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Overview

This data set provides estimates of productivity growth in the U.S. farm sector for the 1948-2011 period, and estimates of the growth and relative levels of productivity across the States for the period 1960-2004.

Note that the national data series has been revised (see Findings, Documentation, and Methods for details), and updates of the State-level statistics are suspended in light of reduced ERS resources and the discontinuance of key source data series. The quality of the national statistics is preserved.

It is widely agreed that increased productivity is the main contributor to economic growth in U.S. agriculture. The level of U.S. farm output more than doubled between 1948 and 2011, growing at an average annual rate of 1.49 percent. Aggregate input use increased at a modest 0.07 percent annually in the same period, so the positive growth in farm sector output was very substantially due to productivity growth. But what exactly is productivity?

Single-factor measures of productivity, such as corn production per acre (yield or land productivity) or per hour of labor (labor productivity), have been used for many years because the underlying data are often easily available. While useful, such measures can also mislead. For example, yields could increase simply because farmers are adding more of other inputs, such as chemicals, labor, or machinery, to their land base. USDA produces measures of total factor productivity (TFP), taking account of the use of all inputs to the production process.

Specifically, annual productivity growth is the difference between growth of agricultural output and the growth of all inputs taken together (methods for combining inputs are described in Findings, Documentation, and Methods). Productivity therefore measures changes in the efficiency with which inputs are transformed into outputs. USDA also produces State-level productivity measures-annual productivity growth rates as well as cross-State differences in levels of productivity, or differences in output per unit of combined inputs. Input measures are adjusted for changes in their quality, such as improvements in the efficacy of chemicals and seeds, changes in the demographics of the farm workforce, or innovations in machinery design. As a result, agricultural productivity is driven by innovations in onfarm tasks, changes in the organization and structure of the farm sector, research aimed at improvements in farm production, and/or random events like weather.

Data Set      Download as Excel    
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National Tables, 1948-2011   Back to top   
Table 1—Indices of farm output, input, and total factor productivity for the United States, 1948-2011. Includes price indices and implicit quantities of farm outputs and inputs (see second tab in workbook), Table1a. Download as Excel       9/27/2013   
Table 2—Sources of growth in the U.S. farm sector (average annual rates), 1948-2011. Includes decomposition into quantity and quality of inputs. Download as Excel       9/27/2013   
State-Level Tables, Relative Level Indices and Growth, 1960-2004—Outputs   Back to top   
Table 3—Total farm output by State Download as Excel       5/5/2010   
Table 4—Crop output Download as Excel       5/5/2010   
Table 5—Livestock output Download as Excel       5/5/2010   
Table 6—Other farm-related output Download as Excel       5/5/2010   
State-Level Tables, Relative Level Indices and Growth, 1960-2004—Inputs   Back to top   
Table 7—Total farm input by State Download as Excel       5/5/2010   
Table 8—Capital input (excluding land) Download as Excel       5/5/2010   
Table 9—Land input Download as Excel       5/5/2010   
Table 10—Total labor input Download as Excel       5/5/2010   
Table 11—Hired labor Download as Excel       5/5/2010   
Table 12— Self-employed and unpaid family labor Download as Excel       5/5/2010   
Table 13—Total intermediate input Download as Excel       5/5/2010   
Table 14—Energy input Download as Excel       5/5/2010   
Table 15—Agricultural chemical input Download as Excel       5/5/2010   
Table 16—Pesticide consumption Download as Excel       5/5/2010   
Table 17—Fertilizer consumption Download as Excel       5/5/2010   
Table 18—Other intermediate inputs Download as Excel       5/5/2010   
State-Level Tables, Relative Level Indices and Growth, 1960-2004—Total Factor Productivity   Back to top   
Table 19—Indices of total factor productivity by State Download as Excel       5/5/2010   
State Ranking Tables    Back to top   
Table 20—States ranked by level and growth of farm output Download as Excel       5/5/2010   
Table 21—States ranked by level and growth of inputs Download as Excel       5/5/2010   
Table 22—States ranked by level and growth of productivity Download as Excel       5/5/2010   
State-Level Tables, Price Indices and Implicit Quantities of Farm Outputs and Inputs by State, 1960-2004   Back to top   
Table 23. Price indicies and implicit quantities of farm outputs and inputs by State, 1960-2004 Download as Excel       9/27/2013   

Last updated: Friday, June 13, 2014

For more information contact: Eldon Ball, Sun Ling Wang, and Richard Nehring

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