Farming In The USA – Questions, and Answers (FAQs)

Introduction to Farming in the USA and FAQs: Hello friends, we are here with a new topic called “Agriculture/Farming in the USA, Frequently Asked Questions“. The agriculture sector is a major industry in the USA, which is a net exporter of food. Agriculture is the method of producing food and other products by growing plants and raising animals. Farming in the USA is the most efficient and productive system. America’s farmers and ranchers make an important contribution to the USA economy by ensuring reliable food supply and supporting job growth and economic development. Agriculture is important to the economies of small towns and rural areas, where farming supports many sectors, from farm machinery manufacturers to food processing companies. Increasing agricultural productivity and access to world markets will be critical to the industry’s continued success. About 95% of the world’s potential consumers live outside of the United States, and population growth in the decades ahead will be concentrated in developing countries. As these countries grow and their citizens’ incomes rise, their demand for meat, dairy, and other types of agricultural products will increase.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Agriculture/ Farming in the USA, Frequently Asked Questions

USA agricultural exporters often confront barriers imposed by countries that keep U.S. products from reaching their target markets. Small and beginning farmers, ranchers, and processors can face added burdens in navigating the complexities involved in exporting their products. America’s deteriorating transportation infrastructure and uncertainty regarding the agricultural workforce because of unsettled immigration policy add to the challenges facing some agricultural exporters. Addressing these challenges will benefit the U.S. agriculture sector and the economy overall.

Commercial fishing has declined significantly in the USA over the past 30 years. The majority of U.S. fish farming is used domestically, and about half is for human consumption. There is a wide variety of fish species caught, including cod, haddock, Pollock, tuna, and salmon. Commercial fish farms are increasingly common and used for some species such as salmon, catfish, and shrimp. USDA works every day to strengthen the American agricultural economy.

Agriculture in the United States is mainly governed by periodically renewed U.S. farm bills. Governance is both a federal and a local responsibility with the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) being the federal department responsible. Government aid includes research into several crops and regional suitability as well as many kinds of subsidies, some price supports, and loan programs.

Sustainable Agriculture in the USA

In response to the issues in the industrial agriculture sector, many farmers are adopting more sustainable techniques. The sustainable agriculture sector incorporates environmental, animal, and farmworker well-being into a profitable business model. It uses methods that improve soil health, minimize the usage of water, and reduce pollution levels. It is known as sustainable because it doesn’t degrade the natural resources needed for future farming.

The conventional estimate is that 80% of the water used in California flows into the state’s multi-billion-dollar agricultural sector. But it goes way beyond water. As in California, the agriculture sector in the United States is dominated by large, specialized crop and animal farms that focus on short-term productivity, at the cost of creating other environmental problems. Sustainable farming returns to traditional methods like crop rotation. It mainly avoids monoculture crops. Sustainable agriculture relies on renewable energy and organic farming systems. Then, this reduces the burning of fossil fuels that contribute to the greenhouse gases that cause global warming. A higher global temperature has caused climate conditions to change.

Major Crops in the United States

Corn, Wheat, Soybeans, Cotton, and Hay are major crops and account for about 90% of harvested acreage in the United States. Corn, wheat, and soybeans are mainly grown for both animal feed and human consumption. Cotton is used to make clothing and other types of products. Hay is grass or other plants like alfalfa or clover that are dried and used for animal feed. The largest United States crop in terms of total production is corn, the majority of which is grown in a region such as the Corn Belt. The 2nd largest crop grown in the United States is soybeans. As with corn, soybeans are mainly grown in the Midwestern states. The 3rd largest crop grown in the United States is wheat.

Dairy Farming in the United States

Dairy Farming in the USA
Dairy Cows (Pic source: pixabay)

California, Wisconsin, New York, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota are the major dairy farming states in the USA. In developed countries, dairy farms consist of high-producing dairy cows. Other farm species used in commercial dairy farming are goats, sheep, and camels. The number of dairy farms is decreasing, but the dairy farm size is increasing in the USA. With the help of special feeds and breeding programs, dairy farmers continue to get more milk per cow.

