FarmVille vs. Real Farming: What’s The Reality?

It’s National Ag Week and we’re kicking off a week-long series celebrating the people who produce food, fuel, fiber and feed. Agriculture is a critical part of our lives, from the food we eat to the clothes we wear.

While social media has been a great tool to increase the awareness of modern agriculture (like this group does), it has also led to a glamorized and oversimplified depiction of farming. I’ve read countless blog posts and commentaries (including here and here and here) over the past several years on the millions of FarmVille players (and the general public) who lack a true understanding of the time, energy and commitment that farmers dedicate to their chosen profession because of social media phenomena like FarmVille.

Today, the average U.S. farmer feeds 155 people annually, three times the amount produced per farmer in 1960 (Source: American Farm Bureau Federation). I can tell you from first-hand accounts that farming is so much more than a one- or two-hour commitment. It’s a way of life.

So, how misleading is FarmVille? Good question! This infographic from @shanesnow, web geek and writer, provides an interesting depiction of FarmVille versus real farms.

For example:

In September 2010, FarmVille players harvested more strawberries than any other crop. In reality, sugar cane is the number one world crop.

There are nearly 2 million farmers in the U.S. There are nearly 60 million FarmVille players worldwide.


  • Ashlyn

    I agree with your point – they differ and it’s important that we recognize that, but I think agvocates would be wise to leverage this interest in farming for education!  For instance, why not partner with Farmville to offer tours of farms to the top players in key regions?