Features, Findings, & Statistics

  • Finding

    Low Wholesale Turkey Prices in 2017 Should Translate to Lower Costs for Consumers This Thanksgiving

    A recent ERS study compared wholesale and retail price movements for whole turkeys leading up to Thanksgiving. Findings suggest that retail markups are usually at their lowest as the holiday approaches.
  • Finding

    Declines in Pollinator Forage Suitability Were Concentrated in the Midwest, the Over-Summering Grounds for Many Honeybees

    While most agricultural commodities are wind-pollinated, about one-third of total U.S. food consumption either require or benefit from insect pollination. Managed honeybees alone provide over $350 million worth of pollination services each year. Recently, however, the health of pollinators has suffered.
  • Statistic

    U.S. Agricultural Trade in 2016: Major Commodities and Trends

    Trade is an important component of the U.S. agricultural sector. ERS tracks U.S. agricultural trade through the Foreign Agricultural Trade of the United States (FATUS) data set and through commodity-specific data like the Livestock and Meat International Trade data set.
  • Feature

    Agricultural Recovery in Russia and the Rise of Its South

    National productivity growth in Russian agriculture is largely an outcome of activities in the South, which is exploiting relative geographic, infrastructural, and institutional advantages to spearhead the country’s agricultural improvements.
  • Finding

    South Africa Resumes Imports of U.S. Chicken Following 15 Years of Anti-Dumping Duties

    After 16 years of imposing anti-dumping duties on U.S. poultry, South Africa allows a quota of 65,000 tons of U.S. poultry. ERS research suggests this will not seriously impact South Africa's poultry industry.
  • Finding

    U.S. Beef and Pork Consumption Projected To Rebound

    Beef production and pork production are projected to grow by 11.7 percent and 10.3 percent, respectively, from 2016 to 2015. As a result, beef and pork prices are projected to drop over the period, driving up demand for beef and pork and reversing a multiyear decline in U.S. meat consumption.
  • Finding

    India Emerges as a Major Beef Exporter

    Since the late 2000s, India has rapidly increased its beef exports—specifically water buffalo meat—narrowly overtaking Brazil as the world’s largest beef exporter in 2014. Recent ERS research shows that India’s beef exports grew from an average of 0.31 million tons during 1999-2001 to an estimated 2.1 million tons during 2013-15, or about 12 percent annually.
  • Feature

    Thin Markets Raise Concerns, But Many Are Capable of Paying Producers Fair Prices

    U.S. agriculture is growing more concentrated as markets have fewer purchases, low trading volume, and low liquidity. This raises concerns about equity for producers and efficiency in market performance.
  • Feature

    Restrictions on Antibiotic Use for Production Purposes in U.S. Livestock Industries Likely To Have Small Effects on Prices and Quantities

    Antibiotics are used widely in livestock production for control, prevention, and treatment of disease, and for “production purposes” such as growth promotion. The most recent estimates suggest that approximately 40 percent of finishing hogs in 2009 and up to about half of broilers in 2011 received antibiotics for production purposes.
  • Finding

    Rising Russian Meat Production Reduces Imports

    During its transition from a planned to a market economy that began in the early 1990’s, Russia has been a large importer of meat. By the early 2000's, the country had become the largest foreign market for U.S. poultry broilers. However, in 2009 Russian meat imports began to fall, including from the United States, with the import decline coinciding with growth in domestic meat production.
  • Statistic

    ERS Tracks Meat Prices at the Retail, Wholesale, and Farm Levels

    Each month the Economic Research Service calculates farm-to-wholesale and wholesale-to-retail price spreads for beef, pork, and broilers. These price spreads show the difference between what consumers pay for a certain type of meat at the retail store and what producers actually receive for that meat.
  • Feature

    Japan, Vietnam, and the Asian Model of Agricultural Development and Trade

    Fast-developing Vietnam is following in the footsteps of Japan and its model of export-oriented industrialization. Vietnamese agricultural imports are rising fast and appear to be following the historical growth pattern of Japan’s imports. Trade policy in both countries has protected agricultural imports, selectively favoring imported inputs relative to consumer-ready products.
  • Finding

