According to the USDA Economic Research Service, the output of American farms contributed $164.7 billion, or 7 percent, to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product in 2021. With the global population projected to reach 9.5 to 10 billion people by 2050, farmers and ranchers around the world are responsible for producing more food and fiber on less land, using less water.
In 1933, the Farm Foundation was established to serve agricultural and rural communities. While these communities serve as the primary production centers for American agriculture, they face a unique set of challenges such as access to affordable energy, clean water, and healthy food choices. The Farm Foundation develops partnerships to catalyze the delivery of practical, comprehensive, and objective information to public and private sector leaders.
The Farm Foundation facilitates programs that explore the relationship between productivity, innovation, and environmental sustainability to improve production within the agri-food industry. These programs help establish connections between governmental agencies, private companies, and independent farmers to foster innovative production. One of these programs is the Young Farmer Accelerator Program, which helps young farmers build a strong network of agribusiness contacts. Another is the Agriculture Scholars Program, which targets students studying agricultural economics with an interest in future policy work, and one is the Young Agri-Food Leader Program, which actively engages emerging leaders in food and agribusiness with interactive learning and networking experiences. All programs focus on exposing participants to exclusive learning opportunities, career growth and development, and an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the food and agricultural value chain.
Innovation is the key to finding solutions to the dynamic issues agricultural professionals face, including depleting natural resources, inequities in land availability, and negative impacts caused by climate change, as well as the increasing food demand. While the development and adoption of new technologies has driven agricultural productivity growth during the past two decades, there is still uneven progress for producers across the sector. The Farm Foundation works to develop informational material around land ownership and utilization, conservation, and international policies affecting production, marketing, and income in the efforts to close the productivity gap between producers around the world.