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Study shows 29% of American jobs tied to food & agriculture

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On National Ag Day — March 22 — we celebrate the impact agriculture has on the world and setting up our industry for future generations . Today, 30 food and agriculture groups released the sixth annual Feeding the Economy report, a historic farm-to-fork economic analysis revealing how these sectors influence the local and broader United States economies. Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s study highlights how the industries remained resilient to provide Americans with jobs, economic opportunity and safe food.

The report can be found on the Feeding The Economy website.

The report’s findings show that 7 percent of the nation’s economy and 29 percent of American jobs are linked to the food and agriculture sectors, either directly or indirectly. Amidst 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.

In addition to providing insights on nationwide impact, the report breaks down the sectors’ impact by state and congressional districts. Key findings include:

  • Total Jobs:​ 43,464,211
  • Total Wages:​$2.30 trillion
  • Total Taxes:​ $718.15 billion
  • Exports:​ $182.91 billion
  • Total Food and Industry Economic Impact: $7.43 trillion

“Feeding the Economy, in concert with National Ag Day, celebrates the collective impact that everyone who grows, raises, harvests and processes U.S. agricultural products have on our economy. As they work to promote their states’ agricultural products for export around the globe, state commissioners, secretaries and directors of agriculture recognize that a thriving U.S. agricultural industry not only feeds our economy, but also nourishes the world,” said Ted McKinney, CEO of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture.

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.

“American agriculture is really the foundation of our lives and our economy,” said American Farm Bureau Federation Chief Economist Roger Cryan. “This study reveals the numbers, and maybe some of the spirit, of this one indispensable sector.”

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