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FARMERS AND RANCHERS OF THE U.S.

American Farmers, Ranchers and Growers

There are nearly 3.4 million farmers, ranchers, and growers in the U.S. – meaning less than 2% of the total population is responsible for feeding the other 98%. Even though farmers represent a small portion of the population, the U.S. agricultural industry is among the most productive in the world, thanks to advances in agricultural research, technology, and precision farming. Today, agriculture contributes more than $1.1 trillion to the U.S. economy – which would make it the world’s 15th largest economy if treated as its own country – and about 25% of farm products are exported. Family-owned farms account for 96% of all farms in the U.S.

Types of Farms

Row Crops

Row crops are the foundation for many staple foods that both people and livestock consume daily. A typical breakfast of cereal, toast, bacon, and eggs is made possible in large part by row crop farmers. The largest U.S. row crops are corn, soybeans, wheat, and cotton – these account for almost 240 million of the 325 million total acres planted to crops in the U.S. Other important row crops include potatoes, rice, sunflower, sugar beets, and peanuts.

Livestock

The U.S. is the world’s largest producer of beef, dairy, and poultry, and the second biggest pork producer. Livestock markets are incredibly important to U.S. farmers and the economy – in fact, cattle and calves are the top U.S. farm product by value. Livestock farmers care deeply about the health and well-being of their animals. Proper care is a cornerstone of livestock farm management, not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it’s in the best interest of farm businesses, as healthy livestock are more productive.

Specialty Crops

The U.S. has a diverse climate, enabling farmers to grow a wide variety of specialty crops, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, horticulture, and nursery crops. There are over 240,000 specialty crop farms across the country covering more than 15 million acres, with California, Florida, Texas, Oregon, and Michigan leading the way with the greatest number of farms.

Man in Farm
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