There are 900 million acres of farmland in the United States, broken into more than 2 million farms. This accounts for approximately 40% of all acreage in the U.S.
Much of this farmland is used to raise livestock and grow corn and soybeans. But not all of it is used to produce foodstuffs for direct human consumption—a lot of it is used to produce food for livestock. This makes livestock and other animal production farms and facilities ancillary beneficiaries of U.S. farming. Agriculture, food production, and related industries (such as food manufacturing and retailing) were responsible for $1.055 trillion of the United States' gross domestic product in 2020—5% of the overall GDP.
To look at the environmental impact of domestic food waste, OhmConnect cited data from the EPA publication From Farm to Kitchen: The Environmental Impacts of U.S. Food Waste, released in November 2021.
One-third of all food produced annually is unconsumed and simply becomes waste. This also means that the resources used to produce that food in the supply chain—water, pesticides, gas or diesel used for freight and delivery, and energy for refrigeration—are also wasted.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency concluded that the U.S. wastes between 161 and 335 billion pounds of food per year, equal to anywhere from 492 to 1,032 pounds per person annually. To translate this figure into something most people are aware of and many actively keep track of, this equates to as much as 1,520 calories per person per day wasted, or enough food to feed 150 million people.
Food loss and waste per person increased over the last decade and tripled since 1960. Fruits and vegetables are among the foods that go to waste most often, and the consumption stage—typically at home or in restaurants—is responsible for approximately half of that waste.