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55 publications, sorted by date 

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EIB-122, April 08, 2014
This report presents data on debt-use patterns by farm businesses and explores key trends over 20 years.
Amber Waves, April 08, 2014
Debt owed by U.S. farm businesses rose 39 percent between 1992 and 2011, after adjusting for inflation. Despite rising debts, financial leverage—measured as debt relative to the value of assets—declined over this period for the typical farm business. Debt use and financial leverage varies widely, bu...
Amber Waves, March 04, 2014
The United Nations (UN) has designated 2014 the “International Year of Family Farming” with a primary focus on small farms that depend on a family for most labor. Farms in the U.S. are often much larger than the farms in developing countries that are the primary focus of the UN’s efforts, but farms ...
ERR-163, March 03, 2014
Public risk management policies for dairy producers have the potential to induce expansion in milk supplies, which might lower farm-level prices and offset risk-reduction benefits. An evaluation of USDA’s Livestock Gross Margin-Dairy insurance program finds economic downside risk significantly redu...
OCE-141, February 13, 2014
USDA’s 10-year projections for the food and agriculture sector cover major agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the U.S. farm sector, such as farm income.
EIB-110, April 04, 2013
Nearly 15 years have passed since ERS first released its farm typology; this report updates it to reflect commodity price inflation and the shift of production to larger farms.
Amber Waves, April 01, 2013
Farm households that also operate nonfarm businesses have accounted for roughly 18 percent of U.S. farm households since the 1990s. In 2007, farmer-owned nonfarm businesses employed over 800,000 nonfarm workers and contributed an estimated $55 billion to their local communities’ gross county product...
OCE-131, February 11, 2013
USDA's 10-year projections for the food and agriculture sector cover major agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the U.S. farm sector, such as farm income and food prices.
Amber Waves, December 03, 2012
The emergence of developing countries as markets for exports, strong farm balance sheets, healthy financial institutions supporting agriculture, and a favorable trade-weighted dollar exchange rate all support relatively strong growth in the U.S. farm sector. These factors suggest a positive outlook...
Amber Waves, September 20, 2012
Farmland values have been rising but so have farm earnings. Historically low interest rates contribute to sustained high farmland prices and have helped improve the affordability of farmland. Strong farm earnings have dampened the impact of a significant downturn in residential land markets.
WRS-1201, May 22, 2012
U.S. agriculture was better positioned than most United States industries entering the recession, was less affected by the recession than most other industries, and is well positioned to continue to do well as the economy recovers.
Amber Waves, March 01, 2012
As agricultural production has shifted to farms with larger sales, so, too, has the distribution of commodity-related program payments. Unless the design of commodity programs changes substantially, current payment trends are likely to continue.
EIB-92, February 22, 2012
Because farm real estate represents much of the value of U.S. farm sector assets, large swings in farmland values can affect the financial well-being of agricultural producers. This report examines both macroeconomic (interest rates, prices of alternative investments) and parcel-specific (soil quali...
OCE-121, February 13, 2012
This report provides longrun (10-year) projections for the agricultural sector through 2021. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices.
AIS-91, December 14, 2011
Net farm income is forecast at $100.9 billion in 2011, up 28 percent from 2010 and 50 percent higher than the 10-year average of $67.4 billion for 2001-2010. Net cash income at $109.8 billion would be a nominal record, 19 percent above the prior record attained in 2010. Net value added is expected t...
ERR-123, August 18, 2011
Agricultural production is sensitive to changes in energy prices, either through energy consumed directly or through energy-related inputs such as fertilizer. A number of factors can affect energy prices faced by U.S. farmers and ranchers, including developments in the oil and natural gas markets, a...
EIB-76, May 05, 2011
The authors analyze the increasing use of refundable tax credits targeted to low- and moderate-income households in the Federal individual income tax and determine their implications for rural America. To identify rural and urban households, the analysis matches a zip code approximation of the 2006 ...
OCE-111, February 14, 2011
This report provides longrun (10-year) projections for the agricultural sector through 2020. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices.
AIS-90, December 15, 2010
Net farm income is forecast at $81.6 billion in 2010, up 31 percent from 2009 and 26 percent higher than the 10-year average of $64.8 billion for 2000 to 2009. Net cash income at $92.5 billion would be a nominal record, 2.3 percent above the prior record attained in 2008. Net value added is expected...
