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Almost half of U.S. apples available for domestic consumption are used in juices

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Apples are a fall and winter staple, showing up in lunch boxes, pies, cobblers, crisps, and cider. Second to oranges as the most popular fruit in the United States, 45.8 pounds of apples per person were available for domestic consumption in 2013, according to ERS’s Food Availability data. Forty-seven percent of the available apples for U.S. domestic use (21.4 pounds per person) was in the form of juice and cider, and 38 percent (17.4 pounds per person) was fresh apples. Canned, frozen, dried, and other forms made up the remaining 15 percent of apple availability in 2013. Per-person apple availability peaked at 51.2 pounds in 2006. Much of the decrease since 2006 is due to declining availability of apple juice and cider. In 2006, 26.6 pounds of apples per person were used in juices and cider, while fresh-apple availability in 2006 was 17.9 pounds per person. The data for this chart come from the Food Availability data series in ERS's Food Availability (Per Capita) Data System.

Not all California's crops have seen declines in acreage during drought

Monday, December 14, 2015

Long-term trends in California agriculture reflect shifting production, which may have implications for water use during droughts. Annually harvested crops such as cotton, corn, and wheat are on a downward trend and have seen a 31-percent reduction in planted acreage in California since 2012. Similarly, rice acreage has dropped 27 percent during the past 2 years (2013-15) of the drought. California’s hay and vegetable acreage has been more stable. In contrast, almonds, grapes, and walnuts acreage is on a strong upward trend that does not appear to have slowed during the drought. Orchards and vineyards require larger capital investments than annual crops, and because of the potential loss of that investment, orchard/vineyard owners are generally less willing to reduce water usage during droughts. However, orchards and vineyards are also more dependent upon ground-water than volatile surface-water supplies. California orchard/vineyard farmers are also more likely to have invested in more-efficient irrigation systems, such as low-pressure sprinkler and micro-irrigation systems that reduce water lost to evaporation, runoff, and deep percolation, thereby increasing the share of applied water that is beneficially used by the crop. This chart is found in the November 2015 Amber Waves statistic, “Long-Term Response to Water Scarcity in California.”

The value of U.S. fruit and tree nut production continues to grow

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The increase i The increase in value of fruit and tree nut production in the United States has accelerated since 2009 to reach an average of $26.6 billion in 2010-2014, up from an average of $7.1 billion in the 1980s and $10.7 billion in the 1990s. The production values of citrus, noncitrus, and tree nut crops have all increased, but the largest gains have been in the value of tree nut production. Increased production and higher grower prices in response to strong domestic and international demand drove the grower value of U.S. tree nut production past $10 billion in 2013 and 2014, up from $1.5 billion in 2000. The value of almond production, which typically accounts for close to 70 percent of U.S. tree nut production, reached $6.4 billion in 2013, an all-time high. The tree nut share of the value of U.S. fruit and tree nut production rose to 31 percent on average from 2010-2014, up from 20 percent during 2000-2009 and 15 percent during the 1990s. This chart is based on the October 2015 Fruit and Tree Nut Yearbook. n value of fruit and tree nut production in the United States has accelerated since 2009 to reach an average of $26.6 billion in 2010-2014, up from an average of $7.1 billion in the 1980s and $10.7 billion in the 1990s. The production values of citrus, noncitrus, and tree nut crops have all increased, but the largest gains have been in the value of tree nut production. Increased production and higher grower prices in response to strong domestic and international demand drove the grower value of U.S. tree nut production past $10 billion in 2013 and 2014, up from $1.5 billion in 2000. The value of almond production, which typically accounts for close to 70 percent of U.S. tree nut production, reached $6.4 billion in 2013, an all-time high. The tree nut share of the value of U.S. fruit and tree nut production rose to 31 percent on average from 2010-2014, up from 20 percent during 2000-2009 and 15 percent during the 1990s. This chart is based on the?October 2015 Fruit and Tree Nut Yearbook.

