• According to USDA data, 383.2 pounds of vegetables per person were available for Americans to eat in 2011, down from a peak of 424.7 pounds per person in 1996.
• The decline was largest for potatoes (34.5 pounds) due to decreased production, followed by carrots (7 pounds), head lettuce (6.1 pounds), and tomatoes (4.2 pounds).
• Despite declines in potato and tomato consumption, these two vegetables still dominate U.S. vegetable consumption.
• In 2011, 86.3 pounds per person of tomatoes and 83 pounds of potatoes (not including dehydrated and chips) were available for Americans to eat. French fries and pizza from fast-food restaurants and grocery stores contribute to the high consumption of these two vegetables.
• The third highest vegetable, sweet corn, came in at 24.1 pounds per person in 2011.
• Americans ate an average of 47.8 pounds of fresh fruit per person in 2011, up from 37.2 pounds in 1970.
• While bananas and apples still top the list of most popular fresh fruits, the amount of bananas consumed grew between 1970 and 2011, and consumption of fresh apples declined.
• Watermelons and grapes moved up in the rankings, strawberries replaced grapefruit, and per-person consumption of fresh oranges fell.
Nectarines. Photo credit: Flickr CC via John Morgan.
Below, are today’s three chosen agricultural-related news picks.
1) The heat in California this summer is affecting crops: Tim Hearden tells us about the many triple digit temperature days in California recently. “The harvest of apricots, peaches, nectarines and plums continued at an increased rate, and the maturity of table grapes was at least a week and a half ahead of last year and 11 days ahead of normal. Sensitive avocado varieties were stressed because of the warm temperatures, and regreening of valencia oranges is becoming more common because of the high temperatures.”
2) Demand for Agriculture students exceeds supply: Christopher Doering writes about the shortage of students in the field of agriculture. “U.S. agriculture and food companies are struggling to attract enough workers, a problem the industry concedes is getting worse as innovation and growing demand for their products leads to the creation of thousands of new jobs. Agribusinesses have been working for years to shed their stodgy and outdated image to help draw employees and stop the loss of highly qualified workers to other fields, such as engineering and financial services.”
3) Brazil lacks adequate grain storage: Debra Levey Larson explains to us that the abundant grain production in Brazil has a post-harvest loss of 10 percent, in part, due to a lack of storage. “There is a 34% undercapacity of soybean storage, and the situation is aggravated by the rapidly increasing production of second-crop maize … One region in the northern part of the state is about 6.9 million metric tons under capacity”
This news post was written and compiled by K. McDonald.