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Value-Added Ag Products Help Home Cooks and Bakers Experiment in the Kitchen

Posted by Suzanne Richards, Agricultural Statistician, Statistics Division, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service in Research and Science
Aug 20, 2020
Cheese is a versatile value-added ag product that can be used in a variety of dishes or served on its own. USDA Photo by Meredyth H. von Seelen

In recent months, people around the world have found new ways to spend time at home. Many Americans have picked up hobbies like arts and crafts, working out, and – of course – cooking and baking. You may not know that many popular recipes feature value-added products. A value-added product is one that has had a change in its original physical state or form – such as milling wheat into flour and making fruit into jam. The method of production (organic, for example) and the way it is marketed can also enhance value. According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, 33,523 farms produced value-added products in 2017, totaling $4.04 billion in sales.

Here are a few examples of fun and comforting dishes to prepare, along with the latest National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) commodity and value-added production data.

Banana bread

One of the most important value-added products for any baker is flour. The latest Flour Milling Products Report (PDF, 286 KB) shows that wheat ground for flour, not including Durum wheat, between April and June this year was 199.6 million bushels. Rye ground for flour during the second quarter this year was 333,000 bushels.

Chicken dishes

Chicken is a versatile option for home chefs that can be baked, fried, stuffed, grilled, and more. Sales of organic chicken have grown steadily in recent years. According to the most recent Certified Organic Survey (PDF, 7 MB), U.S. farms and ranches sold $750 million worth of organic broiler chickens in 2016, a 78% increase over the previous year. For more organic agriculture data, look out for the results of the 2019 Organic Survey, which will be released on the NASS website on October 22, 2020.


There are few foods more comforting than a big slice of lasagna topped with gooey, bubbling cheese – another value-added product. The most recent Dairy Products Report (PDF, 553 KB) showed that total cheese output was 1.1 billion pounds in June 2020. Italian type cheeses, which are typically used in traditional lasagna recipes, totaled 475 million pounds.

Americans’ fondness for baking and cooking reminds us of the important role agriculture and value-added products play in our lives. For more U.S. agriculture statistics, visit

Category/Topic: Research and Science