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New and Beginning Farmers: The Future of American Agriculture

A snapshot of the next generation of young men and women realizing their dreams of becoming full- or part-time farmers reveals challenging opportunities. Some young farmers, like Hank Huffman – a 25-year-old farmer from rural eastern North Carolina – have gleaned great experiences from the generations of farmers before them. Hank, bolstered by the experience and wisdom imparted to him by his father, grandfather, and great grandfather, is now making his mark on the field of agriculture. He is a fourth-generation farmer growing corn and soybeans, and producing poultry and cattle on 130 acres. Born and bred on the pride and encouragement of the Future Farmers of America, better known as the National FFA Organization, he is living his “American Dream.”

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

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.

Wrapping up Picnic Month

Summer is in full swing and, for many, that means it's time for a picnic. Whether you stay in your backyard or head to your favorite lookout spot, a picnic is always a good idea. If you didn’t feast outdoors in July during National Picnic Month, there’s still time to enjoy a great meal with nice weather and peaceful scenery.

Data Say…Dairy Has Changed

When I was younger, I loved to watch a cartoon on TV called ‘The Jetsons,’ which showed life in a future world. People had flying, self-driven “cars” and robotic housekeepers. As a kid who loved her meat and potatoes, I distinctly remember one scene in which Judy Jetson served a steak dinner by getting a pill from a vending-type machine. Her father, George Jetson, savored the two small bites filled with flavor and nutrition. This meal satisfied him completely. I couldn’t then imagine that futuristic dinner scene being a reality, and I still don’t. But technology, science, and marketing have changed the way we produce our food and have altered the structure of farming. Data tell us so. Let’s look at milk as an example.

Every Day is Earth Day for Ag Producers

After a trip to Colorado’s Pikes Peak in 1893, Katharine Lee Bates wrote the lyrics to “America the Beautiful.” The memorable words paint a sensory-rich picture of “amber waves” and “fruited plains” that celebrate our land and the true wealth of any nation – agriculture. Today, according to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, the United States has more than 900 million acres of land in farms; that’s 40% of all U.S. land. And we rely on the 3.4 million producers, around 1% of our population, to manage that land and provide food, feed, fiber and fuel for our nation and the world.

Hawaii’s Crown Jewels of U.S. Agriculture

Without a doubt, Hawaii is an influencer’s paradise when it comes to spurring creativity for storytellers, brands, and entertainment on social media platforms of all kinds. But are these “influencers in the wild” missing out on the crowning jewel of U.S. agriculture? Maybe not, but there is a wellspring of inspirational agriculture growing in Hawaii.

NASS Builds Its Future on 150-Year Foundation of Agricultural Statistics

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is well known for being the gold standard for U.S. agricultural data that can help you in your work. We are proud of our reputation for providing useful, accurate data in service to U.S. agriculture for more than 150 years. When extension agents or farm associations write grants to advance agricultural research, they turn to NASS data. When farmers and ranchers want to compare their operation to others or gather unbiased information for marketing decisions, they can turn to NASS data. And when local governments and ag associations are looking to tout the importance of agriculture in their county or state, they turn to NASS data.

Agriculture Grows in the Land of the Midnight Sun

The 2017 Census of Agriculture showed farming in Alaska is thriving and growing across many different sectors. Alaska saw increases in the number of farms with cut flowers, hogs, layers, vegetables, bees and honey, bedding plants, food crops grown under cover and more.

Cheese and So Much More: Ag Census Data Show Multi-Faceted Wisconsin Farm Economy

Wisconsin (PDF, 941 KB) is known as America’s Dairyland; however, the 2017 Census of Agriculture data show us that Wisconsin has a diverse agricultural industry. It’s no surprise Wisconsin ranks number one in cheese production, but did you know it also ranks number one in corn for silage, cranberry, and snap bean production?