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Farm and Farm-Related Employment


Estimates of farm and farm-related employment are derived by combining farm employment data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis with an enhanced file of the Census Bureau's County Business Patterns. These estimates, which are rich in geographic detail, provide valuable information about the importance of agriculture across the country.

Farm and farm-related industries are generally identified as those with 50 percent or more of their national workforce employed in providing goods and services necessary to satisfy the final demand for agricultural products. These industries include farm production, processing and marketing of agricultural goods, and agricultural wholesale and retail trade.

This product includes data for 1981-2002 and revises estimates for 1998-2001.

Note: These data will no longer be updated or maintained because some of the necessary underlying data are no longer available to ERS.


Farm and farm-related industries are aggregated into related groups, then these groups are classified as either closely or peripherally related to farming. The data are provided for the United States, individual States, Farm Production Regions, and Farm Resource Regions from 1981 to 2002. The data tables may be accessed through "clickable" maps or through the list below. The entire raw data file may also be downloaded. Important notes about changes in the data over time and other definitions appear below.

Or make a selection:

Geographical Area Year

Release Date

March 2005. This release includes data for 2002 and revises estimates for 1998-2001.

These data will no longer be updated or maintained because some of the necessary underlying data are no longer available to ERS.

Important Notes and Definitions

For the years 1998-2002, farm and farm-related employment data are aggregated by industry as defined by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). The NAICS replaces the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC), which was used to estimate farm and farm-related employment during 1981-97. In an attempt to maintain consistency in farm-related employment estimates between data sets, NAICS industries were matched with SIC industries used previously. Also, jobs classified by NAICS were placed in their comparable SIC industry groups. For example, Veterinary Services, now part of the NAICS Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services category, was previously classified in Agricultural Services by the SIC system. Therefore, the Veterinary Services component was moved to the Agricultural Services, Forestry, and Fishing industry group in the NAICS-based employment estimates for 1998-2002.

The NAICS provides more detailed industry data than previously obtained through the SIC system but, in doing so, has slightly changed the estimates of farm-related employment. Some NAICS industries contain more components, and thus more jobs, than were included in past SIC-based estimates, while others contain only a portion of the SIC industry previously used. These changes in industrial composition caused some farm-related employment estimates to vary by more than their annual change between 1997 and 1998. Therefore, a direct comparison of current NAICS-based and previous SIC-based employment estimates is not possible.

A list of industry groups and components based on the Standard Industrial Classification System (1981-97) and the North American Industry Classification System (1998-2002) are provided.

The terms "jobs" and "employment" are used interchangeably. Estimates of total U.S. employment and farm and farm-related employment consist of full- and part-time employees and include both wage and salary jobs and self-employed persons.

ERS constructed Farm Resource Regions that depict geographic specialization in production of U.S. farm commodities.

Metro and nonmetro employment data from 1981 to 1997 are based on the June 1993 classification of metropolitan areas. Data from 1998 to 2002 are based on the June 2003 metropolitan area classification. See the Measuring Rurality Briefing Room for more information.


For more information, contact: Kathleen Kassel

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Updated date: March 31, 2005