Mechanization has brought significant improvements to farming and caused the productivity of farmers to skyrocket in recent decades. As the paper shows, just 50 years ago a single U.S. farmer supplied food for almost 26 people globally, but that number has increased to 144.

"Agriculture's achievements have resulted from scientific advances in many areas, including inputs and other efficiencies, yet the productivity explosion continues to be driven by enormous strides in the farm machinery and equipment technology now used to farm millions of acres," said Charlie O’Brien, AEM senior vice president and agriculture sector leader.

The current world population of 7.2 billion is expected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050, according to the United Nations, and the AEM paper also touches on the industry's research agenda for product innovations to "continue to push agriculture productivity through the next century."

AEM commissioned the white paper to acquaint policy makers, business, industry and the general public with the enormous and far-reaching scope of the manufacturing, distribution and use of agricultural machinery and equipment. It is part of AEM's overall goal to advance a better understanding of the vast benefits and quality of life improvements provided by advanced mechanization. The paper can be purchased here.

In addition to extensive analysis of the "economic footprint" of the industry quantifying its economic reach and benefits — a total $51 billion in 2011 — the AEM paper also covers:

  • The importance of mechanization and its contributions to quality of life in feeding and clothing the burgeoning world population
  • Recent developments in ag machinery and the equipment industry
  • Occupations within the industry
  • Regional agricultural equipment manufacturing clusters

To view the Top Ten Takeaways from the report, click here.

About the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) -

AEM is the North American-based international trade group providing innovative business development resources to advance the off-road equipment manufacturing industry in the global marketplace. AEM membership comprises more than 900 companies and more than 200 product lines in the agriculture, construction, forestry, mining and utility sectors worldwide. AEM is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., with offices in the world capitals of Washington, D.C.: Ottawa, Canada; and Beijing, China.