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45 publications, sorted by date 

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Amber Waves, March 04, 2014
Farmers planted about 170 million acres of GE crops in 2013—principally corn, cotton, and soybeans—representing about half of the U.S. farmland used to grow crops. Pest management traits are the main feature engineered into GE crops grown, but over time, traits providing protection against additiona...
Amber Waves, February 03, 2014
U.S. hog farm numbers dropped by 70 percent over 1991-2009 while hog inventories remained stable. The result has been an industry with larger hog enterprises, increased specialization in a single phase of production, greater reliance on purchased rather than homegrown feed, and greater use of produc...
ERR-158, October 23, 2013
U.S. hog farm numbers dropped by 70 percent over 1991-2009 while hog inventories remained stable. The result has been an industry with larger hog enterprises, increased specialization in a single phase of production, greater reliance on purchased rather than homegrown feed, and greater us of produc...
EIB-116, August 30, 2013
The study explores the variation in wheat yields and production costs across U.S. regions, based on data from the 2009 Agricultural Resource Management Survey.
Amber Waves, July 01, 2013
Since USDA conservation programs are voluntary, farmers base their participation decisions on local conditions, among other factors, and those decisions are influenced by the level of local drought risk. This is a form of climate adaptation.
EIB-112, May 13, 2013
This report examines both sector and farm-level responses to changing market and policy drivers—such as the increased production of biofuel crops and higher energy prices—together with changes in production practices to economize on energy-based inputs like fertilizer.
ERR-148, April 30, 2013
This report evaluates the extent to which farms facing higher levels of drought risk are more likely to participate in conservation programs, and finds a strong link between drought risk and program participation.
LDPM-21801, April 04, 2013
U.S. beef markets are undergoing rapid change as alternative production systems evolve in response to consumer demands and compete with conventional grain-fed beef production. Beef produced through distinguishable systems has different marketable attributes that may attract price premiums.
Amber Waves, February 21, 2013
While the impact that climate change will have on future growing conditions in specific areas of the country remains uncertain, the ability of farmers to adapt to climate change—through planting decisions, farming practices, and use of technology—can reduce its impact on production, farm commodity p...
EIB-98, August 22, 2012
Agricultural Resources and Environmental Indicators, 2012, describes trends in economic, structural, resource, and environmental indicators in the agriculture sector, focusing on changes since the release of Agricultural Resources and Environmental Indicators, 2006. These indicators are useful to as...
ERR-136, July 06, 2012
Global climate models predict increases over time in average temperature worldwide, with significant impacts on local patterns of temperature and precipitation. The extent to which such changes present a risk to food supplies, farmer livelihoods, and rural communities depends in part on the directio...
LDPM-216-01, June 19, 2012
This report evaluates the availability of slaughter and processing facilities for local meat production and the extent to which these may constrain or support growth in demand for locally sourced meats.
EIB-88, December 02, 2011
Innovations in farm organization, business arrangements, and production practices have allowed farmers to produce more with less. Fewer labor hours and less land are used today than 30 years ago, and practices such as the use of genetically engineered seeds and no-till have dampened increases in mac...
ERR-127, September 22, 2011
Nitrogen is an important agricultural input that is critical for crop production. However, the introduction of large amounts of nitrogen into the environment has a number of undesirable impacts on water, terrestrial, and atmospheric resources. This report explores the use of nitrogen in U.S. agricul...
EIB-81, September 14, 2011
In the past decade, hog production has increasingly become consolidated, with larger operations producing a greater volume of hog manure on smaller areas. With less cropland for spreading the manure, hog farmers may be compensating through more effective manure management. The authors use data from ...
EIB-80, August 24, 2011
The adoption of precision agriculture, which encompasses a suite of farm-level information technologies, can improve the efficiency of input use and reduce environmental harm from the overapplication of inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides. Still, the adoption of precision agricultural technolo...
FTS-347-01, July 25, 2011
This report uses data from USDA’s 2007 Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) and other sources to examine trends in the U.S. apple sector and compare production and marketing characteristics under organic and conventional farming systems.
EB-16, February 07, 2011
Biogas recovery systems collect methane from manure and burn it to generate electricity or heat. Burning methane reduces its global warming potential, thereby reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Climate change mitigation policies that effectively put a price on GHG emissions could allow livesto...
ERR-111, February 07, 2011
Methane digesters—biogas recovery systems that use methane from manure to generate electricity—have not been widely adopted in the United States because costs have exceeded benefits to operators. Burning methane in a digester reduces greenhouse gas emissions from manure management. A policy or progr...
EIB-70, November 02, 2010
Most U.S. farmers prepare their soil for seeding and weed and pest control through tillage—plowing operations that disturb the soil. Tillage practices affect soil carbon, water pollution, and farmers’ energy and pesticide use, and therefore data on tillage can be valuable for understanding the pract...
EB-15, September 07, 2010
Agriculture could play a prominent role in U.S. efforts to address climate change if farms and ranches undertake activities that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions or take greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere. These activities may include shifting to conservation tillage, reducing the amount of...
