What exactly is Farm Products? Simply put, Farm Products is plants and animals raised primarily on farms. In particular, a farm product is any domesticated plant, animal, or fungus which is raised mainly for use as food, clothes, or other purposes. Meanwhile, Livestock refers to domesticated animals which are raised solely for the consumption of food. The term ‘farm produce’ can also refer to agricultural and horticultural products like feed, medicines, and other farm produce such as butter, eggs, milk, hops, vegetables, fruits, etc. However, the term can also apply to any agricultural or horticultural products that can be used on farms (e.g., wheat, oats, sugar cane, tobacco, coals, etc.)
One type of farm products is agriculture. Agriculture covers a broad range of activities that involve the growing and management of plants and animals for the purpose of food, fuel, and other uses. Some crops are grown on small farms and may not even be commercialized. Examples include forest crops (e.g., timber, cottonseed, fruits and vegetables); wild crops (e.g., grass, fruit trees, mushrooms); crop residues such as alfalfa hay, crop residues such as straw, and other residues from agricultural and horticultural processes like planting of crops, cutting of stock, etc. Other farm products available on the market include: livestock – cattle, pigs, poultry, game Birds; fruits and vegetables – fresh, dried, and pickled (pickling is the process of drying off) fruits and vegetables; minerals – iron, zinc, copper; Timber and fuels – coal, oil, gas, etc.
In many cases, farmers rely heavily on the various types of farm products sold in the market. As a result, the farming sector contributes significantly to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The bulk of U.S. agricultural produce is sold to retailers, and some of these retailers get their commodities directly from farmers, helping to support the U.S. farmers. The main farm product categories are: dairy, beef, poultry, feed, citrus, hops, dairy products, fruits and vegetables, sugar, nursery products, tobacco, potatoes, rubber, spinach, grain, livestock, and other farm products. In addition, there are many other small categories of farm products.
Agriculture directly contributes to the economic well-being of the country. In fact, agriculture supports the economy with a significant volume of revenue. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that agriculture produces over 17% of the Gross Domestic Product in the United States. In nominal terms, the agriculture industry supports the economy through direct revenue contributions, indirectly through taxes and various public programs, and by having an indirect impact on the economy through its purchase. The country is dependent upon the supply of some farm products, mainly cash crops.
The U.S. cattle herd is one of the largest and diverse in the world. The dairy cattle industry supports the U.S. economy with a substantial volume of revenue. Cattle are sold to beef producers, to feed processors and meat markets, and to dairy cooperatives. Milk represents about 70% of the U.S. dairy market. The country exports the bulk of its dairy cattle, predominantly to Canada, Mexico, Italy and Germany. The U.S. domestic dairy market depends largely upon foreign competition; over half of the market is purchased from livestock suppliers within the EU and Japan.
Another major farm product sector is the beef industry. The U.S. cattle farming industry supports more than eighty percent of the U.S. beef industry. This is primarily dependent upon the availability of natural protein sources, such as grass-fed beef and grain-fed cattle. Although the beef industry has diversified over the years, it still relies on the processing of cattle feeds and continues to grow. The demand for beef has also declined recently, but this trend is expected to reverse in the near future.