The Value of Fresh Produce Imports Rises

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Office of Economic Research Services periodically publishes statistics on the production and trade of fresh produce to provide detailed information on the performance of the U.S. agricultural industry. Here are some valuable agricultural data. 

U.S. Fresh Produce Import Value Exceeds Growth Volume

Source: USDA Economic Research Service using data from USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service, Annual Vegetable Summary.

In FY 2021, the value of U.S. fresh produce imports increased to a record level. That record is forecast to rise another 9% in FY 2022 (October-September) to $42.6 billion.

In FY2021, fruits and vegetables accounted for 24% (nearly $39 billion) of the total value of U.S. agricultural imports. Import volumes are also expected to grow 3% in FY 2022 to 29.4 million metric tons. U.S. agricultural trade outlook information provided by USDA, Economic Research Services, released May 2022.

Related Article: Interview with Cathy Burns, CEO of IFPA: Creating a Better Future for the Fresh Produce Industry

Direct-to-Consumer Farm Sales Increased 35% in 2020 Over 2019

Note: CSA = Community Supported Agriculture.
Source: USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service and USDA, Economic Research Service, Agricultural Resource Management Survey 2019 and 2020.

In 2020, U.S. farms sold nearly $10.7 billion in edible food products directly to consumer outlets and intermediary supply chains, an increase of almost $2.8 billion (35%) over 2019.

About 7% of the two million farms in the U.S. sold commodities through direct-to-consumer outlets, and nearly 1% sold through intermediary supply chains.

The other 93% of U.S. farms sell their commodities, fresh produce, through different marketing channels, such as slaughterhouses, ethanol processors, grain mills, etc., ERS America’s Diverse Family Farms, 2021, disclosed in a report released in December 2021.

Florida Leads U.S. Watermelon Production

fresh produce - productos agrícolas
Note: Other states include Arizona and South Carolina. Production is measured by volume.
Source: USDA Economic Research Service using data from USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service, Annual Vegetable Summary.

Florida, Georgia, California, and Texas accounted for three-quarters of the 3.4 billion pounds of watermelon produced in the country in 2021.

Florida is the leading watermelon producer, and in 2021, this state alone accounted for 30% (1.016 billion pounds) of U.S. production. That same year, a record 1.787 billion pounds of watermelon were imported, accounting for 37% of the available domestic supply, according to information on fruit and nut statistics provided by USDA, Economic Research Services March 2022.