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agricultural markets

The Essentials of Food and Agriculture - in Charts and Maps

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

With the abundance of news and information on the food and agriculture sector, sometimes it is helpful to take a step back and look at the big picture. You might be a seasoned expert on food, agriculture, or the rural economy, or you may have just a general knowledge. In any case, there are a number of key indicators that will bring you up to speed on a range of basic questions.

How much, for example, do agriculture and related industries contribute to the U.S. economy? Which commodities are our main agricultural exports? What share of their household incomes do Americans spend on food? How do job earnings in rural areas compare with metro areas? How much of our Nation’s water does agriculture consume?

Secretary's Column: Healthy Markets for American Agriculture

Healthy markets play a critical role in the strength of American agriculture. To help maintain strong, transparent markets USDA gathers and provides up-to-the-minute information from around the country on price, supply, demand and movement.

That way, farmers and ranchers – no matter how big or small – can operate on a level playing field and take a look at the same information as they evaluate market conditions, make purchasing and selling decisions, monitor price patterns, and work to identify market opportunities and project future trends.

USDA started reporting on markets for agricultural products nearly 100 years ago. Today, our employees around the country are building relationships with sellers and buyers, verifying and analyzing prices and releasing reports to help ensure that agricultural markets run smoothly.