Monday, September 17, 2012

USDA Study Highlights Latest Agricultural Trends by Jerry Hingle

The agricultural industry has changed greatly in recent years due to a variety of factors such as public policy, weather, and of course new technologies. The USDA completed a study to find out just what those changes are, and found trends along the way. 

Below are some key findings: 

"From 2004 to 2011, organic food sales more than doubled, from $11 billion to $25 billion, accounting for more than 3.5 percent of all food sales in 2011. In 2008, less than 1 percent of U.S. cropland, pastureland and rangeland were devoted to organic production. However, the percentages are higher for fruit and vegetable crops and for dairy production." 

"Corn, soybean and cotton growers have widely adopted genetically engineered herbicide-tolerant and insect-resistant seeds since 1996. Despite the higher cost for the genetically engineered seed, U.S. farmers are realizing the economic benefits from increased crop yields, lower pesticide costs and reduced management."

"In terms of 2010 dollars, real expenditures for and quantities of pesticide active ingredients declined by an average of 2.4 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively, per year during the years 1996-2007, even though expenditures and quantities applied increased from 2006 to 2007. However, herbicide use increased, with most of that attributed to glyphosate use on herbicide-tolerant crops." 

To learn more about some key findings, read the West Central Tribune's article here

Jerry Hingle
Executive Director
Southern United States Trade Association 

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