Crop Production

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 967,000 crop farms in the US produce more than 421 million acres of commercial-scale grains, sugar, fruits, nuts, vegetables, and ornamental crops. The establishments that produce these are generally considered farms but, depending on the commodity produced, may be more specifically known as orchards, groves, greenhouses, and nurseries. About 25% of crops are grown as seed or as input for other crops or livestock.

Aging Farmer Population

The average age of a US farmer in 2017 was 57.

Contract Farming Declines

The process by which a buyer, typically a food processor or supermarket chain, establishes an agreement with a farm to produce a certain quantity and quality of a given crop in exchange for an agreed-upon price and a given delivery date, known as contract farming, is on the decline in the United States.

Industry size & Structure
Industry Forecast
Crop Production Industry Growth
Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

Recent Developments

Feb 23, 2024 - Record Crop Production in 2023
  • US corn production levels soared to record highs in 2023, according to the USDA’s Crop Production 2023 summary. Last year, corn for grain production soared to a historic high of 15.3 billion bushels, a 12% increase from the previous year's estimate. The average yield in the US also reached an all-time high at 177.3 bushels per acre, surpassing the 2022 yield by 3.9 bushels. Moreover, the area harvested for grain increased by 10%, reaching 86.5 million acres. 2023’s record figures demonstrate the resilience of the corn industry and the efficiency of modern agricultural practices, according to the report released in January. Sorghum grain production soared 69% from the 2022 total while rice production increased 36% year over year. However, US cotton production posted a significant 14 percent decrease from 2022.
  • The newly-released 2022 Census of Agriculture (COA) finds the number of farms and ranches in the US fell to 1.9 million (down 7% from 2017), extending its downward slide, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. US farms and ranches produced $543 billion in agricultural products in 2022, up from $389 billion in 2017. With farm production expenses of $424 billion, US farms had net cash income of $152 billion while average farm income rose to $79,790, per the COA. A total of 43% of farms had positive net cash farm income in 2022. Family-owned and operated farms accounted for 95% of all US farms. The COA also shows that farms with internet access continued to rise from 75% in 2017 to 79% in 2022. The average age of all producers was 58.1, up 0.6 years from 2017, a smaller increase than between prior censuses.
  • Wheat exports plunged to a 52-year low in November, reflecting the US’s shrinking share of the global wheat trade, Reuters reports. While US shipments of wheat overseas typically weaken at this time of year as soybean exports rise, the November decline was unprecedented. Only 71,608 metric tons of US wheat were inspected for export in the week ended Nov. 2, the lowest for any week since records began in January 1983. The previous low of 85,672 tons was set in late December 2022. Twenty years ago, the US was regarded as the world’s largest wheat exporter, accounting for approximately a quarter of all annual exports. In 2023/24, this figure will fall to a record low of 9%, with rival export countries continuing to push the US out of the market, Reuters reported. Russia, the European Union, and Canada are the world’s largest wheat exporters.
  • Organic farmers will see changes to the certification process and the organic supply chain under new regulations from the Department of Agriculture, the Organic Trade Association reports. Under the final Strengthening Organic Enforcement rule organic farmers also will be required to do their part to deter and detect fraud in the supply chain, according to the OTA. All organic operations, including farmers, must have a fraud prevention plan in their Organic System Plan (OSP). Records must be maintained and kept that verify the organic status throughout the growing season, the life of the animal, or any movement of crops or animals (off-farm storage or custom heifer pasturing for example). The strengthening of the certification process follows a few high-profile cases of fraudulent organic sales; the new regulation closes many loopholes and seeks to enhance the quality of organic audits and oversight. The deadline for full compliance is March 2024.
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