NC State UniversityCollege of Agriculture & Life Sciences
Agriculture's Economic Impact

Twenty two million American workers produce, process, sell and trade the nation's food and fiber. But only 4.6 million of those people live on the farms-- slightly less than 2 percent of the total U.S. Population.

Consumers spend $547 billion for food originating on U.S. farms and ranches. Of each dollar spent on food, the farmer's share is approximately 23 cents. The rest are for costs beyond the farm gate: wages and materials for production, processing, marketing, transportation and distribution.

On average, every hour, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, around $6 million in U.S. agricultural products--grains, oilseeds, cotton, meats, vegetables, snack foods, etc., will be consigned for shipment for export to foreign markets.

It all means more jobs and higher wages across the nation. U.S. agricultural exports generate more than $100 billion annually in business activity throughout the U.S. economy and provide jobs for nearly 1 million workers.

Agricultural land provides habitat for 75 percent of the nation's wildlife. Deer, moose, waterfowl and other species have shown significant population increases during the past several years.

Ethanol and new bio-diesel fuels made from corn and other grains are beneficial to the environment and promote energy security.