Agricultural Trade Multipliers

Agricultural Trade Multipliers provide annual estimates of employment and output effects of trade in farm and food products on the U.S. economy (see 2019 Data Overview). When expressed as multipliers, these effects reflect the amount of economic activity and jobs generated by agricultural exports.

The Agricultural Trade Multipliers estimates:

  • Are derived from the 2012 Benchmark Input-Output (I/O) tables published by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis;
  • Are adjusted annually to account for changes in prices and labor productivity (see the nonbase year estimation section of the Methodology in the Documentation page for details);
  • Include detail on 124 agricultural products and product groups, ranging from soybeans to essential oils, using the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) definition of agricultural products;
  • Are only for open multipliers at either the producer (farm or manufacturer) or port stage of export (see below for further detail); and
  • Are downloadable in Microsoft Excel format.

Users of the Agricultural Trade Multipliers App have two options to display multipliers:

  • Predefined ERS estimates for the most recent calendar year are available in the 2019 Data Overview.
  • Estimates are generated by an interactive calculator that enables users to select a basket of exports from the list of predefined estimates and/or apply a new set of trade margins to the commodity or basket of goods (see below instructions on how to use the ATM calculator).

Note: On May 26, 2021, the “Fishing” product group was renamed “Seaweed and other algae” to describe more closely the group’s products. The “Seaweed and other algae” product group was classified as a bulk, farm commodity, and the “Rice milling” product group was classified as a bulk, nonfarm commodity to align with USDA, Foreign Agricultural Service definitions.

Errata: On July 28, 2021, the Agricultural Trade Multiplier data product was revised to incorporate corrected multiplier estimates for the ethanol sector.

Step-by-step instructions on how to use the Agricultural Trade Multiplier (ATM) calculator

Step 1 – Select a commodity, using either the predefined ERS commodity groupings or the commodity selection tree. Note that you cannot make concurrent selections from both the predefined groupings and the selection tree. To select from the predefined groupings (all agricultural exports, farm commodities, all crops, livestock, nonfarm commodities, bulk commodities, and high-value commodities), click the radio button to the left of the grouping of interest. Only one group from the ERS predefined list can be selected.

To select from the commodity selection tree, click on the box next to each commodity or commodity group. A checkmark (√) will appear next to each selection. At any time, you can click checked boxes to undo selections from the list, thus enabling you to tailor your analysis to a single commodity or any combination thereof. Once selections have been made, click the "Next" button to proceed to the next step.

Step 2 – Select the type of multiplier by clicking the radio buttons corresponding to either the producer or port level of the export process. The producer level includes the activity embodied in the commodity as it leaves the farm gate or manufacturer's door, before shipping and handling charges have been added. By definition, both the ERS and user margins for a producer-value multiplier are set to 100 percent for producer and zero for both transportation and wholesale/retail trade. You cannot select new margins for the producer level. If producer-level multipliers suit your needs, select Producer and proceed to step 3. Port-value multipliers reflect the value of the commodity as it leaves the farm gate or manufacturer's door—and shipping, handling, and storage charges between the farm or manufacturer and the port. If port-level multipliers suit your needs, selecting Port-value multipliers (and entering in the default trade margins) will provide multipliers that most closely approximate the published ERS multipliers, allowing for rounding error.

If you want to input your own trade margins, select Port. The ATM calculator allows you to adjust the producer, transportation, and wholesale/retail margins. Once you select Port, the calculator will generate a table. Input your margins in the table. The three margins can range from 0 to 100 and must be a whole integer value. The sum of the three margins must equal 100. Click the Save Margins button to confirm your margins sum to 100, save them for analysis, and proceed to step 3. If your margins do not sum to 100, a warning box will pop up and ask you to correct your entries. Users can experiment with margins that differ from the ERS margins, in which case their estimated multipliers will differ from the ERS published results.

Step 3 – Click the Review Results button to create and display your model results table. If you selected more than 10 commodities, the table will be displayed over multiple pages. The number of pages will be noted in the blue bar at the bottom of the table. Click on a page number to display that page in the table.

All tables can be printed and/or downloaded in Microsoft Excel  format.

To start over click the Start Over button.

See the Documentation page for information about assumptions and methodology underlying the ERS Estimates, as well as the Glossary for more information.