Poultry and Meat Production in the USA

The largest part of the agricultural economy in the USA is poultry and meat production, with annual sales estimated at around 100 billion dollars. The average American eats around 235 pounds or 107kg of meat a year.

Poultry Farming In the USA
Poultry (Image credit: pixabay)

Usually, half of U.S. agriculture revenue is from meat production. Most of this is cattle, dairy, poultry, and eggs. Also, a smaller proportion is available for rabbits, sheep, goats, and ostriches. The United States is the world’s largest beef producer and large farms with 100 or more head of cattle produce 56% of all beef cows. Then, the cattle forage on grasslands before they are shipped to grain feedlots for the last 90 to 300 days. Enormous feedlots with about 32,000 head of capacity finish about 40% of U.S. cattle. Also, the United States is the world’s largest poultry producer. Almost 18% is exported. The United States is the world’s 2nd largest pork producer and the second-largest pork exporter and importer.

Organic Farming in the United States

Organic farming is the method without the use of synthetic chemicals, many of which can be found in the pesticides and fertilizers used in conventional farming. Initially, organically grown products can be found only in small health food stores. Because demand has risen over the years, today most organically produced products are sold in supermarkets. Now, state or private inspectors certify organic crops thus ensuring that “organic” food is grown based on organic farming principles. Some of the principles used in organic farming are biodiversity; natural means of no synthetic chemicals, plant nutrition, and natural pest management. Organic sales account for over 4% of total USA food sales. Certified organic acreage and livestock have been expanding in the USA for many years, particularly for fruits, vegetables, dairy, and poultry.

Promoting Export Opportunities for Framing in the USA

Overseas markets offer tremendous growth opportunities for small and beginning farmers, ranchers, and some agricultural processors. Then, these individuals and businesses face particular challenges in exporting their products. They could not be able to finance losses of a shipment at the border if a country imposes trade barriers, and they are more likely to lack the resources to identify and address such barriers. Also, small farmers and food producers face many of the same challenges that small businesses in other industries face in exporting. For example, compared with larger businesses, they could have limited knowledge of foreign markets or technical expertise regarding export procedures.

Exporting is very important for agriculture since growth in demand for agricultural products in the coming decades is expected to come largely from developing countries. Agriculture in the U.S. has been successful in exporting its products, even as other industries have struggled in the global market.

Some Facts about Farming in the USA

  • There are nearly 2.1 million farms across the USA.
  • Usually, the average American farm is 435 acres.
  • There are about 914 million acres of land available for farming in the USA.
  • About 30% of farmers are women.
  • About 1% of the U.S. gross domestic product comes from farming.
  • Cattle and calves, dairy, and corn products are the top farm products in the USA.
  • Locally about 8% of U.S. farms market foods through direct-to-consumer or intermediated sales.
  • Agriculture employs over 24 million Americans.
  • About 34 million cows are slaughtered in the USA each year.
  • Approximately, the USA has over 800,000 ranchers and cattle producers.
  • Idaho is ranked first for potato production in the USA.
  • Alaska accounts for over 60% of the commercial seafood industry in the USA.
  • California is the largest food and agricultural economy in the USA.
  • In Arizona, enough cotton is produced each year.
  • Arkansas’ largest industry is agriculture.
  • Approximately 65% of mushrooms in the USA come from Pennsylvania.
  • Washington produces over half of all apples in the USA.
  • Cattle and calves, corn, and soybeans are the top U.S. farm products.
  • About 11% of farmers in the USA are serving or have served in the military.

