Agriculture in United States of America
The United States is one of the world's largest producers, consumers, exporters and importers of agricultural commodities. The U.S. agriculture sector extends beyond the farm business to include a range of farm-related industries. The largest of these are food service and food manufacturing.
Agriculture, food, and related industries contributed $1.109 trillion to the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019, a 5.2-percent share. The output of America’s farms contributed $136.1 billion of this sum—about 0.6 percent of GDP.
American agriculture and rural life underwent a tremendous transformation in the 20th century. Early 20th century agriculture was labour intensive, and it took place on many small, diversified farms in rural areas where more than half the U.S. population lived. Agricultural production in the 21st century, on the other hand, is concentrated on a smaller number of large, specialized farms in rural areas where less than a fourth of the U.S. population lives.
Number of U.S. farms fell sharply until the early 1970s. Since then, the number of U.S. farms has continued to decline, but much more slowly. In the most recent survey, there were 2.02 million U.S. farms in 2020, down from 2.20 million in 2007. With 897 million acres of land in farms in 2020, the average farm size was 444 acres, only slightly greater than the 440 acres recorded in the early 1970s.
Technological developments in agriculture have been influential in driving changes in the farm sector. Innovations in animal and crop genetics, chemicals, equipment, and farm organization have enabled continuing output growth without adding much to inputs. In 2020, 19.7 million full- and part-time jobs were related to the agricultural and food sectors—10.3 percent of total U.S. employment. Direct on-farm employment accounted for about 2.6 million of these jobs, or 1.4 percent of U.S. employment. Employment in agriculture- and food-related industries supported another 17.1 million jobs.
Main agricultural regions in U.S. are as follows:
- Corn Belt – Midwest States - includes States of: Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, and Missouri, central growing region of corn and soybeans. Area known for the perfect balance of temperature, and rainfall, combined with fertile soil for abundant production of corn and soybean crops.
- Appalachia – Mid-Atlantic States - includes States of: New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North & South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi hilly terrain limits the size of farms, as well as the best viable fruits and vegetables for the region to grow. It is the main growing region for the cash crop – tobacco. Additionally, a large dairy and cattle industry presides in the region.
- South East – South-eastern States - includes the States of: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. Major producing region of fruits and vegetables. The preeminent citrus growing region in the US, mainly Florida, accounting for 70% of US citrus production. Growing seasons last between 100-200 days longer due to mild climate and high precipitation. Largest growing region for sweet potatoes.
- Delta States – South Central States - includes States of: Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi location on the Mississippi River help to continue to feed and maintain the fertility of the soil. Vital for this major producing region of soybeans and cotton. Rice and corn are also major crops produced here.
- Plain States – Northern & Southern Plains - includes States of: Kansas, Nebraska, North & South Dakota, Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wyoming region is defined by its more challenging conditions for agriculture. Arid conditions in the west and south, and cold harsh winters in the north. Due to these conditions, the area produces the vast majority of wheat, cereals, pulses, and other grains for both human and animal consumption. It is also a large cattle producing region. Iowa, Texas, Nebraska, and Minnesota round out the top five agricultural-producing States, with those five representing more than a third of U.S. agricultural-output value.
- Lake States – Upper Midwest - includes the States of: Michigan, Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York. This region is the dominant dairy farming and production region of the US. They are also large producers of some temperate fruits, such as cranberries, and cherries.
- Pacific & Pacific Northwest– West Coast & Pacific Northwest - includes States of: Hawaii, Alaska, California, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. This is a very diverse climatic region – ranging from tropical in Hawaii, to temperate in Washington/Oregon, Mediterranean in California, and very cold in Alaska. Hawaii is a small producer of some tropical crops like sugarcane and pineapple. California leads the country as the largest producer of agricultural products (crops and livestock),The Pacific Northwest – Washington, Oregon, and Idaho – are renowned for their incredibly fertile soil, and intense production of fruits, like apples, and berries, as well as being the largest potato growing region in the US.
Crop production in United States of America
Corn, wheat, soybeans, cotton, and hay account for 90% of harvested acreage in the United States. Corn, wheat, and soybeans are grown for both animal feed and human consumption. Cotton is used to make clothing and other products. Hay is grass or other plants such as alfalfa or clover that are dried and used for animal feed. Corn is the largest agricultural crop grown in the United States. Most corn grown in the United States is field corn, which is used to feed animals.
