Real Facts

Farm Policy Facts

  • 21 million Americans produce, process and sell food and fiber.
  • U.S. farms and ranches spent $329 billion to produce $388 billion in goods in 2012.
  • America exported $136 billion in farm goods in 2011, with a $37 billion trade surplus.
  • Americans spend 10% of their incomes on food – the lowest of any country.
  • Spending on farm policy including crop insurance was down 20% over the past five years.
  • These policies account for only 16% of Farm Bill funding (nutrition programs are 78%).
  • Traditional farm supports cost Americans just 2 pennies per meal, and account for less than one quarter of 1% of the federal budget.
  • If farm policy including crop insurance were eliminated today, it would take 100 years to offset the 2012 federal budget deficit alone.
  • The world population will grow from 7 billion to 9 billion by 2050.
  • Farmers will need to double food production by 2050 to keep pace.
  • To do the job, there’s a “thin green line” of only 210,000 full-time U.S. farms, which produce 80% of our food and fiber.
  • These aren’t corporate farms.  Virtually all are family enterprises braving exceptional risks and tight margins.
  • For every $1 spent on food, farmers receive less than 12 cents for the raw products.
  • Farm Policy Facts Pocket Guide
    Folding instructions: Place document face up. Fold lower half up and under top half. Next, fold outside panels under two middle panels. Finally, close like a book so that the Farm Policy Facts logo and information appears on the front cover and the pie graph appears on the back cover.

Useful Quotes

  • “Our farmers deserve praise, not condemnation; and their efficiency should be cause for gratitude, not something for which they are penalized.” – President John F. Kennedy
  • “Cultivators are the most valuable citizens…they are tied to their country.” – President Thomas Jefferson
  • “In no other country do so few people produce so much food, to feed so many, at such reasonable prices.” – President Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • “Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.” – President Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • “It will not be doubted that with reference either to individual or national welfare, agriculture is of primary importance…” – President George Washington
  • “The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale, and pays the freight both ways.” – President John F. Kennedy
  • “I know of no pursuit in which more real and important services can be rendered to any country than by improving its agriculture, its breed of useful animals, and other branches of a husbandman’s cares.”- President George Washington
  • “Agriculture…is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness.” – President Thomas Jefferson
  • “…no other human occupation opens so wide a field for the profitable and agreeable combination of labor with cultivated thought, as agriculture.” – President Abraham Lincoln
  • “Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic; but destroy our farms and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country.” – William Jennings Bryan
  • “Whoever makes two ears of corn, or two blades of grass to grow where only one grew before, deserves better of mankind, and does more essential service to his country than the whole race of politicians put together.” – Jonathan Swift
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