Common Farm Types in the USA

Generally, farm type is based on which commodities are the majority of crops produced on a farm. Common types mainly include;

  • Cash grains include corn, soybeans, and other grains (wheat, oats, barley, and sorghum), dry edible beans, peas, and rice.
  • Tobacco
  • Cotton
  • Some important field crops such as Peanuts, Potatoes, Sunflowers, Sweet Potatoes, Sugarcane, Popcorn, Sugar Beets, Broomcorn, Mint, Seed Crops, Hay, Silage, Forage, etc. Tobacco and cotton can also be included if not in their separate category.
  • High-value crops include fruits, vegetables, melons, tree nuts, greenhouse, nursery crops, and horticultural crops.
  • Cattle
  • Hogs
  • Dairy
  • Poultry and eggs

Important Crops in the USA

Corn – It is the most widely produced feed grain in the USA, the majority of which goes towards feeding livestock. Also, Corn is cultivated for feed, food products, industrial products, and beverage products such as cereal, alcohol, and sweeteners over 90 million acres.

In case if you miss this: How To Grow Organic Pears.

Corn Farming in the USA
Corn Field (pic credit: pixabay)

Cotton – The U.S. is the world’s 3rd largest producer of cotton, one of the most important textile fabrics. The U.S. is the world’s leading exporter of cotton and generates over 125,000 jobs.

Fruit – Many different fruits are grown in the U.S., which includes Apples, Berries, Citrus, and Melons.

Tree Nuts – Tree nuts like Almonds, Pecan, Walnuts, Hazelnuts, and Pistachios are grown in many different places in the U.S. Along with the fruit industry, the tree nut industry makes up 13% of the total receipts for all agricultural commodities and 7% for all crops.

Rice – Rice is produced exclusively in the southern U.S. and California with 3 different types of rice grown, they are short-, medium-, and long-grain. Though, the U.S. exports around half of its rice sales volume to global markets.

Soybean and Oil Crops – The USA is the leading soybean producer and exporter in the world. Soybeans account for about 90% of USA oilseed production. Also, produce other oilseeds such as peanuts, sunflower seeds, canola, and flax.

Sugar and Sweeteners – The U.S. is both one of the world’s largest producers of sugar and other sweeteners and also one of the greatest consumers.

Vegetables – The vegetable sector is divided into two types. They are mainly vegetables grown for processing and those grown for fresh market sales. Upper Midwestern states like Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan and some Pacific states like California, Washington, and Oregon grow the most acreage of vegetables for processing. The most acreage-growing vegetables for the fresh market are Florida, California, Arizona, Georgia, and New York.

Pulses – These include beans, peas, legumes, and peanuts. Along with the vegetable industry, pulses account for approximately 14% of U.S. cash crop receipts.

Wheat – Wheat is the 3rd largest field crop in the USA both in acreage and gross farm receipts. About half of the USA’s wheat production is exported.

You may also check this: Vegetable Gardening Tips.

Wheat Farming in the USA
Wheatfield (pic source: pixabay)

Frequently Asked Questions about Farming in the USA

What are the different types of farming done in the USA?

Some common types of farming include Corn, Soybeans, and other grains like Wheat, Oats, Barley, Sorghum, Dry Edible Beans, Vegetables, Fruits, Tobacco, Cotton, Cattle, Hogs, Dairy, Poultry, etc.

Why does the US government subsidize agriculture?

Usually, subsidies protect the nation’s food supply. Farms are mainly susceptible to pathogens, diseases, and weather. Subsidies help farmers weather commodities’ price changes and farmers rely on loans, making their business a bit of a gamble.

How does U.S. agricultural policy address agricultural environmental issues?

Generally, U.S. agricultural-environmental policy addresses a wide range of environmental concerns that include soil quality, water quality, wildlife habitat, and air quality. The USA relies heavily on financial and technical assistance from agricultural producers who agree to adopt practices designed to improve their environmental performance. Financial and technical assistance support conservation activities including land retirement, conservation practices on land in production for example conservation tillage, nutrient management, or rotational grazing, protection of wetlands and grasslands, and productive farmland preservation at risk of residential or commercial growth.

Some key programs include the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), and the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). Also, Conservation Compliance ties conservation efforts to participation in other agricultural programs. Under Conservation Compliance, farmers should apply an approved soil conservation system on highly erodible cropland and refrain from draining wetlands to maintain eligibility for a wide range of agriculture-related advantages, including farm income support and crop insurance premium subsidies.

