Ag and Food Sectors and the Economy
The U.S. agriculture sector extends beyond the farm business to include a range of farm-related industries. The largest of these are food service and food manufacturing. Americans' expenditures on food amount to 13 percent of household budgets on average. Among Federal Government outlays on farm and food programs, nutrition assistance far outpaces other programs.
Agriculture, food, and related industries contributed $1.109 trillion to the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019, a 5.2-percent share. The output of America’s farms contributed $136.1 billion of this sum—about 0.6 percent of GDP. The overall contribution of agriculture to GDP is actually larger than 0.6 percent because sectors related to agriculture rely on agricultural inputs in order to contribute added value to the economy. Sectors related to agriculture include: food and beverage manufacturing; food and beverage stores; food services and eating and drinking places; textiles, apparel, and leather products; and forestry and fishing.
In 2020, 19.7 million full- and part-time jobs were related to the agricultural and food sectors—10.3 percent of total U.S. employment. Direct on-farm employment accounted for about 2.6 million of these jobs, or 1.4 percent of U.S. employment. Employment in agriculture- and food-related industries supported another 17.1 million jobs. Of this, food service, eating and drinking places accounted for the largest share—10.5 million jobs—and food/beverage stores supported 3.3 million jobs. The remaining agriculture-related industries together added another 3.3 million jobs.