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States Producing the Most Fruits & Vegetables


States Producing the Most Fruits & Vegetables

Many sectors of the economy have struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic, but one of the sectors that has faced the greatest challenges in the U.S. is also one of the most critical: agriculture.

The early days and weeks of the pandemic were difficult for many agricultural businesses as shutdowns created major disruptions for some of their primary customers. Much of the food service industry shut down overnight in March 2020, drastically scaling back one of the primary sales markets for farmers. In response, more agricultural producers shifted their focus to retail grocery and wholesalers. However, they paid a steep price in the form of lost products and new costs in labor and logistics to adapt to different distribution channels.

Since then, agriculture has faced many of the same supply chain and labor challenges currently plaguing the rest of the economy. Supply chain breakdowns have meant that farms have been struggling to obtain supplies and equipment that they need and that it has become more difficult to transport their products to customers. Labor force participation remains below pre-pandemic levels, especially in low-wage occupations, which has contributed to a shortage of pickers and other agricultural workers. Because produce is perishable, these issues have caused millions of pounds of produce to go unharvested or spoil before reaching consumers.

These disruptions pose a problem for consumers, who may have less ability to access high-quality fresh food at a low price, but also for the economy at large. Fresh produce in the form of fruits, nuts, and vegetables represents nearly a quarter of the total production value of U.S. crops. These products are also part of a larger value chain in the food industry that includes food processing plants, distributors, restaurants and other food service businesses, and grocery. This means that challenges in growing, harvesting, and supplying fresh produce creates additional struggles downstream for other closely related businesses.

These issues are also likely to affect what crops farms choose to grow and in what amounts. Because crops take time to raise, farmers essentially must make decisions in the present based on predictions about what the market might look like months in advance. With continued uncertainty, agricultural producers may prefer to shift more of their focus to crops that have higher value to improve their margins. In general, tree nuts and fruits tend to have higher production value than vegetables.

The current state of the agricultural market also underscores the importance of domestic agricultural production. In recent years, the U.S. has been importing a large share of its fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, with imports totaling more than $24 billion in 2019. But with ongoing supply chain challenges worldwide, production closer to home will be important in maintaining the supply of food.

These fruits and vegetables come from a relatively small number of states where agricultural production is highly concentrated. The leader among these states is California, which is responsible for nearly 70% of U.S. fruit and vegetable production by itself. California is joined by other Western states like Washington, Oregon, and Arizona among the leaders, along with highly agriculture-dependent states in the South and Midwest.

The data used in this analysis is from the USDA. All data shown is for the year 2019, the most recent available covering both fruits and vegetables. To identify the states producing the most fruits and vegetables, researchers at calculated the total production value of both fruit and nut crops as well as vegetable crops, measured in dollars. Researchers also calculated what percentage of total U.S. fruit, nut, and vegetable production is accounted for by each state. Only states with available agricultural data from the USDA were included in the study.

Here are the states producing the most fruits and vegetables.

State Rank Total fruit & vegetable production Share of U.S. total fruit & vegetable production Total fruit production Total vegetable production
California    1    $29,181,329,000    68.94%    $21,437,185,000    $7,744,144,000
Washington    2    $3,396,600,000    8.02%    $3,033,860,000    $362,740,000
Florida    3    $2,759,462,000    6.52%    $1,536,612,000    $1,222,850,000
Arizona    4    $1,825,539,000    4.31%    $197,188,000    $1,628,351,000
Georgia    5    $823,604,000    1.95%    $308,074,000    $515,530,000
Oregon    6    $650,912,000    1.54%    $456,326,000    $194,586,000
Michigan    7    $578,847,000    1.37%    $361,709,000    $217,138,000
North Carolina    8    $560,492,000    1.32%    $60,811,000    $499,681,000
New York    9    $503,842,000    1.19%    $276,937,000    $226,905,000
Texas    10    $348,246,000    0.82%    $163,350,000    $184,896,000
United States    –    $42,326,702,000    100.0%    $28,770,303,000    $13,556,399,000


For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report on’s website:

food supply chain

The Effect of Supply Chain Crisis on the Food Industry

March 2020 marked the beginning of unprecedented times for businesses across the world. The COVID-19 pandemic has had deep socio-economic implications for the food industry. It has imposed sudden shocks across the food supply chain, affecting farm production, logistics, food processing, and market demand for food items.

