The real cost of food dropped as farmers and ranchers increased their scale of production and adopted new equipment, chemicals, and hybrids. Some consumers, willing to pay higher prices, supported small-scale local production, but most Americans remained comfortable with large-scale commercial production. Public concern about the environment and food safety increased.
American agriculture became highly efficient. In 1900 more than 40 percent of American workers were farmers; in 2000 they numbered fewer than 2 percent.