Over 147,000 U.S. farms produced and sold food locally through direct marketing practices, resulting in $9.0 billion in revenue in 2020, according to the Local Food Marketing Practices data released today by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). The data covers both fresh and value-added foods, such as meat and cheese.
The more than 40,000 farms that sold food directly to institutions and intermediates brought in the most revenue at $4.1 billion; this was followed by operations with direct-to-consumer sales, such as on-farm stores and farmers markets, at $2.9 billion. Sales directly to retailers accounted for $1.9 billion from more than 24,000 operations nationwide.
The top five states by value of total direct food sales were:
California, $1.4 billion
Pennsylvania, $600 million
New York, $584 million
Michigan, $555 million
Maine, $342 million
Most farms that sold directly to consumers sold through outlets such as on-farm stores. Texas led the nation in the number of farms selling directly to consumers, with almost 8,000 operations engaged in direct-to-consumer sales. California led in sales directly to consumers, earning $284 million. Iowa figured to be about 6% of the total direct food sales.
Data also showed that 78% of farms sold their direct-to-market produce exclusively within 100 miles of the farm, while an additional 19% sold partially within and beyond 100 miles.
Approximately 314,000 people were involved in making decisions for the farms that sold directly to consumers in 2020. Of these, 57% were men and 43% were women – a higher proportion of women than among all farms, according to data from the 2017 Census of Agriculture.