Why Is Agriculture Important? Benefits and Its Role
What Is Agriculture?
Why Is Agriculture Important?
Providing Raw Materials
Creating a Strong Supply Chain
Encouraging Economic Development
Resources on the Importance of Agriculture
- American Farm Bureau Federation, Fast Facts About Agriculture & Food: Provides various statistics demonstrating why agriculture is important.
- The Western Producer, “Suddenly Agriculture Is Important”: Highlights agriculture’s role as a stable commodity provider even amid disruption.
- LinkedIn, “What Is Agriculture and Its Importance?”: Discusses the importance of agriculture in 10 areas.
How Is Agriculture Important?
Fruits and Vegetables
Natural Rubber Production
Cotton for Clothing
Importance of Agriculture in Everyday Life
- Shelter. Wood and plant-based materials, such as bamboo, can be used for indoor décor and construction materials.
- Morning routine. Mint is often an ingredient in toothpaste, adding flavor while brushing your teeth, and the caffeine in coffee that keeps you awake is derived from the coffee bean.
- Dressing up. In addition to cotton, clothing can be manufactured from hemp, ramie, and flax. Bio-based materials can be used to produce grooming products such as skin creams and shampoos.
- Cleaning. Two types of chemicals used in detergents, cleaning products, and bath or hand soap — surfactants and solvents — can be produced from biomass.
- Driving to work. Plants make it possible to get to and from work. Think of rubber (sourced from rubber trees) and biodiesel fuel, which often includes ethanol (sourced from corn).
- Entertainment. Paper from trees enables you to write, and some musical instruments, such as reed instruments, require materials made from plants.
- Education. From pencils (still often made of wood) to paper textbooks, students rely on agricultural products every day.
How Does Agriculture Affect the Economy?
- Farm production. The latest USDA data on farming and farming income report the U.S. had a little over 2 million farms, encompassing 897 million acres, in 2020. Farm production includes producing fruits, vegetables, plants, and varieties of crops to meet demand for agricultural products throughout the country and abroad.
- Forestry and fishing activities. Agricultural activities include forestry and harvesting fish in water farms or in their natural habitat. Agroforestryis focused on “establishing, managing, using, and conserving forests, trees and associated resources in a sustainable manner to meet desired goals, needs, and values,” according to the USDA. A form of fishing activity known as aquaculture involves the production of fish and other sea animals under controlled conditions to provide food.
- Textile mills and products. The S. cotton industry produces $21 billion in products and services annually, according to the USDA. The industry has created various employment roles, such as growers, ginners, and buyers working on farms and in textile mills, cotton gins, offices, and warehouses.
- Apparel and food and beverage sales. Since agriculture is a business, selling products made from agricultural production is essential. A key aspect of the sales component in agriculture is to help growers build capacity and understand the market dynamics to meet the needs of customers, many of whom care deeply about Food services and eating and drinking places accounted for 10.5 million jobs in 2020, the largest share among all categories within the agriculture and food sectors, according to the USDA.
- Manufacturing. Agricultural products contribute to the manufacturing of a huge variety of goods, including food and beverage products, textiles, cleaning and personal products, construction materials, fuels, and more. According to the USDA, food and beverage manufacturing companies employ about 1.7 million people in the U.S.
Resources on the Economic Impact of Agriculture
- Economic Research Service, Farming and Farm Income: Provides an overview of trends in farming and economic development statistics.
- American Journal of Agricultural Economics, “The Importance of Agriculture in the Economy: Impacts from COVID-19”: Highlights why agriculture is important based on the impact of COVID-19’s disruptions to the sector.
- Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics, “Agriculture, Transportation, and the COVID-19 Crisis”: Discusses how transportation services that COVID-19 has disrupted can impact agricultural supply chains.
Importance of Agricultural Biodiversity
- Sustainable agriculture. Through sustainable agricultural practices, farmers and ranchers help ensure the profitability of their land while improving soil fertility, helping promote sound environmental practices, and minimizing environmental impacts through climate action.
- Climate change regulation. The agricultural sector produced about 10% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2019, according to the EPA. Regulation and policy changes can help promote sustainable practices in the sector and provide guidance on agricultural adaptation to address the challenges that climate change poses.
- Agriculture technology and innovation. From temperature- and moisture-sensing devices to GPS technologies for land surveys to robots, agriculture technology can result in higher crop yields, less chemical runoff, and lower impact on natural resources.
Agricultural Biodiversity Resources
- Our World in Data, “Environmental Impacts of Food Production”: Discusses how sustainable agriculture offers a path to addressing food and nutrition issues.
- IBM, “The Benefits of Sustainable Agriculture and How We Get There”: Addresses how artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics technologies help farmers maximize food production and minimize their environmental impact.
- S. Environmental Protection Agency, The Sources and Solutions: Agriculture: Explains how agriculture can contribute to reducing nutrient pollution.
- FoodPrint, Biodiversity and Agriculture: Provides answers to what it will take to preserve the health of the planet to safeguard our own food supply.
- Brookings, “What Is the Future of Work in Agri-Food?”: Discusses the future of agricultural automation and its impact on work.