Environmental Performance of Agriculture in OECD Countries Since 1990

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In OECD countries, agriculture uses on average over 40% of land and water resources, and thus has significant affect on the environment. This report provides the latest and most comprehensive data and analysis on the environmental performance of agriculture in OECD countries since 1990. It covers key environmental themes including soil, water, air and biodiversity and looks at recent policy developments in all 30 countries.

Over recent years the environmental performance of agriculture has improved in many countries, largely due to consumer pressure and changing public opinion. Many OECD countries are now tracking the environmental performance of agriculture, which is informing policy makers and society on the trends in agri-environmental conditions, and can provide a valuable aid to policy analysis. The indicators in this report provide crucial information to monitor and analyse the wide range of policy measures used in agriculture today, and how they are affecting the environment. 

Did You Know?  In OECD countries, agriculture uses on average 40% of land and water resources.

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OECD Country Trends of Environmental Conditions related to Agriculture since 1990: United States

Agricultural growth has been amongst the most rapid across OECD countries since 1990 (Figure 3.30.2). Nevertheless, agriculture’s contribution to the economy has been declining and currently accounts for less than 1% of GDP and under 3% of employment (Figure 3.30.1). Steady global economic growth and gains in population, particularly in developing countries, have strengthened demand for food and agricultural products, and provided a foundation for gains in world agricultural trade, including US agricultural exports. In addition, large growth of US bioenergy industries is increasing demand in the agricultural sector [1]. About 8% of the 2 million US farms account for 70% of the value of farm production on 30% of agricultural land [2, 3]. However, smaller farms (e.g. retirement, residential and farms where sales are a small share of household income) are important in terms of agri-environmental performance as they operate on 60% of farmland and account for around 60% of agri-environmental payments [4].

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