According to the results from the first Local Food Marketing Practices Survey, released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), over 167,000 US farms sold their produce using direct marketing practices, totaling $8.7 billion in revenue in 2015.
Farms selling food directly to institutions and intermediates, such as wholesalers who locally branded the product or food hubs, brought in the most revenue at $3.4 billion. The next category, at $3 billion in sales, was from approximately 115,000 operations with direct-to-consumer sales, such as on-farm stores and farmers markets. Sales directly to retailers were $2.3 billion from over 23,000 operations nationwide.
The top five states by value of total direct food sales were found to be California, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in that order with sales totaling $2,869m, $439m, $441m, $439m and $431m respectively.
Most farms selling directly to consumers sold through outlets such as farmers markets and on-farm stores. Pennsylvania led the U.S. in the number of farms selling directly to consumers, with more than 6,000 operations engaged in direct to consumer sales. California led in sales, earning $467 million. Only 8 percent of farms selling directly to consumers across the nation did so via online marketplaces.