Amber Waves, June 01, 2010
Organic agriculture has established a foothold in many U.S. farm sectors, but the overall use of organic practices lags behind that of many other countries. Emerging issues in the sector include dampened consumer demand resulting from the weaker economy and competition from new labels like the “loca...
Amber Waves, December 01, 2009
Recent increases in inflation-adjusted crop prices have sparked renewed interest in the potential for continued increases in crop yields. Investment in scientific research is key for boosting corn yields, making productivity, environmental, and bioenergy goals easier to attain.
AP-037, June 25, 2009
The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 directed the U.S. Department of Agriculture to evaluate the role of animal manure as a source of fertilizer, and its other uses. About 5 percent of all U.S. cropland is currently fertilized with livestock manure, and corn accounts for over half of the a...
EIB-50, March 31, 2009
In recent years, structural changes in the hog sector, including increased farm size and regional shifts in production, have altered manure management practices. Also, changes to the Clean Water Act, State regulations, and increasing local conflicts over air quality issues, including odor, have infl...
EIB-43, January 23, 2009
U.S. livestock production has shifted to much larger and more specialized farms, and the various stages of input provision, farm production, and processing are now much more tightly coordinated through formal contracts and shared ownership of assets. Important financial advantages have driven these ...
EIB-38, June 30, 2008
Broiler production in the United States is coordinated almost entirely through systems of production contracts, in which a grower’s compensation is based, in part, on how the grower’s performance compares with that of other growers. The industry is undergoing a gradual structural change as productio...
EIB-32, December 27, 2007
Hog production in 2004 was characterized by wide variation in the types, sizes, and economic performance of operations. Operations specializing in a single production phase generated more than three times the product value, on average, of those using the traditional farrow-to-finish approach. Low-co...
ERR-52, December 27, 2007
The increasing size and specialization of hog operations reflect structural change in U.S. swine production during the past 15 years. The number of farms with hogs has declined by over 70 percent, as hog enterprises have grown larger. Large operations that specialize in a single phase of production ...
SB-974-8, November 03, 2004
Sugarbeet production and costs varied considerably across farms and regions in the United States on both a per-acre and a per-ton basis, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture survey of farmers in 2000. This report summarizes production and financial information related to the 2000 sugarbeet ...
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-824, June 19, 2003
Nutrients from livestock and poultry manure are key sources of water pollution. Ever-growing numbers of animals per farm and per acre have increased the risk of water pollution. New Clean Water Act regulations compel the largest confined animal producers to meet nutrient application standards when a...
WAOB-2003-1, February 10, 2003
This report provides long-run (10-year) baseline projections for the agricultural sector through 2012. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices.
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.
AER-798, January 01, 2002
The report examines the restructuring of the livestock sectors in five countries: Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, and Romania. All five countries experienced a decline in both animal inventories and meat output during the early years of transition away from a centrally planned economy. The study i...
AIB-771, June 15, 2001
Census of agriculture data were used to estimate manure nutrient production and the capacity of cropland and pastureland to assimilate nutrients. Most farms (78 percent for nitrogen and 69 percent for phosphorus) have adequate land on which it is physically feasible to apply the manure produced onfa...
AIB-766, May 01, 2001
Feeding low levels of antimicrobial drugs to livestock affects food safety, human health, and livestock production costs and returns. This report examines the economics of antimicrobial resistance in livestock and the economic implications of banning the use of growth-enhancing antimicrobial drugs i...
TB-1892, April 24, 2001
This report analyzes farmers' choice of crop insurance contracts and tests for the presence of asymmetric information in the market for multiple yield and revenue insurance products. Farmers' risk characteristics, their level of income, and the cost of insurance significantly affect their choices of...
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.
SB-969, September 20, 2000
This report presents information on nutrient and pest management practices, crop residue management, and other general crop management practices in use on U.S. farms. The public has expressed concerns about the possible undesirable effects of contemporary agricultural practices on human health and n...
WAOB-98-1, February 02, 1998
This report provides long-run baseline projections for the agricultural sector through 2007. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices. The baseline assumes no shocks and is based on specific assumption...
WAOB-97-1, April 23, 1997
This report provides long-run baseline projections for the agricultural sector through 2005 that incorporate provisions of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (1996 Farm Act). The baseline assumes that the new farm legislation remains in effect through 2005. Projections cover ...
AIB-733, April 01, 1997
Small U.S. farms and those run by socially disadvantaged minority operators tend not to purchase insurance or to participate in insurance-type programs operated by USDA. This report traces the lack of use of such risk management measures to several characteristics of such farmers, who include female...
SB-930, August 01, 1996
Conservation tillage was used on more than 99 million acres in 1994, about 35 percent of U.S. planted crop area. Five years earlier, the total conservation-tilled acreage was 72 million. Besides conserving soil, crop residue management practices also cut production costs on many farms, according to ...
AER-703, June 01, 1995
Recent studies suggest that possible global increases in temperature and changes in precipitation patterns during the next century will affect world agriculture. Because of the ability of farmers to adapt , however, these changes are not likely to imperil world food production. Nevertheless, world p...

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