For berries, the price and quantity purchased is highly seasonal

Monday, November 9, 2015

The U.S. retail supply of fresh produce differs from that of manufactured foods, which are available year-round with stable prices. For many produce items, the seasonality of domestic production limits the quantity available in winter to a small fraction of that available during spring or summer, leading to higher retail prices in the off-season. For example, retail strawberry prices in late December can often be more than twice as high as prices in May. Until the early 2000s, berries were not available to most consumers outside the short domestic production seasons. Advances in trade and technology have changed that, and imports—particularly during the fall and winter months, when the supply of domestic berries is at its lowest—are leading to more consistent year-round availability and lower off-season prices. Consumers benefit through the potential for lower food expenditures and greater variety in their diets. This chart is from the ERS report, Measuring the Impacts of Off-Season Berry Imports.

Smaller supply of California peaches available in 2015

Monday, July 13, 2015

Summer has arrived and California’s 2015 peach harvest is underway. California currently accounts for just over 70 percent of U.S. peach production, making it the nation’s leading producer of peaches, but its production has been trending lower for nearly a decade. The 2015 crop, forecast at 566,000 tons, continues the trend with a decline of 8 percent from the previous year. A warm, dry winter prompted early crop maturity, but also potentially limited the amount of chill hours that fruit trees normally require to produce a full crop. Statewide production of both freestone (mainly for fresh use) and clingstone (entirely for processing) peaches is forecast lower for 2015. Despite the smaller California crop, prices thus far in 2015 are similar to 2014 levels due to supply increases from South Carolina and Georgia, and ample supplies of off-season Chilean imports during the winter. Through the summer, national supplies will continue to grow as production from other States coincides with California’s peak harvest. In the processing market, declining demand for canned peaches (especially with fresh peaches now commonly available most of the year) as well as increased imports have pushed acreage lower, with tree removals over the past year alone reducing California’s 2015 clingstone bearing acreage about 10 percent. This chart is based on the June 2015 Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook.

Fresh fruit accounted for 52 percent of U.S. fruit availability in 2010-12

Thursday, May 28, 2015

According to ERS’s Food Availability data, per capita supplies of fruit available for consumption in the United States have fallen over the last decade after rising since the early 1970s. In 2010-12, per capita fruit availability was 251 pounds per person (fresh-weight equivalent), down from 281 pounds per person in 2000-02. Increased U.S. production and greater imports of some types of fruit have not compensated for decreased U.S. citrus production. Fresh fruit accounted for 52 percent of fruit availability in 2010-12, up from a 42-percent share in 1970-72. Bananas, apples, and oranges were the most popular fresh fruits in 2010-12, accounting for 40 percent of fresh fruit availability. Processed fruit availability (canned, juice, frozen, and dried forms) has steadily fallen since reaching a peak of 171 pounds per person (fresh-weight equivalent) in 1977 to a low of 114 pounds in 2012. The bulk of the decline came from juice, especially orange juice. Availability of orange juice fell from 97 pounds per person in 1977 to 44 pounds in 2012. This chart appears in “Fresh Fruit Makes Up a Growing Share of U.S. Fruit Availability” in the May 2015 issue of ERS’s Amber Waves magazine.

California drought continues, but produce inflation expected to be near historical average

Monday, April 20, 2015

The California drought continues into 2015—as of March, 42 percent of the State is classified under the exceptional drought rating. Despite these conditions, U.S. fresh fruit and vegetable price inflation is expected to be close to its historical average in 2015. ERS predicts fresh fruit prices will increase 2.5 to 3.5 percent and fresh vegetable prices 2.0 to 3.0 percent. While California does grow a large percentage of many U.S. fresh fruits and vegetables, portions of the produce purchased in grocery stores are imported from various foreign markets. Currently, the strong U.S. dollar is making foreign produce relatively less expensive, putting downward pressure on U.S. retail produce prices. Commodities that are grown almost entirely in California and whose supplies are not largely supplemented by imports could begin to experience higher price increases in 2015. This chart appears in the Food Prices and Consumers section of the California Drought: Farm and Food Impacts page on the ERS website. Information on ERS’s food price forecasts can be found in ERS’s Food Price Outlook data product.

