Farm Share of US Food Dollar Reached Historic Low in 2021

U.S. farm establishments received 14.5 cents per dollar spent on domestically produced food in 2021—a decrease of 1.0 cent from a revised 15.5 cents in 2020. The figure is the lowest recorded farm share value in nearly three decades, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service.

The remaining portion of the food dollar—known as the marketing share—covers the costs of getting domestically produced food from farms to points of purchase, including costs related to packaging, transporting, processing, and selling to consumers.

One contributor to the 2021 decline in farm share was a shift to food-away-from-home spending. Farm establishments typically receive a smaller share of food-away-from-home spending because of the large amount of value added by outlets such as restaurants. As a result, the farm share generally decreases when food-away-from-home spending increases faster year-over-year than food-at-home spending. Food-away-from-home spending increased markedly in 2021 after a sharp decrease early in the COVID-19 pandemic.

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