This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.
With the abundance of news and information on the food and agriculture sector, sometimes it is helpful to take a step back and look at the big picture. You might be a seasoned expert on food, agriculture, or the rural economy, or you may have just a general knowledge. In any case, there are a number of key indicators that will bring you up to speed on a range of basic questions.
How much, for example, do agriculture and related industries contribute to the U.S. economy? Which commodities are our main agricultural exports? What share of their household incomes do Americans spend on food? How do job earnings in rural areas compare with metro areas? How much of our Nation’s water does agriculture consume?
In a new online product, USDA’s Economic Research Service tells the basic story in numbers. Ag and Food Statistics: Charting the Essentials assembles more than 75 charts and maps, each with accompanying text, and conveniently organized into nine topics. You’ll find statistics on agricultural markets and trade, farm income, food prices and consumption, food security, rural economies, agriculture’s interaction with natural resources, and its role in the general economy.
Whether you’re a researcher, public official, educator, student, or journalist, I think you’ll find the Essentials informative and useful – in presentations, reports, research, classrooms, and in other endeavors.
The Essentials are at www.ers.usda.gov/essentials.