Over 30 retail fruits cost less than 80 cents per cup equivalent

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Food intake surveys find Americans consuming about half the amount of recommended fruits per day. One reason may be that some consumers perceive fruit to be expensive. ERS calculated average prices paid in 2013 for 63 fresh and processed fruits measured in cup equivalents. A cup equivalent is the edible portion that will generally fit in a 1-cup measuring cup; 1/2 cup for raisins and other dried fruits. The amount of fruit a person should eat per day depends on age, gender, and level of activity. For a 2,000-calorie diet, 2 cup equivalents of fruits per day is recommended. Fresh watermelon at 21 cents per cup equivalent and apple juice (made from concentrate) at 27 cents were the lowest priced fruits, while fresh blackberries, fresh raspberries, and canned cherries were the priciest. Thirty-five fruits cost less than 80 cents per cup equivalent. The data in this chart are from ERS's Fruit and Vegetable Prices data product on the ERS website, updated March 19, 2015.

Editor's Pick 2014:<br>California droughts are but one factor in higher retail produce prices

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The severity and duration of the ongoing drought in California has raised concerns over its role in rising food prices at the grocery store, especially for fresh fruits and vegetables. In 2012, California produced nearly 50 percent (by value) of the nation’s vegetables and non-citrus fruit. Droughts in California are generally associated with higher retail prices for produce, but price increases are lagged due to the time it takes for weather conditions and planting decisions to alter crop production, which then influence retail prices. In 2005, following five years of drought, retail fruit prices rose 3.7 percent and retail vegetable prices increased 4 percent. Prices continued to rise in 2006, one year after drought conditions began to improve. However, other factors such as energy prices and consumer demand also affect retail produce prices. For example, prices for fresh produce fell in 2009 despite drought conditions, as the 2007-09 recession reduced foreign and domestic demand for many retail foods. As of October 2014, ERS analysts are forecasting fresh fruit prices to increase 4.5 to 5.5 percent in 2014 and vegetable prices to be 2 to 3 percent higher. This chart appears in the Food Prices and Consumers section of the 2014 California Drought page on the ERS website. Information on ERS’s food price forecasts can be found in ERS’s Food Price Outlook data product, updated October 24, 2014. Originally published Thursday October 30, 2014.

Editor's Pick 2014: <br>California droughts are but one factor in higher retail produce prices

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The severity and duration of the ongoing drought in California has raised concerns over its role in rising food prices at the grocery store, especially for fresh fruits and vegetables. In 2012, California produced nearly 50 percent (by value) of the nation’s vegetables and non-citrus fruit. Droughts in California are generally associated with higher retail prices for produce, but price increases are lagged due to the time it takes for weather conditions and planting decisions to alter crop production, which then influence retail prices. In 2005, following five years of drought, retail fruit prices rose 3.7 percent and retail vegetable prices increased 4 percent. Prices continued to rise in 2006, one year after drought conditions began to improve. However, other factors such as energy prices and consumer demand also affect retail produce prices. For example, prices for fresh produce fell in 2009 despite drought conditions, as the 2007-09 recession reduced foreign and domestic demand for many retail foods. As of October 2014, ERS analysts are forecasting fresh fruit prices to increase 4.5 to 5.5 percent in 2014 and vegetable prices to be 2 to 3 percent higher. This chart appears in the Food Prices and Consumers section of the 2014 California Drought page on the ERS website. Information on ERS’s food price forecasts can be found in ERS’s Food Price Outlook data product, updated October 24, 2014. Originally published Thursday October 30, 2014.

Editor's Pick 2014: <br>Nomadic commercial honey bee pollinators vital to some U.S. crops

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The successful cultivation of many U.S. specialty and orchards crops (including almonds, sunflowers, canola, grapes, and apples) is dependent upon commercial insect pollination. The European honey bee is largely preferred over other pollinators due to their relative ease of transport and management. Migration routes often include a stop in California to pollinate almonds in early spring. An estimated 60-75 percent of U.S. commercial hives are employed for the State’s almond bloom, which draws hives from as far away as Florida and Texas. Migratory paths diverge after the almond bloom; some beekeepers remain in California while others move north to service mainly orchard and berry crops, and others depart for southern and eastern States to pollinate a variety of specialty field crops. During the pollination season, an estimated 65-80 percent of commercial hives spend part of the summer foraging in the northern Great Plains. At the end of the summer, many operations return their hives to overwintering sites in southern States. Find this map and further discussion on U.S. pollination markets in Fruit and Tree Nut Outlook.

