America is a Spud Nation
As growers flew into D.C. to “stand up for potatoes on Capitol Hill” during this year’s National Potato Council Washington Summit, Feb. 27-March 3, they were armed with new data that clearly demonstrated the vital role potatoes play in our nation’s economy.
Over the years, state potato organizations gathered compelling information on the impact of the potato industry on the state level. However, last year, the National Potato Council (NPC) commissioned a comprehensive study on the national economic contribution of American growers and the entire U.S. potato industry.
To kick off the Washington Summit, NPC issued its new report, Measuring the Economic Significance of the U.S. Potato Industry, authored by Michigan State University economists. We’ve always known that as America’s most-consumed vegetable, potatoes are an important source of nutrition for consumers. Now, for the first time, this report allowed us to demonstrate to lawmakers that potatoes are an incredibly important crop for America’s rural communities and the country as a whole.
ECONOMIC DRIVING FORCE
According to our Spud Nation report, the U.S. potato sector is a driving force of America’s economic prosperity. Here’s why: Potatoes made an estimated contribution of $100.9 billion in 2021. This contribution stems from direct and indirect economic activity including:
- $10.8 billion in agriculture production and agribusiness services
- $49.1 billion in processing, wholesaling, and retail
- $41 billion in food service industries and household consumption.
Notably, farm production makes up approximately 10% of the total economic contribution of the potato supply chain — underscoring the significance of largely family-owned potato farms as the foundation for jobs and wealth throughout the entire U.S. economy.
Now, let’s talk job creation. Obviously, farms employ people in rural areas. However, now we know that the U.S. potato sector supports an estimated 714,000 domestic jobs — from the time a potato field is prepared through the time a consumer purchases a potato or potato product at a store or restaurant.
Additionally, those 714,000 jobs provide wages of $34.1 billion annually to those employed along the supply chain. All told, an impressive 0.4% of the entire U.S. workforce relies on the potato industry for their livelihoods, contributing $53 million towards annual GDP growth.
NPC’s Spud Nation report cements that potatoes are an essential component to our prosperity as a nation. We’re excited to share the results of this report with lawmakers, growers, and allied industry partners at the website nationalpotatocouncil.org/spudnation.
As a country, we are fortunate to have potatoes as one of our strongest assets, as they hold the potential for further growth and future development. We are a Spud Nation.