Today, agriculture accounts for almost 16% of our gross
domestic product and employs one out of every six Americans
to produce raw food and fiber and transform them into
products on the retail shelf. Each US farmer and rancher
produces food and fiber for 129 people - 94 in the United
States and 35 overseas.
Productivity continues to climb. Since 1970, the farm and
ranch population has declined from 9.7 million to 4.6
million, today, while the number of people fed and clothed by
each producer has climbed from 73 to 129.
Over the past 20 years, food prices have risen in the United
States an annual average of only 4.7 percent compared with an
annual average of 6.3 percent for the Consumer Price Index.
As of 1993, we enjoyed a $17 billion surplus with the rest of
the world as opposed to a $180 billion trade deficit in non-
agricultural products. In 1995 the US exported over $50
billion in agricultural products for the first time in