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National Ag Weeek

Written by: Kent Thiesse

National Ag Week is being celebrated March 4-10 all across the United States, and Thursday, March 8, has been designated as “National Ag Day”. It is a good time to reflect on all the traditions and advancements that help make the U.S. agriculture industry second to none !


Following are some interesting statistics about today’s agriculture industry :

  • The top five agriculture products in the United States are cattle and calves, dairy products, broilers, corn, and soybeans.The U.S. produces approximately 46 percent of the world’s soybeans, 41 percent of the world’s corn, 20 percent of the world’s cotton, and 13 percent of the world’s wheat, and raises those crops more efficiently and much safer than a few decades ago.


  • It takes the average American less than 40 days to earn enough disposable income to pay for all the food that is consumed at home and away from home during the entire year. By comparison, it takes consumers about 100 days of earned income to pay all Federal, State, and local taxes each year, and over 50 days of income to cover health insurance and medical costs.


  • The U.S.farmer of today produces enough food and fiber for approximately 155 people. This number was 19 people in 1940, 46 people in 1960, and 115 people in 1980. 


  • Farmers receive less than 20 cents of every consumer dollar that is spent on food. The other 80 plus cents is spent on processing, packaging, marketing, transportation, distribution,       and retail costs.


  • One acre of wheat will yield about 40 bushels per acre and will produce over 2,000 loaves of bread, or over 50 loaves of bread per bushel of wheat. If a farmer is paid $6.00 per bushel for wheat from the farm, the wheat cost in a loaf of bread is only about 17 cents per loaf. (Est. Retail Value is about $3.59/loaf)


  • Following is the farmer’s share of some other common food products (Est. Retail Value as of February, 2012, based on USDA average prices) : Bacon - $.89/lb. ($5.89/lb.); Sirloin Steak - $2.03/lb. ($8.49/lb.); Boneless Ham - $.89/lb. ($3.99/lb.); Milk - $1.54/gal ($4.39/gal.); Eggs - $.84/doz. ($3.59/doz.); Breakfast Cereal - $.09/box ($4.69/box); Potatoes - $.53/five lbs. ($4.39/five lbs.); Tomatoes - $.27/lb. ($3.28/lb.).


  • The U.S. Agriculture Industry employs more than 22 million people to produce, process, sell, and trade the Nation’s food and fiber, or about one out of every 12 jobs in the U.S. Approximately 3 million people are directly involved in farming and ranching in the U.S., and 99 percent of the farms and ranches are operated by farm families as individuals, as well as by family partnerships and family corporations, usually multi-generational.


  • The Minnesota Agriculture Industry generated approximately $15.1 billion in farm income and over $5 billion in farm exports in 2010. Nearly one in five jobs in Minnesota is linked to the agriculture industry. Minnesota ranks in the top ten States in the U.S. in corn, soybean, pork, dairy, and turkey production.


  • The soil erosion rate in the U.S. has declined by over 40 percent in the past twenty years.   Today, conservation tillage methods are utilized on over 72 million acres of crop acres in the   U.S., contour farming practices are used on approximately 26 million acres, and over 1.3 million acres of waterways are maintained by U.S. farmers.


  • Fresh beef sold at the retail meat counter in the U.S. has 25-30 percent less fat content than 20 years ago. Today, the average pork tenderloin only has about one gram more fat content than a skinless chicken breast, which is considered among the leanest of meat products.


  • Today’s modern combines, harvest over 900 bushels of corn per hour, or 100 bushels every seven minutes. By comparison, in the 1930’s, before modernized harvesting equipment, a farmer would harvest approximately 100 bushels of corn in a nine hour day.


Please celebrate and enjoy National Ag Week, and thank a farmer for the abundant supply of safe and affordable food that they provide for all of us !