Agri-Stats: Food and Ag Sector

“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.

Agri-Stats: 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).

Agri-Stats: How much do we spend on food?

In 2016, households in the middle-income quintile spent an average of $6,224 on food, representing 13.1 percent of income, while the lowest income households spent $3,862 on food, representing 32.6 percent of income.

Food-away-from-home’s share of total food expenditures rose to 50.1 percent in 2014, surpassing at-home food sales for the first time.

2012 National Locally-Grown Food

The Local Food Movement Is Growing Up: 

  • 163,600 farms were engaged in local food sector across the country
  • $6.1 billion in locally grown food was sold
  • 2006-2014 – the number of farmers markets jumped from 180% to 8,260 markets
  • > 4,300 school districts spent > $385 million on local food thru farm-to-school programs
  • > 135 operational food hubs now move local food from farmers to meet wholesale, retail and institutional customers

Harden, Krysta. The Local Food Movement Is Growing Up. Modesto Bee. March 4, 2015.

Reposted from March 07, 2015 8:05am Facebook Post

Agri-Stats: Americans’ food budgets

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: The Most Common Job In Every State

The Census was used to track jobs over time, from 1978 to 2014. The resulting map is intriguing. 

“Fewer and fewer farmers: Our map shows the tail end of a century-long trend. Farming technology (everything from tiny seeds to giant harvesters) keeps getting better, which means fewer and fewer people grow more and more food.”

NPR. Map: The Most Common* Job In Every State. February 5, 2015.

Agri-Stats: Aging Agricultural Communities

In the December 2014 edition of Rangelands, researchers explored demographic trends of farm and ranch operators concentrating on Wyoming.

Rangelands reported the project findings:

  • Census records indicate that Wyoming’s agricultural community is aging.
  • There are risks associated with loss of local knowledge, loss of tradition and loss of investment that stem from a deep-rooted sense of place.
  • Fundamental challenges exist to incentivize young agriculturalists to replace those in retirement age.
  • Solutions? Finding young farmers and ranchers might be accomplished through shifts in education, public policy, economic incentives, or through targeted cultivation of personal connections to the land.

Growing Produce summarized this project: “… the authors forecast a bleak farming future: no operators younger than 35 by 2033 and an average age of 60 by 2050. Even if their children and grandchildren show interest in agriculture, farmers often cannot afford to keep their land and equipment. They “retire” and sell — often to residential or commercial developers. The authors state that the trends in Wyoming are occurring throughout the U.S.”

Glick, Henry B. et al. Wyoming’s Aging Agricultural Landscape: Demographic Trends among Farm And Ranch Operators, 1920-2007. Rangelands. Volume 35. Issue 6. December 2014. Pages 7-14.

Agri-Stats: Demographics

There’s a national shortage of young agricultural professionals.

A 2014 Report by the STEM Food and Ag Council calls for industries and universities to work together to address the gap.


  • Twenty-five percent of [agricultural] workers are the age of 55 or older, which means job opportunities will grow through workforce attrition.
  • Analysis projects a 4.9% growth in employment opportunities in the next five years, adding 33,100 new jobs in advanced agriculture fields.

The report, released at the World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogue, includes a detailed analysis of enrollment and workforce trends in six agriculture fields:

  • Agricultural Business and Management,
  • Agriculture Mechanization and Engineering,
  • Animal Sciences,
  • Plant and Soil Science,
  • Food Science and Technology, and
  • Other life sciences.

The STEM Food & Ag Council report found that career opportunities in the food and agriculture industries for the next generation will be significant

STEM Annual Report, Food Ag Council (2014)

Reposted from October 23, 2014, Facebook post

In 2012, The USDA Stats came to the same conclusions: 

  • Only 22% of all farmers in the U.S. are “beginning farmers” (farming for < 10 years)
  • Only 6% of farmers are under the age of 35
  • 33% of farmers are 65 or older

In 2012, the U.S. Census of Ag Reported an overall decrease in the number of farms: 

  • The U.S. had 2.1 million farms.
  • A decrease in 4.3 % from the 2007 Census.
  • There is an overall downward trend in mid-sized farms, while the smallest and largest-size farms held steady.
  • Between 2007 and 2012, the amount of land in U.S. farms declined from 922 million acres to 915 million. (<1%).

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 provided to private vendors could potentially modify their lives into some creepy 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:

  • Greater than 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.
  • Greater than 77 % of farmers were concerned that their data could … be used for regulatory purposes.
  • Greater than 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