New Releases

Effects of USDA's Food Assistance and Nutrition Programs on Nutrition and Health

A new ERS report series provides a comprehensive review and synthesis of existing research on the impact of USDA's food assistance and nutrition programs. Though the review indicates that conclusions from past studies must be interpreted with caution, the review highlights some specific findings. For example, research has consistently shown that the Food Stamp Program increases household food expenditures, which in turn leads to increased availability of certain nutrients at the household level. Also, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children increases mean birthweight, lowers the incidence of low birthweight, and decreases birth-related health care costs. The review comprises four reports: Effects of Food Assistance and Nutrition Programs on Nutrition and Health. Volume I: Research Design (FANRR 19-1), Volume II: Data Sources (FANRR 19-2), Volume III: Literature Review (FANRR 19-3), and Volume IV: Summary of Literature Review (FANRR 19-4). Biing-Hwan Lin

Technology Adoption Updates from ARMS

Recent data from the Agricultural Resource Management Survey highlight the extent of precision technology adoption among producers. For example, cotton producers adopted satellite-driven guidance systems on about 6 percent of planted area in 2003, similar to adoption levels reported by corn and soybean producers in previous years. However, cotton producers had not adopted other precision agriculture technologies, such as yield monitors and yield maps, to the same extent as producers of corn, wheat, and soybeans. These and other data are available on the ERS website by clicking here: Table 1 and Table 2.

Redesigned Food Consumption Data System

In January 2005, ERS released a redesigned per capita food consumption data system. Users can access per capita food availability data (also known as U.S. food supply data or disappearance data) for all commodities through 2003, either by downloading spreadsheets or using the newly expanded custom database to develop tables or charts for specific food groups, commodities, and years. For the first time, spreadsheets are now available on per capita servings and can be compared with servings recommendations for the U.S. population. Jean Buzby and Hodan Farah

Agriculture in the WTO

The myriad issues facing trade negotiators are explored in a new book, Agricultural Policy Reform and the WTO: Where Are We Heading?, recently released by Edward Elgar publishers. An outgrowth of a 2003 conference cosponsored by ERS, the book covers both challenges for the major countries and regions of the world as well as critical negotiating issues that require global compromises, such as market access, domestic support, and export competition. The increasing complexity of global agricultural markets is also analyzed, including the economic implications of food safety, intellectual property rights, and regional trading arrangements. Mary Bohman