ERR-189, July 27, 2015
With little growth in aggregate input use over the last six decades, the extraordinary performance of the U.S. farm sector was driven mainly by productivity growth, at an average annual rate of 1.42 percent. Is the growth sustainable?
CWS-15C-01, March 31, 2015
Managing China's unprecedented volume of cotton stockpiles will require difficult choices by Chinese authorities. China’s large role in world cotton markets means its recent policy changes could reduce world cotton prices significantly.
ERR-182, January 26, 2015
ERS explores the structure and function of the U.S. nutrition research system, particularly changes in Federal support. Federal investments in nutrition research grew from 1985 to 2009 in real terms, but the portfolio of research changed.
EIB-133, December 22, 2014
Farming is still an industry of family businesses. Ninety-seven percent of farms are family farms, and they account for 85 percent of farm production. Small farms make up 90 percent of the farm count and operate half of the Nation's farmland. Most farm production, however, occurs on midsize and larg...
EIB-132, December 22, 2014
Most U.S. farms—97 percent in 2011—are family operations. Small family farms make up 90 percent of the count, though midsize and large-scale family farms produce 60 percent of value of production, per ERS’s latest Family Farm Report.
Amber Waves, December 01, 2014
If agricultural productivity growth slows in future years, how will global agricultural output, consumption, land use, and prices adjust? To address this question, ERS researchers recently used the agency’s global agricultural and energy economic model—the Future Agricultural Resources Model (FARM)...
Amber Waves, November 03, 2014
In 2010, heat stress is estimated to have lowered annual milk production for the average dairy by about $39,000, totaling $1.2 billion in lost production for the entire U.S. diary sector. Additional heat stress from climate change is expected to lower milk production for the average dairy by 0.60-1....
ERR-174, September 18, 2014
ERS examines hypothetical economic and agricultural sector responses to changes in key drivers of supply and demand in the future—agricultural productivity, population, and per capita income.
Amber Waves, August 04, 2014
Contract broiler growers earn average household incomes that substantially exceed those of all farm and all U.S. households. Contract growers’ incomes cover a wider range than the incomes of all farm and all U.S. households. The range of income reflects, in part, the risks of contract production; wh...
GFA-25, June 30, 2014
The food-insecure population of 76 low- and middle-income countries is projected to fall 9 percent to 490 million in 2014. The food-insecure share of the population is projected to rise from 13.9 percent in 2014 to 14.6 percent in 2024.
EIB-126, June 19, 2014
The broiler industry relies greatly on production contracts, with payment based on performance relative to other producers. Productivity improvements reflect developments in genetics, feed formulations, and housing technologies.
EIB-123, April 29, 2014
Small acreage does not necessarily translate into low farm sales. About 17 percent (50,000) of farms with 10 or fewer acres had gross sales of at least $10,000 in 2007, and approximately 6,000 had sales of more than $250,000 that year.
FDS-14D-01, April 28, 2014
The pace of growth in China’s corn yield is a key determinant of its future corn imports. Yields are growing, but more slowly than U.S. yields. Trends suggest China’s corn consumption, driven by feed demand, will outpace production growth.
Amber Waves, March 04, 2014
Family farms represent 97.6 percent of all U.S. farms, and are responsible for 85 percent of U.S. farm production.
ERR-162, February 20, 2014
Farmer adoption of GE crops is associated with time savings, lower insecticide use, and more conservation tillage. Consumer acceptance of GE ingredients varies across countries, product characteristics, and level of information.
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
With most hogs now grown on very large operations and with productivity-enhancing technologies widespread, the slowdown in hog farm productivity growth after 2004 suggests that the era of dramatic productivity gains may be over.
ERR-152, August 05, 2013
Crop production and land have shifted to larger operations. ERS details the changes by region and commodity sector, and evaluates driving factors such as technologies, business organization and finances, land attributes, and policy.
FDS-13G-01, July 26, 2013
Weather during the growing season is critical for corn and soybean yields. Models for U.S. corn and soybean yields provide estimates of the effects of weather on yields for those crops.
Amber Waves, May 06, 2013
Agricultural research has been a driver of higher productivity in Sub-Saharan African agriculture. But despite making gradual gains since the 1980s, productivity growth in the region remains well below that of other developing countries.
ERR-145, February 20, 2013
Is weak agricultural growth in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) due to poor natural resources? This study finds that other factors--economic, technological, and political--underlie agricultural productivity gains experienced by some SSA countries.
Amber Waves, December 03, 2012
The largest agricultural input firms are responsible for a large and growing share of global agricultural research and development (R&D). See the December issue of ERS’s Amber Waves magazine.
