Agriculture operations are producing livestock, poultry, or other animal specialties and their products, and producing crops, including fruits and green house or nursery products. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, there are approximately 1.9 million farms in the United States. Based on the 1997 Census, the total value of farm machinery and equipment is approximately $15 billion per year. The two main reasons for replacing machinery or equipment include upgrading old equipment and substituting because of wear and corrosion. Discussions with people in this industrial sector resulted in an estimate of corrosion costs in the range of five percent to ten percent of the value of all new equipment. The total annual direct cost of corrosion in the agricultural production industry is estimated at $1.1 billion.
Corrosion control and prevention can be accomplished by keeping equipment clean and dry after each use, applying corrosion-resistant materials or materials with a corrosion allowance, applying external coatings (paints) or internal lining systems, or using cathodic protection. Strategies for maintaining and optimizing inspection programs for agricultural equipment (i.e., minimizing safety concerns for fertilizer tanks) with a high corrosion risk need to be developed. Development of new and improved inspection techniques is required to ensure the integrity of agricultural equipment.