Crop cash receipts totaled $192.2 billion in 2020. Receipts from corn and soybeans accounted for 43.4 percent of the total.
Soybeans were grown primarily as cattle feed. It is estimated that American poultry, beef, pigs, and dairy cattle eat about 22.5 million tons of soybeans annually. Currently, soybeans are grown in 29 states.
Wheat is used to manufacture food products such as bread and other bakery products, cereal, spaghetti, and beer. Leftover wheat stalks are used to feed animals. About three fourths of all harvested wheat is "winter wheat," which is planted in the fall. The state of Kansas produces the most wheat in the nation.
Cotton is a warm climate crop and so is grown only in the southern United States. "Cotton Belt" states include Virginia, North and South Carolina Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Florida, Tennessee, Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. The three leading cotton-growing states are Texas, California, and Georgia.
Livestock production in United States of America
Livestock production and sales occur in all 50 States. Texas, Iowa, California, Nebraska, and Kansas lead the country in sales value of livestock and their products. Milk from cows accounts for about 57 percent of livestock-sale value in California. Both the hog and cattle sectors are large sources of sales value in Iowa. North Carolina is the leading producing State of poultry and eggs, followed by Georgia.
With rich agricultural land resources, the United States has developed a beef industry that is largely separate from its dairy sector. Beef cattle are raised primarily on huge ranches in the western and southwestern parts of the United States. Texas has the most beef cows in the United States in 2021 followed by Oklahoma, Missouri, Nebraska & South Dakota.
Texas has more beef cows in 2021 than Missouri and Oklahoma combined. Texas accounts for roughly 15% of the beef cows in the United States. Seven (7) states have more than 1 million beef cows in 2021.
In addition to having the world's largest fed-cattle industry, the United States is also the world's largest consumer of beef—primarily high-value, grain-fed beef. The U.S. beef cattle industry is often divided into two production sectors: cow-calf producers and cattle feeding. The United States is the world's third-largest producer and consumer of pork and pork products. In recent years, the United States has been either the world’s largest or second largest exporter of pork and pork products, with exports averaging over 20 percent of commercial pork production in most years. Currently, U.S. hog operations are heavily concentrated in the Midwest and in eastern North Carolina. Just three states account for 76 percent of the country’s vegetable production value . For the 26 selected vegetables and melons estimated in 2017, California continued to be the leading State in terms of area harvested, utilized production, and value of production. Arizona and Florida ranked second and third, respectively, in terms of value of utilized production. In 2017, the top three vegetables, in terms of area harvested, were sweet corn, tomatoes, and snap beans. In terms of total production, the three largest crops were tomatoes, sweet corn, and onions, which combined accounted for 54 percent of all vegetables total.
Forest industry in United States of America
The United States has the fourth largest forest estate in the world, including about 8 percent of the world’s forests. These lands range from boreal forests in Alaska; to deciduous forests in the eastern United States; to pine plantations in the southern United States; to dry coniferous forests in the western United States; to temperate rainforests on the West Coast; to the tropical rainforests of Puerto Rico and here in Hawaii. Fifty-six percent of our forest lands are in private ownership. The rest are managed by local, tribal, state, and federal governments. In 2018 nearly 439 million cubic meters (m3) of roundwood was harvested from American timberlands (both public and private) and used to manufacture a number of products including tissue and toilet paper, furniture and lumber, home and office utensils, biochemicals, and a host of other products.
Fishing industry in United States of America
Capture fisheries and aquaculture occur in many of the coastal waters/Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), rivers and lakes of the United States of America (USA) and fishing also takes place in the EEZs of other nations and on the high seas (e.g. tuna catches in the Western Central Pacific). US total capture production is quite stable between 4.9 and 5.1 million tonnes despite catch fluctuations of the two main species (Alaska pollock and Gulf menhaden) which are caught in great quantities in the Pacific and the Atlantic Ocean, respectively.
Highest value species groups are as follows: salmon, lobster, crabs, scallops, shripms. Freshwater aquaculture is still dominated by channel catfish (60 percent), followed by crayfish (26 percent) and rainbow trout (8 percent). Mariculture produces mainly shellfish (90 percent) plus finfish (9 percent) and marine shrimp (1 percent).