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New report highlights ag’s place in the U.S. economy

New report highlights ag’s place in the U.S. economy

Ag is responsible for about $3 trillion in output, Feeding the Economy says

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

A new report is highlighting U.S. agriculture’s influence on the national and local economies.

Thirty industry groups worked together to release the sixth annual Feeding the Economy report.

“It’s an effort to demonstrate to anyone who needs to know what the economic impact of agriculture is,” Dr. Roger Cryan, chief economist with the American Farm Bureau Federation, told “It’s a huge part of the economy.”

The report can be viewed at a national, state and congressional district level to give a better understanding of how agriculture fits into communities.

In Iowa, for example, agriculture’s economic impact in the state includes more than 800,000 jobs, almost $52 billion in wages and $6.6 billion in exports.

And in the state’s fourth congressional district, which includes Sioux City, Ames, Mason City and Fort Dodge, ag’s economic impact is 230,640 jobs and $14.9 billion in wages.

Among the report’s national highlights are:

  • Food and ag contributed a total of $3.01 trillion to the U.S. economy in 2021. (For context, India’s total GDP in 2021 was about $2.9 trillion).
  • 7 per cent of the nation’s economy and 29 percent of American jobs (or about 21.5 millioj jobs) are linked to food and agriculture.
  • The food and ag sectors account for about $183 billion in exports.
  • The sectors pay about $819 billion in wages.

Despite these impressive figures, agriculture is taken for granted in the U.S.

People are multiple generations removed from the farm and may not appreciate how farms work or what they provide, Cryan said.

“There’s no denying that everything we do is built around agriculture and there’s no other way to feed people,” he said. “We have lunch dates, movies dates and breakfast in bed, and all of that comes from agriculture.”

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