Pennsylvania ranks second in value of total direct food sales, says USDA
HARRISBURG, PA – Over 6,200 Pennsylvania farms produced and sold food locally through direct
marketing practices, resulting in $600 million in revenue in 2020, according to King Whetstone, director of the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Northeastern Regional Field Office. The data covers both fresh and value-added foods, such as meat and cheese.
The more than 40,000 U.S. farms that sold food directly to institutions and intermediates brought in the most revenue at $4.1 billion; this was followed by over 113,000 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, $1.43 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. Pennsylvania had over 5,000 operations engaged in direct-to-consumer sales earning $152 million.
The survey results also showed that 78% of U.S. 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.