AIS-89, November 10, 2010
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act makes significant changes to Federal regulation of the U.S. over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives market, with the goals of improving market transparency and reducing systemic default risk. This article reviews some important features of the...
ERR-91, February 12, 2010
Household economic well-being can be gauged by the financial resources (income/wealth) available to the household or by the standard of living enjoyed by household members (consumption). Based on responses to USDA's annual Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS), a joint effort by the Economi...
OCE-2010-1, February 11, 2010
This report provides longrun (10-year) projections for the agricultural sector through 2019. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices.
ERR-84, December 29, 2009
Authorized by the 2008 Farm Act, the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program is the first revenue-based, income-support program that calculates payments using recent market prices and a producer’s actual plantings. The payments are triggered when a farm’s revenue and State revenue (price multip...
AIS-88, December 22, 2009
All three measures of U.S. farm income are projected to decline in 2009—net farm income is projected to decline by 34.5 percent, net cash income by 28.4 percent, and net value added by 20 percent. Considerable uncertainty surrounds the forecasts of farm assets, debt, and equity in 2009, given the vo...
Amber Waves, December 01, 2009
The capital structure of U.S. farms has changed over the last two decades. Fewer farms have outstanding debts than in the past, but debt carried is concentrated among fewer and larger farms.
AIS-87, November 16, 2009
Income and wealth for farm businesses have changed noticeably this decade. Debt levels have been rising, asset levels have outpaced debt despite a recent fall in land prices, and equity has more than doubled for farm businesses. However, recent declines in farm income and falling land prices have ra...
EIB-54, May 15, 2009
Significant changes in Federal individual income and estate tax policies have occurred over the last 10 years. Analysis suggests that changes in Federal tax provisions affecting both individual and business income taxes have reduced average tax rates for all farm households, resulting in the lowest ...
ERR-72, April 07, 2009
Interest in revenue-based commodity support is evident in the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (the 2008 Farm Bill), which gives eligible producers the option of participating in the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program in return for reductions and eliminations of payments under mor...
WHS-09C01, March 24, 2009
The recent historic rise in farm input costs and wheat prices has had economic effects on the U.S. wheat sector. A cumulative distribution of forecasted production costs for wheat farms shows that current high (but falling) wheat prices will allow a greater share of producers to cover their producti...
TB-1924, February 12, 2009
The Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) develops and publishes estimates and forecasts of three primary measures of income and returns for the U.S. farm economy: (1) net value added, or total value of the farm sector’s production of goods and services less purchase...
EIB-42, December 30, 2008
Million-dollar farms—those with annual sales of at least $1 million—accounted for about half of U.S. farm sales in 2002, up from a fourth in 1982 (with sales measured in constant 2002 dollars). By 2006, million-dollar farms, accounting for 2 percent of all U.S. farms, dominated U.S. production of hi...
OCE-2008-1, February 12, 2008
This report provides longrun (10-year) projections for the agricultural sector through 2017. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices.
ERR-53, December 31, 2007
Farm-based recreation provides an important niche market for farmers, but limited empirical information is available on the topic. Access to two USDA databases, the 2004 Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) and the 2000 National Survey on Recreation and the Environment, provided researcher...
ERR-44, October 30, 2007
Can a single program support farm income and encourage producers to adopt environmentally sound farming practices? While simple in concept, attempting to roll the farm income support features of existing commodity programs and conservation payments into a single program raises questions. Exactly how...
EIB-24, June 01, 2007
U.S. farms are diverse, ranging from small retirement and residential farms to enterprises with annual sales in the millions. Nevertheless, most U.S. farms—98 percent in 2004—are family farms. Even the largest farms tend to be family farms. Large-scale family farms and nonfamily farms account for 10...
EIB-26, June 01, 2007
American farms encompass a wide range of sizes, ownership structures, and business types, but most farms are still family farms. Family farms account for 98 percent of farms and 85 percent of production. Although most farms are small and own most of the farmland, production has shifted to very large...
EIB-15, June 28, 2006
In recent U.S. farm policy debates, several “whole-farm revenue” programs have been proposed as a new form of safety net that would be available to all U.S. farms. A whole-farm program is based on revenues from all farming activities added together and is not linked to the production of particular c...