US Food Supply Chain: Disruptions and Implications from COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a new set of challenges that have affected all industries globally. Similarly, the US food supply chain has been deeply impacted due to physical distancing and strict lockdowns. Here is a list of the major stakeholders affected by the pandemic:


Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, farmers have faced distinct challenges like drop-in grain prices, unavailability of skilled labor, and an uncertain future. Farmers are also facing difficulties in managing excess produce, which is creating an imbalance in the supply chain.

Foodservice Distributors

The foodservice industry relies on foodservice distributors for a steady supply of food items. Due to COVID-19, foodservice distributors have been severely affected by supply chain issues and a decrease in demand from restaurants. COVID-19 restrictions and shutdowns led to a decrease in outbound orders. Even though there has been a steady supply of inventory from farmers or manufacturers, distributors still find it difficult to adjust to the sudden change in market dynamics. Foodservice distributors face challenges in storing excess inventory and making physical deliveries. Some distributors have been able to switch to online ordering and delivery services, but these methods are yet to be universally accepted by outlets.

Foodservice Producers

Foodservice producers have faced similar issues as distributors. The global supply chain crisis effect has led to some significant changes for the food industry. Plant utilization has been significantly lower for foodservice producers due to a decrease in demand from the foodservice industry. Most producers have equipment that is configured for delivering goods for the foodservice sector. Reconfiguring or recalibrating the equipment and changing the business model for the retail industry can be highly inefficient.

Consumer and Packaged-goods Companies

Retail manufacturers or packaged goods food businesses face huge challenges due to COVID-19. Even though demand has been steady for retail manufacturers, they have been facing unprecedented challenges. In the retail food manufacturing sector, employees work in close proximity with each other, leading to a spike in COVID-19 cases among workers. The recent surge in COVID-19 infections in meat-processing plants and other retail manufacturing factories has increased the chances of the mass closure of manufacturing plants.

Grocery Retailers

Among all types of food businesses, grocery retailers have witnessed the highest surge in demand. The primary challenge for grocery retailers has been to serve their customers in these challenging times. Grocery retailers and their employees have been overwhelmed with an increase in demand for food items. Additionally, retailers have been cleaning their stores throughout the day, paying hazard pay and huge incentives to adequately compensate staff for their efforts during the pandemic. Many grocery retailers have introduced online ordering and delivery solutions, which has led to a surge in revenue. This has also resulted in consumer complaints about delivery-related issues.

Effects of Pandemic on Food Supply Chain

The restrictions imposed on the foodservice industry due to the pandemic have hurt the food supply chain. Restrictions related to travel between cities, provinces, and countries have led to some significant challenges, affecting producers, consumers, distributors, farmers, and other stakeholders. Food processing units have become hotbeds for the pandemic. Due to the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases among employees, many manufacturing units had to shut their processing plants.

Effects of Pandemic on Consumer Behavior

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the financial health of the average household as well. Due to financial issues, the food buying behavior of customers has changed drastically. Consumers currently prefer natural food items like vegetables, pulses, whole grains, and olive oil over different types of processed food items.

Effects of Pandemic on Global Food Trade

Food trade policies have also changed across the world. Many countries now restrict exports of essential food items for uninterrupted supply in the domestic market. Export restrictions have also led to a significant drop in prices, leading to losses for farmers or manufacturers.

Strategies for Food Supply Chain

A decentralized approach can be adopted by food manufacturers to avoid drawbacks and risks. Small-scale storage facilities near consumers can reduce storage and transportation costs significantly.

Recommendations to Minimize the Effect of COVID-19

The pandemic has seriously affected food safety, supply, nutrition, and financial health across the supply chain. Strict lockdowns and impositions have threatened the sustainability and growth of food businesses. Here is a list of recommendations that can minimize the effect of COVID-19 on food-related stakeholders:

Recommendations for Small Farmers

Countries can take measures to safeguard the health and finances of agricultural workers. Agri-produce collection centers near major locations can help small-scale farmers to minimize the loss of goods.

