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Agriculture: U.S. Statistics: About US Agriculture Statistics

Overviews the statistics in the Data Planet repository on agricultural production and operations in the United States.

About U.S. Agriculture Statistics

The Data Planet repository includes many indicators related to agricultural production and operations, as well as food consumption, in the United States, primarily sourced from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Statistics range from the counts of livestock and farms, to crop prices, crops planted and harvested, crop yield, and much, much more.

About the U.S. Department of Agriculture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) was created by the Agricultural Act of May 15, 1862, signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln. Key activities include:

  • expanding markets for agricultural products and support international economic development;
  • further developing alternative markets for agricultural products and activities;
  • providing financing needed to help expand job opportunities and improve housing, utilities, and infrastructure in rural America;
  • enhancing food safety by taking steps to reduce the prevalence of food-borne hazards;
  • improving nutrition and health by providing food assistance and nutrition education and promotion; and
  • managing and protecting America’s public and private lands working cooperatively with other levels of government and the private sector.

Major data statistical programs of USDA include the Economic Research Service, the Foreign Agricultural Service, the National Agricultural Statistics Service, and the World Agricultural Outlook Board.

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Datasets Relevant to U.S. Agriculture in Data Planet

So you're interested in data on agriculture in the United States, but which datasets should you set your sights on? Well, here's a list of relevant datasets, along with a short description of each. The hyperlinks will take you to a DataSheet created using statistics from the dataset described.

  • USDA Agricultural Census: Conducted since 1840, the Census of Agriculture conducted by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) of the USDA provides comprehensive data on the current situation, historical changes in U.S. agriculture, and long-term trends. The Census also collects information on the agricultural industry that is not gathered elsewhere in the annual survey programs conducted by the NASS, including data on areas such as agritourism, organic production, farmer demographics, specialized agricultural production, Internet access and more. Conducted every five years, the Census provides a detailed picture of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. Participation in the Census is required by law, and is the responsibility of every farmer and rancher, regardless of the size or type of operation. 
  • USDA Agricultural Surveys: In addition to to the Census of Agriculture conducted every five years, the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the USDA conducts hundreds of surveys during each calendar year of farm operations in the U.S. Included in the dataset are statistics related to animal and livestock and crop production, farm economics, and use of chemicals by farm operations. 
  • USDA Commodity Prices: Presents data on crop prices, by commodity and state. Prices received represent sales from producers to first buyers. They include all grades and qualities. The average commodity price from the survey multiplied by the total quantity marketed theoretically should give the total cash receipts for the commodity. Individual producers normally market commodities few times during the year.
  • USDA Farm Counts: The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) issues data on the number of farms and land in farms by state. 
  • USDA Food Environment Atlas: Focusing on the topic of food security, this dataset (with over 250+ indicators!) paints a picture of food choices, health and diet, as well as community characteristics within U.S. counties.
  • USDA Food Access Research Atlas: This dataset complements the other atlas, and as such, also focuses on food security—specifically access to food. The data available at the state and census tract levels.
  • USDA Per Capita Food Availability: The per capita food availability data compiled by the USDA Economic Research Service reflect the amount of food available for human consumption in the United States. This historical series measures the national food supply of several hundred foods, and it is the only source of time series data on U.S. food availability in the country. ERS's food availability data are often referred to as food disappearance data because the data represent the resulting food supply after food "disappears" into the food marketing system. Food availability data measure the use of basic commodities, such as wheat, beef, and shell eggs for food products at the farm level or an early stage of processing. They do not measure food use of highly processed foods.
  • USDA World Agricultural Production: As the name of this dataset suggests, data is available beyond the United States, which makes for an easy comparison across countries on various commodities. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics Import/Export Indexes includes trade data on U.S. exports and imports for agricultural commodities and products. Also explore datasets from the BEA and Census Bureau for data on employment in farms, food consumption expenditures, and much, much more. 

U.S. Agriculture Statistics: DataSheet Examples

Click on the links below to view sample DataSheets comprising statistical abstracts complete with infographics of indicators relevant to U.S. agriculture in Data Planet to further manipulate the data and explore relationships between agriculture metrics and other indicators in the vast Data Planet repository.

The examples below are just a sampling to give you an idea of the granularity of the available data. There are many more indicators on this topic in the repository—add search terms for commodities, states, counties, and more, or contact your library staff for help in formulating your search strategy.




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ATTN DATA PLANET SUBSCRIBERS: Be sure you are logged into your library's network in order to access the Data Planet database from the links provided in these guides.

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ATTN Library Administrators: Please feel free to re-use and customize Data Planet guides for your institution.

Sample DataSheet: Peach Production and Yield in Georgia

In this example, the DataSheet was generated by clicking on Create Link (DOI) (located on the right-hand side, below the chart display on Data Planet), then exported as a PDF.

Screen grab of a DataSheet exported as a PDF, featuring annual production and yield of peaches in the U.S. state of Georgia over the years.Screen page of the second page of the DataSheet exported as a PDF, featuring the annual production and yield of peaches in Georgia, this time showing the rest of the metadata.

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