ERS Charts of Note
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Thursday, May 25, 2023
Japan’s pork imports are estimated to increase to more than $6 billion over the next 5 years. Growth is supported by trade agreements Japan ratified between 2018 and 2021 with its major pork suppliers: the United States, the European Union (EU), and the 10 countries party to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). These agreements mandate reductions in Japan’s trade barriers on pork imports. For example, import tariffs on pork carcasses and other unprocessed meat products will drop from 4.3 percent in 2018 to zero by 2027. Similarly, tariffs on processed meat products will be lowered from 8.5 percent in 2018 to zero by 2028. A recent report from USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) estimates these trade agreements will boost 2028 exports to Japan from the United States, EU, and CPTPP countries to totals of $2.08 billion, $2.04 billion, and $2.03 billion, respectively. For the United States, this is a large gain compared with a scenario in which the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement did not exist. Under that scenario, U.S. pork exports to Japan would have totaled $1.41 billion, and EU and CPTPP countries would have gained market share at the expense of the United States. This chart was drawn from the ERS report The Impact of Recent Trade Agreements on Japan’s Pork Market, published in May 2023.
Wednesday, May 24, 2023
Food spending estimates for Washington, DC, differ widely from the 50-State average estimates. From 1997 to 2020, Washington, DC, had higher inflation-adjusted per capita sales at food-away-from-home (FAFH) establishments, such as restaurants, than the State average, although the gap narrowed over time. In 1997, FAFH spending in Washington, DC, was more than 3 times the 50-State average and 1.7 times the 50-State average in 2019 and 2020. The difference could be attributed to nonresident workers commuting into Washington, DC, and spending more at FAFH establishments. FAFH spending per capita in 2019 was 24 percent higher in Washington, DC, than in the highest State (Hawaii). Meanwhile, sales at food-at-home (FAH) outlets, such as grocery stores and supercenters, across the 50 States have steadily increased, with an average annual growth rate of 0.8 percent since 1997. However, FAH spending in Washington, DC, has been more volatile and has trended downward over time. Inflation-adjusted per capita spending on FAH in Washington, DC, was 40.8 percent lower in 2019 than in 1997, before increasing 8.2 percent in 2020 during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. FAH spending in Washington, DC, was roughly equal to the 50-State average in 1997 but fell to approximately half the average from 2017 to 2020. FAH spending per capita in Washington, DC, in 2019 was 37 percent lower than the lowest State (Arkansas). This chart is drawn from the USDA, Economic Research Service’s State-level Food Expenditure Series, which launched in May 2023 and provides annual data on food spending for each State and Washington, DC, from 1997 to 2020.
Tuesday, May 23, 2023
U.S. consumers’ eating patterns differ from Federal recommendations for many food categories, and where food is obtained plays a role. Researchers from USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS) and the University of Georgia examined diet patterns based on density—amounts of food consumed per 1,000 calories—using the latest available national food consumption survey data collected in 2017–18. They compared average consumption densities of 17 food categories with what would be needed to match the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations, assuming a 2,000-calorie intake. Average total consumption densities for 11 food categories fell more than 20 percent outside of recommended levels, with whole grains more than 70 percent below the recommended amount. Refined grains, on the other hand, had a consumption density of more than 85 percent above the recommended level. Densities of 6 food categories were within 20 percent of the recommended range. Generally, food purchased at grocery stores, supermarkets, and similar retailers for home preparation had consumption densities more in line with dietary recommendations than food obtained from commercial away-from-home sources (primarily restaurants and fast food establishments). This chart is drawn from the ERS report Dietary Quality by Food Source and Demographics in the United States, 1977–2018, published March 2023.
Monday, May 22, 2023
Created in 1916, the Federal estate tax is a tax on the transfer of property to a person’s heirs upon death. In 2022, the Federal estate tax exemption amount was $12.06 million per person and the federal estate tax rate was 40 percent. Under the present law, the estate of a person who owns assets above the exemption amount at death must file a Federal estate tax return. However, only returns that have an estate above the exemption after deductions for expenses, debts, and bequests will pay Federal estate tax. Researchers from USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS) estimate that in 2022, 39,534 estates were created from principal operator deaths. Of those estates, ERS forecasts that 305 (0.77 percent) will be required to file an estate tax return, and a further 87 (0.22 percent) will likely owe Federal estate tax. Total Federal estate tax liabilities from the 87 farm estates owing taxes are forecast to be $566 million in 2022. The exemption amount was increased to $12.92 million per person in 2023. This chart appears in the ERS Topic Page, Federal Estate Taxes, published in April 2023.
