The benefits of agricultural exports to the U.S. economy far exceed the value of shipments alone. The production, processing, storage, transportation, and marketing of farm and food products bound for the export market support many full-time jobs throughout the United States. Related job statistics are estimated annually by USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) by measuring the employment and output effects of trade in farm and food products.
In 2020, U.S. agricultural exports supported the equivalent of more than 1.13 million jobs on and off the farm. With U.S. agricultural exports valued at more than $150 billion in 2020, every $1 billion of exports is estimated to create 7,550 jobs. Farm activities generated by U.S. exports—mainly crop and livestock production—supported a total of 439,500 jobs. These jobs included labor provided by farm operators and their family members, hired farmworkers, and contract workers.
Off the farm, exports supported 423,900 total jobs in the services, trade, and transportation industries. Food-processing activities created 162,100 jobs, while other manufacturing activities, such as packaging, canning, and bottling, gave rise to 107,000 jobs. This chart is drawn from ERS’s Agricultural Trade Multiplier, released in February 2022. See also the Amber Waves infographic, 2020 U.S. Agricultural Trade Multiplier for Soybeans.