Every 5 years, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) engages in a comprehensive study of the U.S. farm economy, known as the Census of Agriculture. The Census examines various facets of farm ownership, structure, and production and marketing practices. Beginning with the 1997 Census, NASS has collected specific information from farm operators regarding their use of direct-to-consumer marketing outlets to sell food for human consumption, recognizing that many farmers are turning to direct-to-consumer sales as a way to increase their share of consumer food expenditures. This factsheet on direct marketing developments and trends is designed to provide an overview of the growing importance of direct marketing to U.S. farmers, in general, and to specific regions and States, in particular, by extracting and summarizing data from the 2007 Census of Agriculture, and comparing these data with those from 1997 and 2002. Among the issues examined in the factsheet are absolute changes in the value of direct marketed food products, the share of total agricultural sales for direct marketed food products, and the relative importance of direct marketing at regional and State levels.


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