 billion in agriculture sales, had higher sales than 23 individual states.
  • The top four counties in California for Gross Ag Revenue are Fresno, Tulare and Kern Counties and Monterey Counties.
  • Monterey County had $4,256,072,000 in Gross Ag Revenue
  • Monterey County exceeded 22 states in Gross Ag Revenue for all commodities sold.
  • Monterey County’s total gross Ag Revenues exceeded the combined Gross Ag Revenues for the following nine states: Alaska, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Hawaii, Nevada, West Virginia and Maine.

Note: Stats derived from the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and the USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS).

Americans’ budget shares devoted to food

Americans’ spending on food— proportional to income — declined dramatically between 1960 and 2007, according to a chart recently published by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Economic Research Service (ERS). 

As the chart shows, the average share of per capita disposable income spent on total food on average decreased from 17.5% in 1960 to 9.6%.  “The share of income spent on total food began to flatten in 2000, as inflation-adjusted incomes for many Americans have stagnated or fallen over the last decade or so. In 2014, Americans spent 5.5 percent of their disposable personal incomes on food at home and 4.3 percent on food away from home.”

USDA, ERS. Americans’ Budget Shares Devoted to Food Have Flattened in Recent Years.

Agri-Stats: Big Data

The times? They are a-changing!

And the changes are exciting. But, they are very scary, too, as growers envision how Big Data could potentially modify their lives into some perverted version of Orwell’s 1984.

“Agricultural technology providers turn farmer’s data into a service or a product that will help a farmer make different decisions. But some [growers] are asking if all that farm-level data, when aggregated, will create a competitive advantage in commodity markets or lead to a potential moral hazard. That concern is real in the countryside.”

Statistics from the article:

  •  > 75% of farmers responding to an American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) survey on Big Data expressed concern that their farm data could be used by a company or third party for market-sensitive commercial activities.
  • “A company having access to vast amounts of real-time data could develop near instant commodity reports, [to] tilt… the playing field between large and small companies.
  • > 77 % of farmers were concerned that their data could … be used for regulatory purposes.
  • >82 % of farmers were unsure [what] agriculture technology providers intended to go with their farm data.

Source:  Note: Article no longer available on the internet.

Reposted from October 29, 2014, Facebook Post

Agri- Stats: Who Buys Produce?

Today, fresh fruits and vegetables are largely purchased by aging, affluent baby boomers. In the future, as demographics change, Hispanics will be a larger buying group. Their U.S. population is expected to double in the next 35 years.

But, will they buy? 

Source: Eddy, David. Growing Produce. September 9, 2014.

Agri- Stats: Climate Change and Pest Management

At the October 2014 CAPCA Conference, a speaker presented the predicted impacts of climate change on invasive pest management. She stated that invasive species are expected to move 1.9 kilometers away from the equator or up in altitude. Also, insect life cycles are expected to change from 2 to 5-10 life cycles in a season. We can also expect to see pest infestations become much less predictable as insect movement is erratic and life cycles are disrupted. Additionally, she discussed that climate change is expected to reduce plant nutrition, which, in turn, means that insects will need to feed more in order to sustain life. 

Additional stats: 

  • Pre-1989, California acquired 6 new invasive species per year.
  • Post-1989, California acquires 10 new invasive species per year.
  • Invasive species cost the US about $138 billion per year.
  • Invasive species cost CA > $34 billion per year.


California Ag is a powerhouse. It impacts our culture, social fabric, labor, economy, and environment locally, nationally and globally. 

It affects the lives of those who depends on California food.

It is a wild mix of juxtapositions  cosmopolitan/provincial, worldly/insulated, traditional/ingenuous, optimistic/pessimistic, wealthy/impoverished, hierarchical/autonomous, competitive/co-dependent, and experienced/innovative. The list could go on and on. 

Facts and figures tell the story for those who can’t drive the valleys, watch the rows tick by, smell the harvest, feel the wind, bite the dust, hope for rain, or get their boots dirty. 

Where do you get your fresh fruits and veggies?

The next time you are hungry, think about where your food comes from.

In 2012, (pre-drought) California was the top ranked producer of the following domestically produced vegetables (% of U.S. Total):

  • Artichokes (99%),
  • Asparagus (50%),
  • Brocolli (95%),
  • Cabbage (21%),
  • Carrots (68%),
  • Cauliflower (87%),
  • Celery (95%),
  • Garlic (97%),
  • Head Lettuce (77%),
  • Leaf Lettuce (85%),
  • Romaine Lettuce (76%),
  • Cantelope (58%),
  • Honeydew (74%),
  • Onions (26%),
  • Bell Peppers (40%),
  • Chili Peppers (54%),
  • Fresh Spinach (71%),
  • Fresh Tomoates (41%),
  • Processed Tomatoes (96%),
  • Almonds (99%),
  • Apricots (91%),
  • Avocados (92%),
  • Raspberries (55%),
  • Strawberries (80%),
  • Dates (82%),
  • Figs (96%),
  • Grapes (90%),
  • Kiwifruit (97%),
  • Lemons (90%),
  • Nectarines (96%),
  • Olives (96%),
  • Peaches (71%),
  • Pistachios (98%),
  • Plums (97%),
  • Tangerines (67%),
  • Walnuts (99%),

What happens to California Ag, affects all of us!

Reposted from June 18, 2012 Facebook Post