WASHINGTON, April 3, 2014 – U.S. farm equipment makers are reminding lawmakers of how important their industry is to the country’s economy, and asking them to keep some figures in mind when they consider legislation and trade pacts that affect agriculture.

In a 30-page white paper, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) says that in 2011, the total economic footprint from the agriculture industry, including upstream and downstream operations, came to $51 billion and that 78,200 people were directly employed in U.S. manufacturing U.S farm equipment.

“This kind of information is vital to accurately assessing the potential long-term consequences of decisions being weighed as we are debating issues such as the renewable fuels standard and international trade agreements that directly impact the future of American agriculture,” AEM President Dennis Slater said in a news release accompanying the white paper.

Statistics highlighted in the report include:

-Over the past century, agricultural production in the U.S. has increased by more than 500 percent, while the share of agricultural employment fell from 30 to less than 2 percent, freeing up labor to support growth in high-value industry sectors such as manufacturing.

-In the 1960s, one U.S. farmer supplied food for 25.8 persons. Today, it is estimated a single U.S. farmer supplies food for 144 people in the U.S. and abroad. This growth would not have been possible without a productivity explosion driven by farm machinery and equipment.

-Over the past 65 years, labor productivity on the farm grew almost 2.5 times as fast as in the economy as a whole. In the 1930s a farmer could harvest an average of 100 bushels of corn by hand in a nine-hour day. Combines produced today can harvest 100 bushels of corn in under seven minutes.

 To see the full report, click here.




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