Suggestions for Government and Business

Governments can form a pandemic-handling committee to minimize the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the food supply chain. Business bodies can also develop advanced solutions and generate funds to help small suppliers, distributors, and retail outlets.

Businesses and individuals with a clear understanding of the challenges are better prepared in the current scenario. The current shifts in consumer spending habits have deeply affected economies across the world. These ripple effects of the pandemic have affected all stakeholders in the food supply chain, including distributors, producers, farmers, manufacturers, and retailers. Protecting their financial well-being and the general economic activity of the foodservice industry is integral to the economy’s recovery as the pandemic nears its end.


 Author Bio: Damon Shrauner, Senior Sales Consultant and VP on B2B Sales at CKitchen, working in the food service equipment sector since 1994. With his expertise in market analysis, product placement, sales and project management, he will always tell you what to do for the best of your business.


The Importance of the Dairy Industry in 2020 With Leading Experts in the Era of COVID-19

Tell our readers about the reach of the dairy industry, what they might not be aware of in terms of populations served and livelihoods supported?

Donald Moore (Executive Director of the Global Dairy Platform, which works to promote the nutrient richness of dairy products, bring balance and research to the role of milk fat in the diet and provide clarity on how dairy is managing its relationship with the environment):

In 2015, Global Dairy Platform (GDP) worked with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations to determine just how far the dairy sector reaches, the people’s lives we impact. We all knew it was a big industry, but we didn’t know just how big.

They [the FAO] determined that there were 133 million dairy farms in the world. That’s a big number and it also conveys a lot in terms of the families that rely on the industry and the importance behind the nutrition dairy provides.

However, beyond the numbers, let’s talk scale – Based here in the U.S., we tend to think of dairy farms as reasonably large-scale, but in reality, the average dairy farm around the world hosts about three cows. Dairy farms are located in virtually every country in the world, including some small island nations and countries in the Middle East where you would assume the conditions weren’t viable for dairy, yet there they are.

There are some 600 million people living on those dairy farms around the world and if you take into account people who work upstream and downstream from the dairy farm, there’s another 400 million people whose livelihoods depend upon dairy.

We often talk about dairy as being a ‘billion-person community’, so suffice it to say, we support the livelihoods of one billion people, plus.

There are some 240 million full time jobs created by the dairy sector; of those jobs, approximately 80 million are held by women, so it’s a sector that actually has quite a large gender population balance. Of the 133 million dairy farms, 37 million are led by women. One of the things that we like to talk about is the role that dairy can play in bringing gender equality to the global agriculture and livestock sectors.

Jay Waldvogel (Senior Vice President, Strategy- Dairy Farmers of America): Around the world, annually, there are some six billion people who consume dairy. Now obviously, some consume more than others, but six billion people from a consumer perspective are aware of, are touched by, or have some relationship with dairy when it comes to their nutritional intake.

Donald Moore: Roughly ten percent of the world’s protein comes from the dairy sector. In many parts of the world, people lack protein in their diets. One of the things about the dairy sector that I admire is that it provides high-quality protein as well as many other micronutrients that are essential for healthy growth.

Margaret Munene (Co-founder of Palmhouse Dairies and a founding trustee of the Palmhouse Foundation): The Global Dairy Platform ultimately brings the global dairy sector together on a pre-competitive basis, to build evidence on dairy’s impact in a sustainable food system and significant role in the future of food. GDP membership includes more than 95 leading corporations, companies, associations, scientific bodies and other partners. GDP’s members have operations in more than 150 countries around the world and it’s important to note also, that GDP members collectively produce a third of all the world’s milk.

In times of crisis, such as this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we often talk about maintaining security by maintaining supply. Tell me about the security of supply pertaining to the dairy industry and its commitment to sustainable food systems…

Donald Moore: Sustainable food systems is a term very much de rigueur at the moment. We’ve been promoting the idea that you need to think about a food system in its totality. Some people started maybe six, seven years ago talking about sustainable diets. Yet diet is just one piece of the food system puzzle.