How much of the United States is agriculture?

About 40% of the USA’s land is used for agriculture of some form, including livestock grazing. This mainly includes 431.1 million acres of cropland, 71.5 million acres of forests, and 396.9 million acres of pasture.

What goats are native to America?

The mountain goat (Oreamnos americanus) is a hoofed mammal endemic to North America and it is also known as the Rocky Mountain goat.

What state produces the most goat milk in the USA?

Wisconsin, California, and Iowa had the largest inventories of milk goats in the USA. Also, these same states had the highest combined sheep and goat milk sales, accounting for 39% of the U.S. total.

What is the largest dairy in the US?

California was the leading U.S. state in terms of the overall number of milk cow breeds, with a total of approximately 1.7 million milk cows. The total number of milk cow breeds on farms in the United States shows that California holds a significant share of the total number of milk cows in the country.

What are the major dairy cattle breeds in the US?

In the USA, there are different dairy cow breeds are available. The main dairy cattle breeds are Holstein, Jersey, Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Ayrshire, Milking Shorthorn, and Red and White Holstein.

How much US agriculture comes from California?

California accounts for approximately 13.5% of agricultural cash receipts in the United States.

Which state is best for agriculture in the USA?

The top agricultural-producing States in the USA in terms of cash receipts were California, Iowa, Nebraska, Texas, Minnesota, Illinois, Kansas, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Indiana.

Why is US agriculture so successful?

Most of the success of U.S. farmers and ranchers can be attributed to Total Factor Productivity (TFP) development generated by the widespread adoption and efficient use of seed technologies, precision mechanization, and best practices for soil health, nutrient management, and animal health.

What is America’s first cash crop?

The biggest cash crops in the USA are corn and soybeans; which bring in about 50 billion dollars each. The first cash crop that helped America’s economy produce was tobacco.

How many dairy breeds are in the USA?

According to the PDCA (Purebred Dairy Cattle Association), there are 7 major dairy breeds in the United States. The major dairy breeds in the USA are Holstein, Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Ayrshire, Jersey, Red and White, and Milking Shorthorn.

Is poultry farming profitable in the USA?

Poultry is defined as a group of birds that are kept or hunted for useful purposes. Poultry is mainly used for food. Poultry farming is used to produce eggs or meat. The poultry farming business is one of the most profitable farming businesses many people have and one of the riskiest you can think of.

How much does it cost to start a small-scale poultry farm in the USA?

The cost to start a poultry farm in the USA is between 5,000 and 25,000 dollars to begin a small-scale poultry business. And this includes the costs of employees’ salaries for the first 3 months of operation.

What is the biggest chicken farm in the USA?

Tyson Foods Inc. is the largest chicken company in the USA and one of the largest food companies in the world.

How many chicken breeds are in the US?

The American Poultry Association recognizes approximately 53 large chicken breeds, plus additional bantam chicken breeds some of which have large counterparts, while others do not.

Which poultry breed is most popular in the USA?

Plymouth Rock poultry breed is most popular in the USA. Due to its good size, and egg-producing capacity, Plymouth Rock is the most popular poultry breed in America.

What state raises the most sheep?

In the USA, Texas is the largest sheep-producing State, followed by California.

How many sheep breeds are in the USA?

The American Sheep Industry Association recognizes approximately 47 different sheep breeds available in the United States. These sheep breeds are classified into six different breed types meat, fine wool, long wool, dual-purpose, hair, and minor breeds.

What is the common sheep breed in the USA?

Rambouillet sheep are the most popular commercial sheep in the USA.

What vegetables are grown in the USA?

In terms of acreage, the largest fresh market vegetable crops are Potatoes, Lettuce, Sweet Corn, Watermelon, and Tomatoes. Potatoes, sweet corn, and tomatoes are also among the top processing crops in the USA, along with snap beans and green peas.

What are the top vegetable-producing states in the USA?