Thursday, May 18, 2023
Lettuce—the main ingredient in many salads and a popular sandwich topper—is the most widely consumed leafy green in the United States. In 2022, lettuce accounted for nearly one-fifth of the $21.8 billion that U.S. growers received in cash receipts from sales of vegetables and melons. Romaine lettuce sales totaled $1.54 billion, iceberg lettuce sales were $1.33 billion, and leaf lettuce sales trailed at $1.25 billion. An estimated 85 percent of the lettuce available for consumption in the United States was produced domestically in 2022. While production of lettuce occurs year-round, areas of production shift with the growing seasons. From mid-November through early April, most lettuce sold in the United States is sourced from the irrigated desert valleys of Southern California’s Imperial County and the Yuma area of Arizona. Shipments of lettuce from Florida help fill in regional market gaps during winter and spring months. From late April through mid-November, production shifts to Central California. From spring through fall, local production in most other States serves farmers markets, regional/local retail and restaurant demand, and community-supported agriculture. This chart is drawn from an article titled, “Lettuce Trends: Conventional, Organic Growth, and Production,” from USDA, Economic Research Service’s Vegetables and Pulses Outlook, April 2023.
Wednesday, May 17, 2023
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the United States disrupted the food industry in 2020. Inflation-adjusted total U.S. food expenditures were 6.6 percent lower in 2020 than in 2019. However, individual States experienced varying degrees of food spending decline during this period. The USDA, Economic Research Service’s (ERS) newly developed State-level Food Expenditure Series helps to illustrate annual food spending changes across States since 1997, including Washington, DC. From 2019 to 2020, each State saw decreases in inflation-adjusted, per capita total food spending. The smallest decreases in food spending were in Iowa (2.2 percent), South Carolina (2.6 percent), and North Carolina (4.1 percent). The States that saw the largest decreases in inflation-adjusted, per-capita food spending were Hawaii (15 percent), Washington, DC (13.9 percent), Florida (11.8 percent), and Nevada (11.6 percent). These States typically have large out-of-State population inflows from nonresident workers and tourists. The median change of total food spending occurred in Delaware, with a decrease of 7.2 percent. These spending changes occurred as health concerns and mobility restrictions during the first year of the pandemic led consumers to spend less at restaurants and other eating out establishments in favor of relative cost-efficient outlets, such as grocery stores and supercenters. This chart is drawn from ERS’ State-level Food Expenditure Series, which launched in May 2023 and provides annual data on food spending for each State and Washington, DC, from 1997 to 2020.
Tuesday, May 16, 2023
Socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers tend to be more concentrated in southern and western regions of the country than in other areas of the United States. USDA defines socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers as those belonging to groups that have been subject to racial or ethnic prejudice. They include non-white and Hispanic farmers. In some counties, the proportion of operations classified as racially or ethnically socially disadvantaged is more than 58 percent, such as in parts of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Florida. Overall, socially disadvantaged farms accounted for 9.4 percent of the 2 million farms in the United States, according to the 2017 Census of Agriculture. In 2017, 1.3 percent of all producers identified themselves as Black or African American only, 1.7 percent identified as American Indian or Alaska Native only, 0.6 percent identified as Asian only, 0.1 percent as Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander only, and 0.8 percent of all producers reported more than one race. In addition, 3.3 percent of all producers of any race indicated Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin. This chart appears in the USDA, Economic Research Service report Access to Farmland by Beginning and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers: Issues and Opportunities, published in December 2022.
Monday, May 15, 2023
Thirty percent of groundwater organizations cite nitrate contamination as a groundwater quality concern. Nitrates can come from animal manure and chemical fertilizers that leach into groundwater. When groundwater pumping exceeds the volume of groundwater recharge, the concentration of contaminants like nitrates can increase. Nitrate contamination is a concern on more than half of the groundwater-fed irrigated acreage within groundwater organization service areas. USDA’s Survey of Irrigation Organizations collected information on the estimated 735 local entities that manage on-farm groundwater use through statutory, regulatory, or other powers. While nitrate contamination was the most common groundwater quality concern reported, contamination by salinity, other nutrients, and heavy metals are a concern for 27, 19, and 18 percent of groundwater organizations, respectively. Contaminated groundwater can harm crops or make the water unusable for irrigation entirely. This chart appears in the Economic Research Service report Irrigation Organizations—Groundwater Organizations published in April 2023.