EIB-12, May 15, 2006
Most farms in the United States—98 percent in 2003—are family farms. They are organized as proprietorships, partnerships, or family corporations. Even the largest farms tend to be family farms. Very large family farms account for a small share of farms but a large—and growing—share of farm sales. Sm...
EIB-13, May 15, 2006
American farms vary widely in size and other characteristics, but farming is still an industry of family businesses. Ninety-eight percent of farms are family farms, and they account for 86 percent of farm production. Very small farms are growing in number, and small family farms continue to own most...
EB-1, March 14, 2006
A multitude of design decisions influence the performance of voluntary conservation programs. This Economic Brief is one of a set of five exploring the implications of decisions policymakers and program managers must make about who is eligible to receive payments, how much can be received, for what ...
EB-6, March 14, 2006
Crop production is shifting to much larger farms. Since government commodity payments reflect production volumes for program commodities, payments are also shifting to larger farms. In turn, the operators of very large farms have substantially higher household incomes than other farm households, and...
ERR-12, September 19, 2005
The 2002 Farm Act provided farmland owners the opportunity to update commodity program base acres and payment yields used for calculating selected program benefits. Findings in this report suggest that farmland owners responded to economic incentives in these decisions, selecting those options for d...
AIB-797, March 09, 2005
This report presents comprehensive information on family and nonfamily farms and important trends in farming, operator household income, farm performance, and contracting. Most farms are family farms. Even the largest farms tend to be family farms. Small family farms account for most of the farms in...
AER-837, November 01, 2004
Production and marketing contracts govern 36 percent of the value of U.S. agricultural production, up from 12 percent in 1969. Contracts are now the primary method of handling sales of many livestock commodities, including milk, hogs, and broilers, and of major crops such as sugar beets, fruit, and ...
AIB-788, March 30, 2004
The report finds that bankruptcy has played only a small role in the overall decline in farm numbers over the last 70 years. Most of the decline in farm numbers occurred between the 1940s and 1970s, when bankruptcy filings were at relatively low levels. Farm numbers have even risen when bankruptcies...
TB-1908, March 26, 2004
Financial risk permeates nearly all farm business ventures. In some instances, private and public tools used to manage financial risks in agriculture may influence farmers' production decisions. These decisions, in turn, can influence environmental quality. This bulletin synthesizes several research...
WAOB-2004-1, February 09, 2004
This report provides long-run (10-year) baseline projections for the agricultural sector through 2013. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices.
AER-812, July 01, 2002
Agricultural policy is rooted in the 1930's notion that providing transfers of money to the farm sector translates into increased economic well-being of farm families. This report shows that neither change in income for the farm sector nor for any particular group of farm business can be presumed to...
WAOB-2002-1, February 21, 2002
This report provides long-run (10-year) baseline projections for the agricultural sector through 2011. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices.
AIB-768, May 25, 2001
Family farms vary widely in size and other characteristics, ranging from very small retirement and residential farms to establishments with sales in the millions of dollars. The farm typology developed by the Economic Research Service (ERS) categorizes farms into groups based primarily on occupation...
WAOB-2001-1, February 22, 2001
This report provides long-run (10-year) baseline projections for the agricultural sector through 2010. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices.
TB-1859, July 01, 1998
This report uses standard econometric methods to identify important factors in financial performance of dairy farm businesses. On a per-unit-of-returns basis, factors found most important in explaining the variation in net returns per hundredweight of milk sold were cow's productivity, and per-cow f...
AER-751, June 01, 1997
U.S. Gross Farm Income reached record-high levels in 1991-94, but expenses also increased, leaving commercial farm operators with net farm income that was, on average, relatively stable. Commercial farms were more profitable in 1994 than 1993.
AIB-728, January 17, 1997
In 1993, the 2.1 million farms in the contiguous United States operated an average of 436 acres and produced an average of $73,700 in agricultural products, as measured by gross sales. Characteristics of individual farms--including their level of production--varied widely, however. Most production o...
AER-747, December 01, 1996
Contracts are an integral part of the production and marketing of selected livestock commodities, such as broilers, turkeys, eggs, and milk. Such crops as fruit, vegetables, and sugar beets and cane are mostly produced under contracts. In the past, farm receipts were assumed to be distributed across...

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