Editor's note: The following commentary was written by Mike Barnett, Director of Publications for the Texas Farm Bureau, and was originally published on the Texas Agriculture Talks website.

Commentary: Two trillion pounds of food is a lot of groceriesNever underestimate the efficiency, productivity and resourcefulness of American agriculture. A recent graphic by the American Farm Bureau Federation shows U.S. farmers and ranchers produce 2.2 trillion pounds of food annually.

That’s trillion with a T. That’s 2.2 followed by 11 zeros. That’s a lot of groceries.

So really, how much is 2.2 trillion pounds? It’s hard to fathom. Let’s try to put it in perspective (and round down, for simplicity’s sake).

Commentary: Two trillion pounds of food is a lot of groceriesTwo million seconds is about 23 days. Two billion seconds is 64 years. Two trillion seconds is 64,000 years. What a difference three zeros make.

Let’s look at it another way.

  • Texas is roughly 270,000 square miles. Two trillion square miles would equal 7.4 million Texas sized-states.
  • If you traveled around the equator 80 million times, you would travel 2 trillion miles.
  • Two trillion barrels of oil, at current consumption, could fuel the world for 66 years.

Two trillion pounds of food—grown by American farmers and ranchers—feeds our country and much of the rest of the world. Every year.

How’s that for sustainable energy?