If you think about agricultural land around the world,  approximately 70 percent of agricultural land is regarded as marginal land. In other words, it’s not land where you can plough and plant beans, corn, wheat, or anything else. It’s land that only becomes part of a productive food system when it’s grazed. So, the way we make that a useful contributor to the food system is by grazing it, either with dairy cows or buffalo, goat, sheep, a herd of some form. Those animals then turn that land into nutritious food that humans can consume.

In many parts of the developing world, livestock ownership can be the difference between dietary security / nutritional security and nutritional insecurity. We as a sector remain concerned about some of the discussions that go on at the moment about plants versus animals. We need to leverage all the tools that are available to secure nutrition for future generations. That includes making sure that all of this marginal land is being used as optimally as possible. Food security requires both plants AND animals.

That doesn’t mean that we as a dairy sector have not got our challenges. We recognize our sustainability challenges and have done a lot of work to improve the sustainability performance and the sustainability credentials of the dairy sector.

What is the Global Daily Platform’s approach then to this commitment to sustainability?

Jay Waldvogel: Let’s start at the very beginning when the Global Dairy Platform was created nearly 15 years ago. At that point in time, we were, fairly, being criticized for our environmental footprint. There wasn’t a lot of attention globally on it and it wasn’t that dairy farming necessarily was consciously bad, we just weren’t being as consciously good as we could have been.

Donald Moore: Since GDP’s inception, we’ve been doing a lot of work on how we improve dairy’s sustainability performance.

Together with the global dairy sector, we developed the Dairy Sustainability Framework (DSF) to track 11 strategic criteria to report on the progress dairy is making in areas such as greenhouse gas emissions, animal care, water quality, soil nutrients, among others.

The really good news is that we are seeing continuous improvement in dairy’s sustainability performance. For instance, analysis conducted by FAO found dairy’s emission intensity, or the volume of greenhouse gas emitted per kilogram of product, declined 11% from 2005-2015.

GDP has also been tackling how best we can help the developing world improve similar to, or perhaps even more so than the so-called developed world. If you think about greenhouse gasses, from here in the U.S. or in Europe, we produce roughly 1.2 to 1.4 kilograms of greenhouse gas per kilogram of dairy product produced. In parts of Africa, that’s somewhere between 12 to 18 kilograms of greenhouse gas per kilogram of product produced. So we recognize the opportunity for us to enhance the practices in the developing world and in doing so, reduce the environmental impacts of the dairy sector as a whole while improving farmer livelihoods and farm outcomes.

Margaret Munene: The dairy industry is also truly committed to taking the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) from theory to reality.

Clearly, when farmers have cows, they have milk, which is nutritious and provides them with Vitamin A and protein, among other impactful nutrients. From the milk those farmers sell, they now have the capital to purchase other foods. A cow also, importantly, produces manure which farmers use to fertilize their land, to produce other crops.

So, dairy farmers are often not hungry farmers. I have seen it with the many farmers I work with; they have money in their pockets. They can do many, many things, and actually have better livelihoods. Because they have money, they can take their children to school. Then they have bank accounts and from them, can acquire micro-credit loans. They can improve their herds and therefore, their lives cyclically actually become much better.

I see dairy as a very important sector, driving sustainable development in the developing world and also in the developed world.

Jay Waldvogel: We have an incredible commitment to improving collectively as an industry across numerous metrics. I think if you were to talk to the people at the UN and other agencies about how dairy is pursuing this versus other sectors, you’ll find we’re quite ahead of the curve.

It doesn’t mean we’re perfect at it. It doesn’t mean we’ve got it all solved, but we know our challenges, we know what we need to do, and we’re really actively engaged in measuring and understanding how we can get better.

How has the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic impacted the operations of the global dairy sector?

Donald Moore: In some of the more developed countries, there have been challenges to our value chain because of the amount of dairy product that was previously going into food service; in restaurants, hotels, schools, etc. So, in that channel, the impact has been significant.

On the other side of the coin, however, consumer buying at a retail level had increased quite markedly. It hasn’t made up for losses in the food service area, mind you.

It is difficult for the sector to transition quickly from making 25-kilogram boxes of shredded cheese intended for the foodservice channel, for example, to putting that cheese into consumer-friendly sized packages for retail shelves.

