Edited by John R. Bryson, Jennifer Clark and Vida Vanchan
Chapter 15: Farm machinery: a changing path to feed the world
The farm machinery industry is vitally important to manufacturing economies in many countries as well as the ability of most nations to feed themselves. In many developed countries the farm machinery industry is a key component of the economy despite the fact that it comprises a small portion of gross domestic product (GDP). The industry provides good-paying manufacturing jobs. Farm machinery is also a necessary component of the commercial agro-food industry due to continued declines in the agricultural workforce in the industrialized world. Even as the number of people working in commercial agriculture declines, global population grows. One of the most efficient ways to feed the world, given these conditions, is the use of high-horsepower tractors and combines. In 2009 the average American farmer fed 155 people worldwide, compared with just 27 in the 1960s (Center for Food Integrity 2009). In 2012 US farm machinery manufacturers produced over 35 billion (one thousand million) dollars in products and services to assist in this effort (Boyland 2012), making the industry critical to the success of commercial agriculture throughout the world.
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