Differences in economic development, population density and culture mean that the farmers of the world operate under very different conditions.

A US cotton farmer may receive US $230.00 in government subsidies per acre planted (in 2003), while farmers in Mali and other third-world countries do without. When prices decline, the heavily subsidized US farmer is not forced to reduce his output, making it difficult for cotton prices to rebound, but his Mali counterpart may go broke in the meantime.

A livestock farmer in South Korea can calculate with (highly subsidized) sales price of $1300 for a calf produced. A South American Mercosur country rancher calculates with a calf’s sales price of US $120-200 (both based on 2008 figures). With the former, scarcity and high cost of land is compensated with public subsidies, the latter compensates absence of subsidies of scale and low cost of land. *5) Where’s the beef?

In the Peoples Republic of China, a rural household’s productive asset may be on hectare of farmland. In Brazil, Paraguay and other countries where local legislature allows such purchases, international investors buy thousands of hectares of farmland or raw land at prices of a few hundred US $ per hectare.

To promote exports of agricultural products, many government agencies publish on the web economic studies and reports categorized by product and country. Among these agencies include four of the largest exporters of agricultural products, such as FAS of the United States Department of Agriculture, Agriculture and Aga-Food Canada (AAFC), Austrade and NZTE. The Federation of International Trade Association publishes studies and reports by FAS and AAFC, as well as other non-government organizations on its website


Below is a list of countries by agricultural output in 2009. Output is in millions of US $$$.

China                                                   520,352

European Union                               312,490

India                                                    210,116

United States                                     171,075

Brazil                                                   96,016

Japan                                                  81,089

Russia                                                 57,774

Spain                                                   48,313

France                                                 48,167

Australia                                             40,885

Italy                                                     38,129