Food & Farm Facts

SC Farm Facts 

Agribusiness is South Carolina's largest economic sector, contributing nearly $42 billion and over 200,000 jobs to the state's economy.

South Carolina's top ten commodities are broilers, turkeys, greenhouse nurseries, cotton, corn, cattle, soybeans, peanuts, eggs, and wheat.

There are nearly 25,000 farms in South Carolina amounting to nearly 5 million acres of farmland. Two-thirds of the land in the state is covered by forests.

National Farm Facts

2.1 million farms dot America’s rural landscape.

Farm and ranch families comprise just 2 percent of the U.S. population.

Ninety-nine percent of all U.S. farms are owned by individuals, family partnerships or family corporations.

1 in 5 farmers is a beginning farmer. The millennial generation (people aged 34 and under) includes 257,454 farmers. 

Farmers and ranchers receive only 15 cents out of every dollar spent on food at home and away from home. The rest goes for costs beyond the farm gate: wages and materials for production, processing, marketing, transportation and distribution. In 1980, farmers and ranchers received 31 cents.

Americans enjoy a food supply that is abundant, affordable overall and among the world’s safest, thanks in large part to the efficiency and productivity of America’s farm and ranch families.

One U.S. farm feeds 165 people annually in the U.S. and abroad. The global population is expected to increase to 9.7 billion by 2050, which means the world’s farmers will have to grow about 70 percent more food than what is now produced.

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Farming Technology 

Thanks to farming technology, we can produce golden rice that provides vitamin A to children who suffer from this vitamin deficiency in developing nations. 

Do you like blueberries? How about seedless red grapes? USDA scientists developed popular varieties of these fruits.

Biotechnology in plant agriculture has come to mean the process of intentionally making a copy of a gene for a desired trait from one plant or organism and using it in another plant. The result is a GMO (genetically modified organism).

There are currently nine crops commercially available from GMO seeds in the US: Alfalfa, Canola, Corn (field and sweet), Cotton, Papaya, Potatoes, Soybeans, Squash, Sugar Beets and Apples.

Before they reach the market, crops from GM seeds are studied extensively to make sure they are safe for people, animals and the environment. Today’s GM products are the most researched and tested agricultural products in history.

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