Driven by farmers' expectations of higher crop yields and/or lower production costs, management time savings, and other benefits, the rate at which U.S. farmers adopt genetically engineered (GE) crop varieties appears to have reached a plateau at high adoption rates (around 92-94 percent of planted acres) for corn, soybeans, and cotton.
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.