Land and Natural Resources
U.S. agricultural production relies heavily on the Nation’s land, water, and other natural resources, and has a direct impact on the quality of the Nation’s natural environment. Over the years, significant improvement in the sector’s productive use of resources has reduced the amount of land and water needed per unit of output, and concerted public and private efforts have greatly improved the sector’s environmental performance. These charts document several aspects of these trends.
Agriculture accounted for an estimated 10 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2017. In agriculture, crop and livestock activities are important sources of nitrous oxide and methane emissions, notably from fertilizer application, enteric fermentation (a normal digestive process in animals that produces methane), and manure storage and management. GHG emissions from agriculture have increased by approximately 9 percent since 1990. Total U.S. GHG emissions in 2017 were 1.3 percent higher than they were in 1990.