The developing world didn’t really feel the challenge in the same way that those in the more developed world markets did. In the developing world, their challenges were probably more around transporting milk to processing facilities and so on.

Jay Waldvogel: While we had this rather painful moment immediately after COVID-19 broke out here in the U.S., today, we’re actually seeing a forward trajectory that is in fact quite positive, as people are reintroduced to dairy, reintroduced to its flexibility and nutrition and are reintroduced to the fact that there’s an awful lot of dairy products that actually taste quite good!

Margaret Munene: I think for me, COVID-19 has shown us how fragile supply chains can be within the global food system. It has spotlighted that disruption in one link can hurt many other links of the supply chain. And this is not just relegated to the dairy industry. This is, I think, applicable to all sectors for food and nutrition, including meat, fruits, and vegetables.

We run a dairy processing company in rural Kenya, for example. There, we partner with 500 small-scale farmers. Notably, 85% of those farmers are women. We collect milk, process it to make yogurt, and send that yogurt to the very high-end markets of Nairobi. However, at the moment, Nairobi’s five-star hotels and major restaurants have almost come to a standstill. And therefore there has been market disruption throughout, especially for processing companies.

But all is not lost, because we remain adaptive and very innovative. The dairy sector is well-positioned for the future because we are dealing with a product with a high nutritional value and now, more than ever, we need nutritional products like milk to boost our immune systems.

Milk is safe, it is nutritious, it is affordable, and therefore, looking into the future and past COVID-19, though there has been a disruption today, tomorrow still looks bright for the dairy industry.

Where do you envision the global dairy sector in the future?

Donald Moore: I see the dairy sector becoming more effective, more efficient.

From an industry perspective, we really see a bright future for the role that dairy plays. Milk consumption around the world continues to grow at just under two percent per annum. When you consider the size of the dairy sector, two percent is enormous growth in terms of volume.

We’re also actively involved in an initiative we call, “Dairy Nourishes Africa (‘DNA’)”. The idea behind this initiative is to use the dairy sector in such a way that we can tackle the issues of childhood malnutrition.

About 30% of children under the age of five in certain African countries suffer from malnutrition and particularly stunting and wasting. Wasting you can recover from, with appropriate intervention, but stunting is something that has very long-term effects.

Making sure that a child under the age of five has adequate nutrition and high-quality protein in their diet is extremely important to alleviate stunting. We’re looking at how we can use the dairy sector to help tackle those kinds of issues of malnutrition.

We have a series of pilots, which we’ve just literally in the last few weeks signed off on, which will happen in Tanzania and those pilots are intended to enhance the productivity of the sector, make milk more available locally, and for it to then be directed into school nutrition programs.

[To Margaret’s previous point], we are focused on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how the dairy sector can help to address those key challenges. With regard to our ongoing collaboration with FAO, we [GDP] developed a research paper in conjunction with them 18 months ago about the impact that the dairy sector has on reducing poverty, which is SDG-1. Earlier this year, GDP again collaborated with FAO to publish a paper on SDG-2, emphasizing dairy’s role in ending hunger.  And we’re in the process at the moment of preparing a paper on the impact that dairy has on disadvantaged groups; in particular, women and youth, and the role that dairy can [and already] plays in reducing inequalities.

So, there’s quite an active role that we think the dairy sector can take in helping to deliver on some of the key issues that are affecting society at large.

Jay Waldvogel: Dairy will play a lead role going forward. The question is, how big a role?

If dairy continues to improve on its environmental footprint, and I believe it will, if we can help explain to people the holistic impact dairy provides, this food system approach where you take into account, not just the impact you have environmentally, not just the nutritional benefits you bring, but those greater, critical societal issues, those economic issues, then dairy has an opportunity to remain a vital part of society going forward.

Margaret Munene: When you consider all that dairy provides, the nutrition and its health benefits, serving as a driving force for social and economic development in the process and taking into account further the progress that the sector is making in terms of reducing its impact on the planet; for me, I see the future of dairy looking extremely positive.

Dairy is a critically important sector in many ways; I really can’t imagine a future without dairy.