Despite remaining at the forefront of most industries, the 2008 financial crisis significantly weakened a number of US industries as well. 2008 to 2010 saw three years of negative industrial production growth rate for the US. At the same time other countries such as China, Japan and the EU have caught up and overtaken the US in numerous industries. China, for example, is now the leader in coal, lettuce, rice, pork, beer and wind energy production as well as high technology exports.
Agriculture and the industrial sector made up 1.2 percent and 19.1 percent of US’s GDP in 2012 respectively. This percentage can be relatively deceiving. The US is not only the third largest agricultural producer in the world behind China and India, but is also the leading industrial power in the world.
Agriculture is a vital part of US economy and society. According to the last census of agriculture in 2007, there were 2.2 million farms in the US - covering an area of 922 million acres. Farmers are also one of the major political lobbyists in the US as they are primarily responsible for the country’s food demands. Among US agricultural products include wheat, corn, other grains, fruits, vegetables, cotton; beef, pork, poultry, dairy products; fish; and forest products.