Feeding the Economy Report released
By: Sydney Sheffield
On National Agriculture Day, the Feeding the Economy report was released by 30 food and agriculture groups, highlighting the impact of the sector on the U.S. economy. This year’s study highlights how the industries remained resilient to provide Americans with jobs, economic opportunities, and safe food during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To measure the total economic impact of the sectors, the analysis also includes the direct and indirect economic activity surrounding these industries, capturing both upstream and downstream activity. For example, when a farm equipment retailer hires new employees because farmers are buying more tractors, experts consider the new salaries an indirect impact. Similarly, when a retail associate spends her paycheck, an induced economic impact occurs. Together, these have a multiplier effect on the already formidable direct impact of food and agriculture.
According to the report, 7% of the nation’s economy and 29% of American jobs are linked to the food and agriculture sectors, either directly or indirectly. During the global supply chain and inflation crises, these sectors also exported $182.91 billion worth of goods, helping the U.S. maintain its position as a leading player in global agriculture. In 2021 these sectors contributed a total of $3.01 trillion to the U.S. economy. Other findings included total jobs: 43,464,211; total wages: $2.3 trillion; total taxes: $718.15 billion; and exports: $182.91 billion.
In 2021, President Joe Biden proclaimed March 22nd as National Agriculture Day, recognizing the importance of the sector to the U.S. economy. “On National Agriculture Day, we recognize the unique and irreplaceable value that farmers, ranchers, foresters, farmworkers, and other agricultural stewards have contributed to our Nation’s past and present,” The White House press release said. “America’s agriculture sector safeguards our Nation’s lands through sustainable management; ensures the health and safety of animals, plants, and people; provides a safe and abundant food supply; and facilitates opportunities for prosperity and economic development in rural America.”
The study was sponsored by several animal agriculture organizations, such as the National Milk producers Federation, the North American Meat Institute, and the American Farm Bureau Federation. Check out the interactive map on the Feeding the Economy webpage to see the economic impact of food and agriculture down to each congressional region.“A whole bunch of people have done a tremendous amount of work to get that food so that you can go sit down and order that meal at the restaurant,” Ron Gibson, president of the Utah Farm Bureau and a sixth-generation dairy farmer said. “And that’s how the agricultural economy turns over and over and over and over. And there’s not very many industries that do that like agriculture does.”