Thursday, May 11, 2023
Consumers are eating fewer raisins, based on U.S. per capita availability data. In the past 10 years, acreage planted to raisin-type grapes declined more than 33 percent in California, which produces almost all U.S. raisins. Average per capita availability (a proxy for consumption) of dried raisins fell 15 percent in that time, according to USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS) estimates. This trajectory continues the gradual decline observed since availability peaked at more than 2 pounds per person in the late 1980s to a current low of 1.1 pounds. Some of the reasons behind the decline may include greater year-round availability of fresh fruit and competition from other dried fruit, such as cranberries, cherries, and blueberries. Pressure faced by U.S. raisin growers is not limited to declining per capita availability, however. Higher labor costs and lower priced exports from Turkey have also challenged the U.S. raisin industry in recent years. Along with an overall decrease in acreage and production, the United States has reduced both total export volume and the share of domestic production going to exports. This chart is drawn from ERS’ Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook, March 2023.
Wednesday, May 10, 2023
Apples held the top spot for total fruit available for consumption in 2021 at more than 26 pounds per person after adjusting for losses. The USDA, Economic Research Service’s (ERS) loss-adjusted food availability data adjusts food availability data for food spoilage, plate waste, and other losses to more closely approximate actual consumption. According to recently released estimates, people in the United States consumed an average of 14.7 pounds (equivalent to 1.7 gallons) of apple juice, roughly 9 pounds of fresh apples, and a total of 3.1 pounds of canned, dried, and frozen apples in 2021. Among the top seven consumed fruits in 2021, apples were the only fruit in which data were available for all five forms: fresh, canned, frozen, dried, and juice. Pineapples were the only other canned option among these seven fruits for which data were available, while strawberries were the only other frozen fruit. Bananas (13.2 pounds per person) topped the list of most popular fresh fruits, while orange juice (16.6 pounds or 1.9 gallons) was the most popular fruit juice in the United States. This chart is drawn from ERS’s Ag and Food Statistics: Charting the Essentials, updated May 2023.
Tuesday, May 9, 2023
Fresh-cut flowers and plants are popular gifts for special occasions such as birthdays and Mother’s Day. Many bouquets contain flowers grown in countries where cool, wet climates have historically favored production. In fiscal year 2022, the United States imported nearly $3.3 billion worth of cut flowers, plants, and nursery stock products from 81 countries. Imports of fresh-cut roses totaled more than $800 million, while other fresh-cut flowers such as chrysanthemums, carnations, and lilies were valued at a combined $1.1 billion. Live plant imports were valued at nearly $860 million, and imports of other nursery stock products such as bulbs and greenery were valued at $492 million. Of the many countries supplying flowers and other nursery stock, Colombia made up the largest import value at $1.2 billion. From 2018 to 2022, Colombia provided about 37 percent of U.S. cut flower and nursery stock value. Other leading suppliers in 2022 included Canada, Ecuador, and the European Union, as well as smaller supplying countries of Mexico, Taiwan, and Costa Rica. This chart is drawn from the Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade published by USDA’s Economic Research Service, February 2023.
Monday, May 8, 2023
After reaching recent highs in 2021 and 2022, the average net cash income (gross cash income minus cash expenses) of U.S. farm businesses is expected to decline by 18 percent in 2023 compared with 2022. Farm businesses across the country are forecast to see higher production expenses, lower cash receipts, and lower Government payments in 2023, resulting in lower expected average net cash farm income. However, this overall decline will vary considerably across the country, driven primarily by the commodities produced in each resource region. The USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS) uses resource regions to depict the geographic specialization in production of U.S. commodities. ERS defines farm businesses as the operations with gross cash farm income of at least $350,000 or smaller operations in which farming is reported as the operator’s primary occupation, which includes just over half of all U.S. farms. Farm businesses in the Northern Crescent region, which leads the Nation in dairy production, are forecast to see the largest average percentage decrease (30 percent), while those in the Mississippi Portal, which leads the Nation in rice production, are forecast to see the smallest percent decrease (9 percent). Find additional information and analysis on the ERS topic page Farm Business Income, reflecting data released on February 7, 2023. For more details on the ERS Farm Resource Regions, see Agricultural Income and Finance Situation and Outlook: 2021 Edition.
