Information updated Monday by USDA’s Economic Research Service shows in 2020, U.S. farms sold almost $10.7 billion of food commodities directly to consumer outlets and supply chains. This includes restaurants, grocery stores, regional distributors and local institutions. The figure is nearly $2.8 billion, or 35 percent more than sold in 2019. From 2019 to 2020, sales at farmers markets and restaurants and grocery stores increased by 11 and 13 percent, respectively, whereas sales at farm stores, community-supported agriculture, and other direct-to-consumer channels increased by 79 percent. Meanwhile, sales to regional distributors increased by 73 percent. However, sales to local institutions declined by 86 percent in 2020 relative to 2019, likely because of closures or restricted operations related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, in 2020, 73 percent of total direct sales occurred through intermediary supply chains, while the remaining 27 percent were direct-to-consumer outlets. USDA adds that about seven percent of America’s two million farms sold commodities through direct-to-consumer outlets.
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