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Farmers with Military Service are Unsung Heroes of American Ag

Posted by Alexandra Nseir, USDA NASS Public Affairs Specialist in Research and Science
May 01, 2023
USDA Science text overlay with a man riding a tractor with dogs in front of him beside a row of United States flags on a fence in the woods

Members of the United States Armed Forces sacrifice so much to keep us safe and protect our country. Every May Americans recognize their efforts and express gratitude during Military Appreciation Month. At USDA, we also celebrate the contributions that our Military members have made to agriculture and farming.

In 2017, for the first time the Census of Agriculture, conducted by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), collected information about agricultural producers who served or are currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

The resulting data showed that 370,619 producers – 11% of the country’s 3.4 million producers – had military service. These producers accounted for 129,144,965 acres and $41 billion in agriculture sales.

Farms operated by producers with military service accounted for 11% of total U.S. agriculture sales, with 53% ($22 billion) in crop sales and 47% ($19 billion) in sales of livestock and livestock products. The ag census also found that 17% of all farms had a producer who served or is serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

The 2022 Census of Agriculture, currently underway, will provide updated information on military producers, which they can use when making decisions about their operations.

Collecting data on producers with military service is critical to providing needed programs and services. For example, USDA offers programs that benefit veterans who want to transition to agriculture, or start or expand a rural business. USDA is committed to ensuring service members have the tools they need to grow and thrive in agriculture.

It’s not too late for all producers to respond to the 2022 ag census. Options for response are online at or by mail. To learn more about the Census of Agriculture, visit

Category/Topic: Research and Science