Amber Waves, September 20, 2012
Total factor productivity-–a key measure of agricultural productivity-–is showing rapid growth globally, led by improvement in China and Brazil. See this and other features in the September Amber Waves.
EIB-98, August 22, 2012
The 2012 edition provides resource-and environment-related information including farmland area, productivity, irrigation, pesticide use, adoption of genetically engineered crops, fertilizer use, conservation practices, and land retirement.
ERR-137, July 09, 2012
ERS focuses on the effects of Brazil’s science and technology investments and other public policies on the country’s growth in agricultural production – 77 percent between 1985 and 2006 – and its emergence as a major agricultural exporter.
Amber Waves, June 05, 2012
Private sector firms becoming leaders in developing new innovations in agriculture.
ERR-130, December 30, 2011
ERS quantifies investment trends by for-profit companies in food manufacturing, biofuels, and agricultural input R&D and explores how the trends are affected by changes in industry structure.
EIB-90, December 30, 2011
Meeting growing global demand for food, fiber, and biofuel requires robust investment in agricultural research and development (R&D) from both public and private sectors. This report highlights the major findings of a study examining global R&D spending by private industry in seven agricultural inpu...
EIB-88, December 02, 2011
Using survey and census data, ERS examines how changes in farm input use, business arrangements, structure, and production practices since the 1980s combined to expand output without increasing the total use of inputs.
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...
EB-17, July 25, 2011
By 2050, global agricultural demand is projected to grow by 70-100 percent due to population growth, energy demands, and higher incomes in developing countries. Meeting this demand from existing agricultural resources will require raising global agricultural total factor productivity (TFP) by a simi...
GFA-22, July 15, 2011
ERS assesses the food security situation in 77 developing countries, including estimates for 2011 and projections for the next decade. The report is the latest in an annual series.
Amber Waves, September 01, 2010
The rate of growth in global agricultural productivity has accelerated in recent decades and accounts for an increasing share of expanding agricultural production.
ERR-95, May 07, 2010
Evaluation of publicly funded research can help provide accountability and prioritize programs. In addition, Federal intramural research planning generally involves an institutional assessment of the appropriate Federal role, if any, and whether the research should be left to others, such as univers...
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.
EIB-43, January 23, 2009
ERS details the nature, causes, and effects of structural changes in U.S. livestock production as it shifts to larger, more specialized, and more tightly integrated enterprises.
Amber Waves, November 01, 2008
Government intervention in agricultural markets may be warranted under circumstances where markets fail to allocate resources efficiently.
EB-9, September 04, 2007
Innovation and changes in technology have been a driving force for gains in productivity growth in U.S. agriculture. USDA's Economic Research Service has developed annual indexes of agricultural inputs, outputs, and total factor productivity (TFP) for 1948 through 2004. American agriculture relies a...
EB-10, September 04, 2007
Over the last several decades, the U.S. agricultural sector has sustained impressive productivity growth. The Nation's agricultural research system, including Federal-State public research as well as private-sector research, has been a key driver of this growth. Economic analysis finds strong and co...
ERR-36, February 01, 2007
ERS examines the relationship between off-farm work, farmers’ technology choices, and the economic performance of farms and farm households.
ERR-31, November 20, 2006
To help Americans meet nutritional requirements while staying within caloric recommendations, the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourage consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole-grain products, and fat-free or low-fat milk or milk products. This report provides one view of the potential imp...
Amber Waves, September 01, 2005
Fifty years ago, half of all U.S. farm families were poor. Today, however, farm poverty is at its lowest level in the Nation's history due to the availability of remunerative off-farm employment coupled with onfarm gains in labor productivity.
AER-836, November 01, 2004
Diverse needs and preferences across the United States provide justification for the devolution, or decentralization, of many Federal Government programs to the State or local level. The move toward devolution, however, has not been evidenced in U.S. agricultural policy, despite significant differen...
Amber Waves, February 01, 2004
The unprecedented growth in U.S. agricultural productivity over the past 70 years owes much to a series of biological innovations embodied in major crop seeds, in particular, cotton, corn, soybeans, and wheat. These innovations are the result of the investment of considerable time and money into pla...
Amber Waves, November 01, 2003
When consumers are made aware that food products are biotech, how will they react? As the largest market for U.S. producers, American consumers will render the ultimate verdict on the future of agricultural biotechnology in the United States.
AER-823, June 20, 2003
As rising populations and incomes increase pressure on land and other resources around the world, agricultural productivity plays an increasingly important role in improving food supplies and food security. This report explores the extent to which land quality and land degradation affect agricultura...
AIB-781, April 07, 2003
In 1914, when the Cooperative Extension Service was founded, about 30 percent of U.S. workers were in agriculture-related occupations; by the late 1990s, that share had declined to about 1 percent. The Extension System ("Extension") has changed along with its audience. The number of full-time-equiva...