California ranked first in both vegetable categories like the fresh market (870,274 acres) and processing (300,299 acres). In the USA, Florida, and Idaho followed in fresh market vegetables, and Washington and Wisconsin followed in processing vegetables.

Where are vegetables grown in the US?

The vegetable-growing states in the USA are California, Washington, Idaho, Wisconsin, and Florida. Wyoming has only 952 acres in vegetable production compared to 1.2 million acres in California.

What fruits are grown in the USA?

Some important fruit crops grown in the USA are Bananas, Apples, Strawberries, Grapes, Oranges, Watermelon, Lemon, and avocados.

What fruit is grown mostly in the USA based on production quantity?

Grapes were the leading fruit in the USA based on production quantity.

Where does the USA get most of its food?

The top partner countries from which the USA imports food products include Canada, Mexico, France, Italy, and Singapore.

Do the US import food from China?

Usually, the U.S. imported agricultural products from China. The top U.S. import commodities from China are fruits and vegetables like fresh/processed, snack food, spices, and tea. The combined above agricultural products account for nearly one-half of the total U.S. agricultural imports from China.

Where are the most organic farms in the US?

The results indicate that California had the largest number of certified organic farms in the USA.

What percent of US agriculture is organic?

More than half means 56% of the farms in the USDA survey grow only organic products, while the rest have some mix of organic and conventional crops and livestock. Some 1,460 farms say organic accounts for less than 25% of their sales.

What percent of US farms are organic?

Almost 2.2 million hectares in North America are managed organically, representing approximately a 0.6% share of the total agricultural area. There are 12,064 organic farms.

What are the largest farms in the United States?

Wyoming has the largest farms in the United States followed by Montana and New Mexico. Only, Wyoming and Montana are the 2 states in the USA with an average farm size of over 2,000 acres.

Is fish farming profitable in the USA?

Yes, Fish farming can be a profitable business if the fish farmer has the right natural resources, good management abilities, and sufficient capital available for investment in the business.

Which US state has the most profitable agriculture?

California is the first rank in the USA for agricultural cash receipts followed by Iowa, Texas, Nebraska, and Illinois.

What percentage of US farmland is irrigated?

About 80% of all land in orchards, berries, and vegetables is irrigated in the USA.

What fish are farmed in the US?

There are 5 principal aquaculture fish species in the U.S. catfish, trout, salmon, tilapia, and hybrid striped bass, and two categories of non-food fish production (baitfish and ornamental fish).

How can I start fish farming in the USA?

Start a fish farm by following some important steps;

  • Plan your business
  • Form a legal entity
  • Register for taxes
  • Open a business bank account
  • Set up business accounting
  • Obtain necessary permits and licenses
  • Get business insurance
  • Define your brand

Where does the US get most of its fish species?

Usually, the USA imports seafood from China, Thailand, Canada, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Ecuador. Top imports (by volume) are freshwater fish, tuna, salmon, groundfish, crab, and squid.

Where are sheep raised in the US?

Most sheep and lambs were raised in Texas. In the United States, approximately 25% of the sheep and lambs are in Texas and California.

Is goat farming profitable in the USA?

The goat farming business is profitable in the USA. There is a higher demand for goat meat in the USA also called chevon, than there is a supply.

What are the three main types of goat breeds in the United States?

There are three basic types of goats that are meat goats, dairy goats, and fiber goats. Meat and dairy Goats are the two most popular types.

Why are soils so important to US agriculture?

Soil is an important part of successful agriculture and is the source of the nutrients that we use to produce crops.

What are the six common breeds of goats raised in the United States?

There are 14 common goat breeds in America; Alpine, LaMancha, Nubian, Oberhasli, Saanen, Sable, Toggenburg, Nigerian Dwarf, Boer, and Myotonic (2 types), Angora, Crossbred, and Pygmy.

What type of agriculture does the US have?

Usually, the Central Valley of California produces fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Historically, the American South has been a large producer of Cotton, Tobacco, and Rice, but it has declined in agricultural production over the past century.


If you plan to start farming in the United States, this article surely will help you to understand agricultural farming practices.


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