Thanks to its natural resources and land conditions, the United States was always destined to be one of the world’s leading agricultural producers and suppliers. Recent statistics show that in 2011 U.S. agriculture generated a gross output
of more than 374 billion U.S. dollars, and employed
more than 750 thousand people around the country.
Across the U.S. there are numerous farms of various sizes. In 2010, the total number of farms
stood at approximately 2.2 million. On average, farms in the U.S. are around 418 acres in size and in total there are nearly 920 million acres of farmland
across the country, of which around one third is operated by full owners. Altogether the real estate value
of farming land in the U.S. amounts to approximately two trillion U.S. dollars.
The United States is a major player in the global trade of agricultural products. In 2010, exports of agricultural products
were worth some 116 billion U.S. dollars. The most important countries of destination were China
, Canada and Mexico. On the other side, imports
worth around 82 billion U.S. dollars made their way into the United States. Principal countries of origin were Canada, the European Union
Farming also involves significant production costs
. In the United States, expenditure totaled more than 287 billion U.S. dollars in 2010. A closer look at the composition
of these costs shows that feed makes up the largest share, followed by farm services, livestock and poultry.
Over the last decade, the issue of genetic engineering has increasingly been on the agenda. The United States has by far the highest acreage of genetically modified crops
worldwide. Some crops have a very high share of GM crops
per species. For example in 2011, 94 percent of all soybeans planted in the U.S. were genetically modified so as to be herbicide tolerant.
Photo: sxc.hu / kovik