Thursday, May 4, 2023
Exports constitute a significant market for U.S. farm and food products and send ripples of activity through the Nation’s economy. For instance, exports of grain first generate economic activity on the farm through purchases of inputs such as fuel and fertilizer, spurring additional economic activity in the manufacturing, trade, and transportation sectors. Moving grain to the export market requires data processing, financial, legal, managerial, and administrative services. This additional economic activity is estimated annually by USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) using an agricultural trade multiplier that measures the employment and output effects of trade in farm and food products on the U.S. economy. U.S. agricultural exports valued at $177.3 billion in 2021 generated an additional $190.5 billion in economic activity, for a total of $367.8 billion in economic output. This means that on average, every $1 of U.S. agricultural product exported generated a total of $2.07 of domestic economic activity. The services, trade, and transportation sector benefited the most from agricultural exports, generating an estimated $79.5 billion worth of additional economic activity. On the farm, agricultural exports supported an additional $43.6 billion of business activity beyond the value of the agricultural exports themselves. This chart is drawn from ERS’s Agricultural Trade Multiplier, released March 2023.
Wednesday, May 3, 2023
In 2022, the Chapter 12 bankruptcy rate reached the lowest level in nearly two decades, 0.78 bankruptcies per 10,000 farms. Under Chapter 12 bankruptcy, a financially distressed family farmer can propose and carry out a plan to repay their debts fully or partially, and the total number of these bankruptcies is an indicator of financial stress in the farm sector. In 2003, the annual bankruptcy rate reached a high of 3.3 per 10,000 farms and then declined to a low of 0.5 per 10,000 farms in 2004. After 2010, the bankruptcy rate declined until 2014 but started to increase again in 2015 with another peak in 2019 (2.9 bankruptcies per 10,000 farms). Since then, bankruptcies have declined to the lowest level in two decades after 2004. In 2022, 0.78 farms per 10,000 filed for Chapter 12 bankruptcy, almost two-thirds lower (61.0 percent) than the 10-year annual average of 2.00 bankruptcies per 10,000 farms. Based on the data from U.S. courts, the number of bankruptcies not only declined nationally, but also in the major agricultural States. When examining the 10-year average bankruptcy rate (2013–22) for major agricultural States, Wisconsin had the highest rate at 5.66 per 10,000 farms, followed by Nebraska and Kansas. Texas had the lowest average bankruptcy rate among the top 10 agricultural States at 0.77 per 10,000 farms. This chart uses data from U.S. courts and the USDA’s Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) to update information in Agricultural Income and Finance Situation and Outlook: 2021 Edition and the Amber Waves article, Chapter 12 Bankruptcy Rates Have Increased in Most Agricultural States, published in November 2021.
Tuesday, May 2, 2023
U.S. consumers’ intakes of several key nutrients differ from Federal recommendations. Differences are associated with where they obtain food. Researchers from USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS) and the University of Georgia examined diet patterns based on density—amounts of nutrients consumed per 1,000 calories—using the latest available national food consumption survey data collected in 2017–18. They compared average consumption densities of six nutrients with what would be needed to match Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations, assuming a typical 2,000-calorie intake. On average, intake densities of dietary fiber and iron were more than 20 percent below the recommended level; calcium densities were closer to the recommended level but still fell short of recommendations. Total fat intake was within 20 percent of the highest recommended percent of calories from total fats, which is 35 percent. The density of saturated fats for food away from home (FAFH) and densities of sodium from all sources (total, food at home, and FAFH) were more than 20 percent above the recommended limit. Generally, the nutrient densities of food purchased at grocery stores, supermarkets, and similar retailers for home food preparation were more in line with dietary guidelines recommendations than those of food obtained from commercial FAFH preparation sources (primarily restaurants and fast food establishments). This chart appears in the ERS report Dietary Quality by Food Source and Demographics in the United States, 1977–2018, published March 2023.
Monday, May 1, 2023
Farm sector debt tied to real estate is expected to be at a record high of $375.9 billion in 2023, according to data from the USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS). Farm sector real estate debt has been increasing continuously since 2009 and is expected to reach an amount that is 87.5 percent higher in 2023 compared with 2009 in inflation-adjusted dollars. Real estate debt now far outpaces debt that is not secured by a mortgage (non-real estate debt). Historically, real estate debt and non-real estate debt have trended similarly, but they have diverged in recent years. Non-real estate debt showed an 11.9-percent year-to-year increase in 2014 in inflation-adjusted dollars but has shown decline after 2017. Meanwhile, there has been a continuous increase in real estate debt since 2009. Growth in farm real estate asset values and relatively low interest rates contributed to the increase in farm real estate debt. In 2023, real estate debt is expected to be 33.0 percent higher than the 10-year average (2012–2021), while non-real estate debt is expected to be 10.2 percent lower than the 10-year average. According to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Land Value 2022 Summary, the average value of farm real estate reached a record $3,800 per acre in 2022, a 12.4-percent increase from 2021. Find information and analysis on ERS’s Farm Sector Income & Finances topic page, which is updated four times a year.
