Where Does The Food In The US Come From?

By Antonia Čirjak on June 12 2020 in Economics

The US is actually self-sufficient in basic food production.
The US is actually self-sufficient in basic food production.
  • Not only is the US self-sufficient in basic food production, but the country also provides food for a large part of the rest of the world.
  • The US typically produces 2.2 billion bushels of wheat per year.
  • The US has a much smaller workforce than China, but nonetheless manages to produce almost the same amounts of agricultural products.

The answer to this question can be simple, but also quite complex, as is usually the case when dealing with these types of topics. The US is self-sufficient in basic food production. Not only that, but the country also provides food for a large part of the rest of the world.

Even nowadays, during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear that the US does not have a shortage of food. Although some food items are imported from other countries, the majority of it comes from within. This helps the country tremendously, and the fact that it is placed high on the list of self-sufficient countries prevents a lot of problems.

A Self-Sufficient Country

If we take a look at agricultural data, the US usually produces 2.2 billion bushels of wheat per year. Since people in the United States normally consume a bit over half of that amount, the country is left with more than 1 billion bushels to can export to other countries. Even during times of droughts or other adverse weather conditions, the country is still able to produce enough food for its domestic needs, with plenty of food remaining for export.

credit: RozenskiP / Shutterstock.com
The country is able to produce enough food for its domestic needs, with plenty of food remaining for export. Image credit: RozenskiP / Shutterstock.com

The US is self-sufficient in a large number of food types. The list includes eggs, dairy, chicken, pork, and even turkey meat. Sometimes it can even be self-sufficient in beef. This, however, largely depends on the time of the year. Sometimes the US is a large importer of beef, while at other times, the country can export large amounts of beef. Whatever the case may be, it is safe to say that the country does not need to worry about running out of food.

Efficiency In Food Production

Certain products simply can’t be grown in the United States. This is mostly due to the climate. Some of these products include coffee and bananas. Generally, fruits and nuts are the products that are imported more than others. However, imports still make up only one-third of the entire consumed amount of these two products. The other two-thirds come from domestic sources.

One thing the US is known for when it comes to food production is efficiency. No other country in the world is as efficient as the United States. The US has a much smaller workforce than China, but it still manages to produce almost the same amounts of agricultural products. The states that produce the most food include Texas, Iowa, California, Illinois, and Nebraska. US companies mostly dominate the global food export market. The country is convincingly the most successful in the world in that regard.

The Netherlands comes in second when it comes to international products, and China is surprisingly hovering around anywhere from the fifth to the tenth place, depending on the year. The reason why the United States can be so successful when it comes to exporting food is the extremely productive farming sector. Throughout the second half of the 20th century, food production in the country has doubled. This is a big deal, and it shows the importance of the United States for the global economy.

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