Digitizing Our Agricultural History; 77 Years of Annual Statistics Now Online
Did you know that more than 11 million Americans worked on farms in 1930, of which 8.3 million were family workers? Compare that to the fewer than 1.5 million workers employed in agriculture during the peak harvest months of 2011.
Every year, the Department of Agriculture releases a reference book of major agricultural statistics for the United States and countries around the world. It is a one-stop location for annual production, consumption, trade, and price data for all sorts of crops and livestock, as well as spending for government programs, farm economics, and lots of other statistics important to our country’s agricultural system. Agricultural Statistics has a long history of publication, and is an important archive for researchers to study the history of U.S. farming.
Now anyone can download PDF files of Agricultural Statistics dating back to 1936, its first publication, for free on the National Agricultural Statistics Service website. These volumes detail U.S. agricultural production for much of the 20th century, including the Dust Bowl and World War II. They provide a small glimpse into our country’s past, how American farmers worked their fields, the fruits of their labors, and how that work shaped the world then and now.