What Is the Importance of Agriculture in the Growth of Any State?

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Regardless of where you live, you need food to survive, and the farms that are found in all 50 states help provide it to you. But that doesn’t mean all of the farms are alike. Different farms produce and sell different products, including dairy products, wheat, vegetables, and fruit, to name a few.

If you’ve ever wondered how agriculture as a whole affects each state, you’ve come to the right place. The fact is that agriculture can affect everything from the state’s economics to its popularity, and this article will help explain this in more detail.

What Is the Importance of Agriculture in the Growth of Any State?

The growth of any state is always affected in part by its agriculture industry, but the truth is that some states are more dependent on agriculture than others to grow and thrive.

States rely on numerous industries to survive, not just agriculture, but when agriculture is the main industry in a state and starts to have a bad year, it can definitely affect the state in a negative way.

Agriculture is important to any state for three main reasons:

  1. It helps the economy grow through trade
  2. It provides not only food, but lots of jobs as well
  3. It provides raw material for some foods and other products

Agriculture is crucial because it provides raw materials such as lumber used for construction projects, herbs used for food flavoring, corn used in ethanol, and even resins, which are made from plants and used in products such as paints and adhesives, among other things.

When a state is strong in agriculture, it is strong in two main areas as well: job growth and economic growth. The items made and sold by farms all over the country are necessary for a variety of reasons, and these states also tend to have higher per-capita salaries. This is partly because of the advanced technology used that makes them more efficient.

To meet the demands of both consumers and businesses, agriculture must be at the top of its game so it can provide what both of these groups need to survive. Here are a handful of the things found on the average farm in any given state:

  • Fruits and vegetables, which includes not only foods for consumption but also products that are used in various animal feed products
  • Biofuels, including soybeans, corn, algae, and sugarcane, among others
  • Raw materials used for industrial products such as inks, plant oils, detergents, fertilizers, dyes, and bioplastics, to name a few
  • Cotton used for various types of clothing
  • Pharmaceutical products, including herbs and plants, ginger, and polylactic acid, which are all used in products included in the making of healthcare implants, certain medications, and even certain therapies

Affecting the Economy in Several Ways

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, agriculture provides roughly 10% of all U.S. jobs, and this includes roughly 20 million part-time and full-time jobs. In the year 2020, cash receipts from crops totaled around $200 billion. Regardless of how you look at this, this is very impressive.

Economic development is also affected by this industry because it contributes to the overall gross domestic product (GDP) in the U.S. It does this both indirectly and directly through forestry, farm production, sales of apparel and food and beverage, textile mills, various fishing activities, and even the service and manufacturing industries.

Agriculture and all of the industries needed to help bring agricultural goods to market also contribute to the economy. For example, in 2019 they contributed roughly $136 billion to the GDP, which amounted to 0.6% of the total GNP. All of this economic growth and job growth is due to a single industry — agriculture.

Agriculture and its Effect on the Future

Because of agriculture, food-insecure countries (and even food-insecure people in various U.S. states) will be able to enjoy nutritious food, thanks in part to various trade policies. This will naturally affect the economies of the countries the food is being exported to, and maybe even the job growth of those places.

One of the reasons why this can happen is because farms now have better fertilizers and seeds, crop protection techniques, and pesticides. The advanced tools and equipment they use mean better efficiency and a higher production of the products they make.

And if you’re curious about which states are most dependent on agriculture, here are the top five:

  1. South Dakota: 5.78% of GDP and 5.07% of total employment
  2. Nebraska: 4.62% of GDP and 4.07% of total employment
  3. North Dakota: 4.46% of GDP and 4.85% of total employment.
  4. Iowa: 4.30% of GDP and 4.24% of total employment
  5. Idaho: 4.28% of GDP and 3.93% of total employment

When you look at numbers such as these, it’s easy to understand why agriculture is such an important industry in each state. And while the trend is for the use of bigger farms and less emphasis on smaller mom-and-pop farms, all types of farms contribute to the economy and to job creation in the end.


It’s easy to understand why agriculture is so important to any state, but the two main areas it helps are the economy and the creation of jobs. When you look at the numbers, it’s even easier to see agriculture’s importance.

It’s about so much more than just providing people with food to eat every day. It’s also about making products that create other products used in our everyday lives.


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