The U.S. farming industry is in a huge state of transition. Hence, the number of people in the farming industry has been declining slowly for decades.
However, tariff wars call into question the financial viability of major crops like soybeans, America’s No. 1 food export. Still, farming is also experiencing rapid innovation. Smart technology is changing; for instance, it means to work in agriculture and how Americans interact with their food daily.
Here is a rundown of eight surprising facts you need to know about the U.S. farming industry.
Farmers make up just 1.3% of the labor force since there are more than 2 million farms across the U.S.
Farming alone has contributed $132.8 billion to the U.S. economy; the industry’s reach extends far beyond the soil. Also, leather ottoman, countless products, and industries rely on agricultural inputs to contribute to the economy.
41% of the contiguous U.S. is used to feed livestock.
Bloomberg found that while U.S. agricultural land takes up 391 million acres — a fifth of the land in the 48 contiguous states. However, only 77.3 million of those acres are used to grow the food we eat. In comparison, 800 million acres go toward feeding cows and other livestock. It makes up 41% of the contiguous U.S. and is equal to the size of India.
For comparison, the same study found that urban areas made up only 3.6% of 48 contiguous states’ total size.
Around 50,000 jobs in the agriculture industry are available per year in the U.S. Yet, there are not enough qualified graduates to fill the vacancies.
Jobs in agriculture doesn’t need to take place in a field. New hires may find themselves in a lab, an office, or even an open-concept coworking space.
According to CareerAddict‘s report, there are two most lucrative positions in the field. Firstly, agricultural lawyers handle cases dealing with proper land use, environmental protection, and labor laws for an average of $115,820 per year. And secondly, agricultural economists, who forecast trends and advise clients for an average of $105,000 per year,
Shortly, you could scan the sticker on an apple and trace its history.
According to Corteva, new technology powered by the “Internet of Things” could trace the journey taken by a single fruit or stalk of celery on its way to the grocery store.
However, the smart labels are meant to remove fears consumers may have about where their food comes from. They also target consumers who often shop at local farmers’ markets. Additionally, they want to make sure the food they pick up at the store does not carry a significant carbon footprint.
Soybeans account for 60% of the U.S.’ $23 billion worth of agricultural exports to China.
Wisconsin stands to lose the most in the dying dairy industry.
Wisconsin has nearly 8,000 dairy farms, more than any other state. Yet, as struggles continue with declining milk prices, a transition to larger farms, international trade issues, and increased rates of suicide among farmers. Therefore, the state lost more than 550 dairy farms in 2019 alone.