TB-1895, May 21, 2001
This study provides estimates of the growth and relative levels of agricultural productivity for the 48 contiguous States for the period 1960 to 1996. For the full 1960-96 period, every State exhibits a positive and generally substantial average annual rate of productivity growth. There is considera...
AIB-765-3, April 26, 2001
This issue brief describes ERS research on international differences in the quality of natural resources and their effects on agricultural productivity and food security.
AER-792, January 01, 2001
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Area Studies Project was designed to characterize the extent of adoption of nutrient, pest, soil, and water management practices and to assess the factors that affect adoption for a wide range of management strategies across different natural resource regions. The ...
AIB-755, November 01, 1999
While the 1999 drought has had severe financial impacts on agricultural producers in the drought regions, its impact on U.S. agricultural production has been limited. The drought will reduce commodity receipts relative to 1998 by an estimated $1.29 billion. Estimated farm net income losses, includin...
AIB-740, January 01, 1998
Increased productivity is a key to a healthy and thriving economy. Consequently, the trend in productivity, economywide, is one of the most closely watched of our common economic performance indicators. Agriculture, in particular, has been a very successful sector of the U.S. economy in terms of pro...
AER-758, January 01, 1998
Growth of U.S. agriculture is dependent on increases in productivity, three-fourths of which is accounted for by public investment in agricultural research and development (R&D) and infrastructure, according to this research. Productivity growth in U.S. agriculture benefits consumers by putting down...
IUS-7, July 01, 1997
An estimated $110 billion worth of agricultural and forestry products were used as raw materials in the manufacture of industrial (nonfood, nonfeed) products in 1992. Wood and paper products accounted for $96 billion, more than 87 percent of the total. Other fibrous materials, animal products, natur...
IUS-6, October 16, 1996
With U.S. farmers now facing few restrictions on what they can plant, industrial crops will need to stay competitive—economically and agronomically—with other crops to ensure their continued viability. The 1996 Farm Act, which provides expanded planting flexibility, makes expected market returns and...
AER-735, May 01, 1996
Empirical studies indicate high economic returns from the public's investment in agricultural research. Yet, even as society is placing broader demands on the research system, taxpayer support for public agricultural research is unlikely to increase. Stronger ownership rights for intellectual proper...
IUS-5, September 01, 1995
Research and market demand are opening new opportunities for agriculturally based industrial materials. If biodiesel is approved as a certified technology for the Urban Bus Retrofit Rebuild Program, U.S. transit operations would be able to use it to meet air-quality regulations without any change in...
AER: AGRICULTURAL ECONOMIC REPORT-701, January 02, 1995
Concerns about the impact of farm production on the quality of the Nation's drinking and recreational water resources have risen over the past 10 years. Because point sources of pollution were controlled first, agricultural nonpoint sources have become the Nation's largest remaining single water-qua...
IUS-4, December 01, 1994
Market conditions and research increase industrial use of agricultural materials. Industrial uses of corn in 1994/95 are forecast up 12 percent from 1993/94. Most of the increase is expected to be used to make ethanol. Corn also is used to produce sorbitol, a polyol widely used in personal-care prod...
AER-699, September 09, 1994
Restricting or eliminating the use of atrazine in the Midwest would have important economic consequences for farmers and consumers. Atrazine is an important herbicide in the production of corn and other crops in the United States. Since atrazine is such an important herbicide, mandatory changes in a...
IUS-3, June 01, 1994
Strong economic growth and environmental regulation boost industrial uses of agricultural materials. One use of cornstarch is in the production of citric acid, the main acidifier (by volume) used by the food and pharmaceutical industries. About 15 percent of the plasticizers produced in the United S...
IUS-2, December 01, 1993
U.S. agriculture likely will have excess capacity for the foreseeable future. However, technological breakthroughs, heightened environmental awareness, and tougher environmental regulations are creating opportunities to use this capacity to produce industrial products. Although cornstarch dominates ...
IUS-1, June 01, 1993
Recent scientific advances are reducing the costs of producing and processing renewable resources into industrial products. These include advances that make agricultural production techniques more environmentally benign. And the advances in processing engineering—especially in destructive distillati...
AH-697, June 01, 1992
This handbook is a compilation of weights, measures, and conversion factors used for agricultural commodities and their products. Several of the conversion factors and values shown in this handbook can be applied to many commodities. Some factors and values relate to specific commodities or products...
AIB-485, December 03, 1984
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's concern with price-support and adjustment legislation is carried out under a series of interrelated laws passed by Congress from 1933 to 1984. Beginning with the major proposals of the 1920s for handling and marketing farm surpluses, this history records the esta...