    Livestock Forage Disaster Program Payments Increase in 2014

    ERS’s current farm income forecast for 2014 includes $4.3 billion in Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) payments, an almost 700 percent increase from total LFP payments made during the previous 5 years combined. LFP, which is accounted for in farm income accounting under “ad hoc and disaster assistance payments,” is expected to be over 40 percent of total direct payments.
  • Statistic

    Changes in U.S. Dairy Commercial Exports and Domestic Commercial Disappearance

    Traditionally, the U.S. dairy industry was driven by the domestic market. Since about 2004, U.S. dairy exports have grown substantially, primarily for products with high skim milk solids content, such as nonfat dry milk and skim milk powder. Domestic consumption has had greater growth for products with relatively high milk-fat content, such as cheese.
  • Finding

    Effect of Media on Consumer Demand for Lean Finely Textured Beef Muted

    This study highlights the effect of heightened media coverage on consumer demand for lean finely textured beef based products. The study found that consumers initially responded to the perceived food scare by making changes to their meat and beef consumption, but their behavioral response was temporary.
  • Statistic

    Milk Production Continues Shifting to Large-Scale Farms

    Production has shifted to larger farms in most agricultural commodity sectors over the last two decades. This is especially true for dairy farms, where a major transformation of the sector has reduced the number of dairy farms by nearly 60 percent over the past 20 years, even as total milk production increased by one-third.
  • Feature

    Greater Heat Stress From Climate Change Could Lower Dairy Productivity

    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 0.60-1.35 percent in 2030 relative to what it would have been in the absence of climate change.
  • Feature

    Managing the Costs of Reducing Agriculture’s Footprint on the Chesapeake Bay

    Runoff from agricultural activity and other nonpoint sources contributes to adverse environmental conditions in the Chesapeake Bay, interfering with fish and shellfish production and compromising recreational opportunities. In order to meet Environmental Protection Agency goals for the Chesapeake Bay, loadings of nutrients and sediments from agricultural activity must be reduced.
  • Finding

    Antibiotics Used For Growth Promotion Have a Small Positive Effect on Hog Farm Productivity

    Antibiotics are frequently used to treat and prevent diseases in livestock. In addition to these medical uses, a substantial share of hog producers incorporate antimicrobial drugs into their livestock’s feed or water to promote feed efficiency and weight gain. For many years, governmental and professional organizations have expressed concerns about the overuse of antimicrobial drugs in livestock.
  • Finding

    South Korea-United States Free Trade Agreement Benefits U.S. Dairy Trade

    Dairy production and consumption have expanded rapidly in South Korea. The South Korea-United States (KORUS) free trade agreement (FTA) is expected to promote trade through the reduction or elimination of tariffs. U.S. dairy exports have become more competitive recently, and the FTA is expected to add to the competitiveness of U.S. dairy products.
  • Finding

    Small Acreage Farms in the United States

    According to the 2007 Census of Agriculture, approximately 294,000 farms, or 13 percent of all U.S. farms, operated on 10 or fewer acres. Collectively, these small acreage (SA) farms operated only 0.18 percent of all U.S. farmland in 2007, but were responsible for approximately $9 billion in farm sales, or 3 percent of the U.S. total.
  • Finding

    Confined Livestock Operations Account For a Majority of the Chesapeake Bay Area’s Farmland With Applied Manure

    Excessive flows of nutrients into the Chesapeake Bay can damage the bay’s environment, yielding coastal dead zones, fish kills, and impaired drinking water supplies. Agriculture is a main contributor to nutrient run-off, responsible for 38 percent of the bay’s nitrogen and 45 percent of phosphorus loadings.
  • Feature

    Productivity Growth Slows for Specialized Hog Finishing Operations

    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 production contracts. This structural change has led to higher productivity and lower pork prices.
  • Feature

    Solving Processing Issues a Key to Successful Local Meat Marketing

    Consumer demand for local food, including local meat and poultry, has risen in recent years. To sell meat, farmers need access to appropriately scaled processing facilities with the skills, inspection status, and reliability to prepare these products safely, legally, and to customer specifications. This report explores this multi-faceted problem and identifies fundamental causes.
  • Finding

    Productivity Gains Increase U.S. Commercial Pork Production

    Commercial pork production in the United States increased 174 percent from 1977 to 2012 from slaughtering more and bigger hogs. Public and private research and development during the period led to efficiency gains that have altered the structure of the pork industry.