Thursday, April 27, 2023
In September 2017, Hurricanes Irma and Maria caused major destruction across Puerto Rico’s agricultural sector. The destruction of infrastructure, operations, and crops led to an exodus of farmworkers, which further hampered the farm sector’s ability to recover. Data from the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Census of Agriculture, conducted every 5 years, show how the hurricanes impacted Puerto Rico’s farm income and expenses. Between 2012 and 2018, the number of farms declined by nearly 38 percent. Gross cash receipts—the sum of the sale of agricultural commodities, cash from farm-related income, and participation in Government farm programs—fell 19 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars from $718 million to $585 million. Cash expenses for Puerto Rican farms also decreased, falling 16 percent from $594 million to $500 million. Puerto Rico Planning Board’s data for net agricultural farm income, which includes non-cash income and expenses such as inventory changes, show a similar decline over the span of time that includes years not captured by NASS census data. From 2012 to 2020, net agricultural farm income (not adjusted for inflation) fell by $101 million. This chart first appeared in the USDA, Economic Research Service report, Puerto Rico’s Agricultural Economy in the Aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria: A Brief Overview, April 2023.
Wednesday, April 26, 2023
Errata: On April 28, the Chart of Note from Wednesday, April 26, 2023 was revised to correct the 2021 total sales, shipment values, and revenue from food and beverage manufacturing plants. The chart source was also revised to correct the survey year. No other data were affected.
Food and beverage manufacturing plants transform raw food commodities into products for intermediate or final consumption by using labor, machinery, energy, and scientific knowledge. These plants accounted for nearly $1.019 trillion or 16.8 percent of sales, shipment values, and revenue from all U.S. manufacturing plants in 2021, according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census’ Annual Survey of Manufactures. Meat processing is the largest industry group in food and beverage manufacturing, with 26.2 percent of sales in 2021. Meat processing includes livestock and poultry slaughter, processing, and rendering. Dairy product manufacturing, which ranges from fluid milk to frozen desserts, accounted for the second-most sales at 12.8 percent in 2021. Other important industry groups by sales include other foods (12.4 percent), beverages (11.3 percent), and grain and oilseeds (10.4 percent). Other foods include snack foods, coffee and tea, flavorings, and dressings. This chart appears in the Manufacturing section of the USDA, Economic Research Service topic page Processing & Marketing, updated March 2023.
Tuesday, April 25, 2023
After peaking at 6.8 million farms in 1935, the number of U.S. farms and ranches fell sharply through the early 1970s. Rapidly falling farm numbers in the mid-20th century reflect the growing productivity of agriculture, increased mechanization, and increased nonfarm employment opportunities. Since 1982, the number of U.S. farms has continued to decline, but much more slowly. In 2022, there were 2.0 million U.S. farms, down from 2.2 million in 2007. Similarly, the acres of land in farms continue a downward trend with 893 million acres in 2022, down from 915 million acres 10 years earlier. The average farm size in 2022 was 446 acres, only slightly greater than the 440 acres recorded in the early 1970s. This chart appears in the ERS data product Ag and Food Statistics: Charting the Essentials, updated March 2023.
Monday, April 24, 2023
The food-away-from-home retail landscape continues to evolve. USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS) researchers recently examined the changing food-away-from-home landscape in nonmetropolitan counties between 1990 and 2019, with a focus on the most rural counties. As of 1990, full-service restaurants were the most common restaurant type, making up 76 percent of all food-away-from-home establishments in these counties. However, over the last several decades, this composition has shifted. While full-service restaurants remain the most common in rural counties, their prominence has fallen from about 75 percent of establishments to about 50 percent of establishments in 2019. By contrast, quick-service restaurants have become increasingly popular. Quick-service restaurants accounted for 18 percent of the total number of establishments in rural counties in 1990 but have since doubled, making up 36 percent of all food-away-from-home establishments in 2019. This shift could affect overall food options available for consumers in these rural areas. This chart appears in the ERS report, The Rural Food-Away-from-Home Landscape, 1990–2019, released in March 2023.