Driven by farmers' expectations of lower production costs, higher yields, and reduced pesticide use, the rate at which U.S. farmers adopt genetically engineered (GE) crop varieties continues to increase.
Pesticides and other chemicals are widely used to reduce pest yield losses and facilitate crop harvest; however, pesticides can also harm humans, animals, and beneficial organisms. In addition, because many pests travel between farms, resistance to pesticides can evolve at an inefficient rate. Farmers can increase the economic efficiency of chemical use by adopting integrated pest and resistance management practices, such as rotating crops and pesticides, reducing reliance on a single pesticide, adjusting planting and harvesting dates, scouting fields, and using more benign, biological control methods.
Crop & Livestock Practices
ERS collects information on livestock and cropping practices through a series of annual field-level commodity surveys.
Irrigation & Water Use
In an era of increasingly limited and more costly water supplies, efficient irrigation systems and water management practices can help maintain farm profitability and assist USDA in meeting conservation and environmental policy goals.
Uncertainty in prices, yields, government policies, and foreign markets means that risk management plays an important role in many farm business decisions.