U.S. strawberry consumption continues to grow

Thursday, December 18, 2014

U.S. per capita strawberry use has generally trended higher since 1980, and the current production forecast supports the outlook for continued growth in 2014. Per capita use of fresh strawberries is expanding the fastest, reaching a record 7.9 pounds in 2013, in response to greater awareness of the importance of healthy diets, increased year-round availability through domestic production and imports, and adoption of improved varieties. The current USDA forecast for strawberry production in the three major strawberry-producing States?California, Oregon, and Florida?indicates combined output of 3.05 billion pounds in 2014, up 3 percent from last year. Production is forecast to increase 2 percent in California and 11 percent in Florida, but decline 3 percent in Oregon. Despite drought conditions, strawberry area in California is forecast to remain steady from a year ago at 41,500 acres, with higher yields per acre boosting production to a record 2.82 billion pounds. Even with a larger domestic crop and increased imports from Mexico and Canada, retail prices of fresh strawberries are averaging about 12 percent higher during the first 10 months of 2014 compared with a year earlier. Find this chart and additional analysis in Fruit and Tree Nut Outlook: September 2014.

Continued large supplies likely to temper cranberry prices

Friday, November 21, 2014

U.S. supplies of processed cranberries will likely remain large despite a small drop in forecast production for 2014, continuing downward pressure on cranberry grower prices. Cranberry production in 2014 is forecast at 8.57 million barrels (100 lbs each), down 4 percent from the record 2013 output, but still the second largest on record. Weather conditions reduced yields in Wisconsin, the largest producing State which accounts for about 60 percent of production, but generally favorable weather benefited the crops in Massachusetts, Oregon, and Washington. Following consecutive large harvests during 2011-2013, grower prices dropped 33 percent from $47.9 per barrel in 2012 to $32.3 per barrel 2013. This decline mostly reflected lower prices received for processing-use cranberries, which account for about three-quarters of domestic sales. For 2014, continued weak demand for some processed products and above-average beginning inventories signal continued weak grower prices. Find this chart and additional analysis in Fruit and Tree Nut Outlook: September 2014.

California droughts are but one factor in higher retail produce prices

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The severity and duration of the ongoing drought in California has raised concerns over its role in rising food prices at the grocery store, especially for fresh fruits and vegetables. In 2012, California produced nearly 50 percent (by value) of the nation’s vegetables and non-citrus fruit. Droughts in California are generally associated with higher retail prices for produce, but price increases are lagged due to the time it takes for weather conditions and planting decisions to alter crop production, which then influence retail prices. In 2005, following five years of drought, retail fruit prices rose 3.7 percent and retail vegetable prices increased 4 percent. Prices continued to rise in 2006, one year after drought conditions began to improve. However, other factors such as energy prices and consumer demand also affect retail produce prices. For example, prices for fresh produce fell in 2009 despite drought conditions, as the 2007-09 recession reduced foreign and domestic demand for many retail foods. As of October 2014, ERS analysts are forecasting fresh fruit prices to increase 4.5 to 5.5 percent in 2014 and vegetable prices to be 2 to 3 percent higher. This chart appears in the Food Prices and Consumers section of the 2014 California Drought page on the ERS website. Information on ERS’s food price forecasts can be found in ERS’s Food Price Outlook data product, updated October 24, 2014.

Fruit and tree nut grower prices increase as supplies tighten

Monday, October 27, 2014

The index of prices received by U.S. fruit and tree nut growers has remained consistently above year-ago levels and 2010-12 average levels during 2014. The August grower price index for fruit and tree nuts was up 13 percent from a year earlier and 28 percent above the 2010-12 average. Late 2013 freezes in California and citrus greening issues in Florida have affected U.S. citrus crops and bolstered prices for most citrus fruit in 2014, with U.S. fresh orange prices reaching highs not seen since the early 1990s. Forecast smaller crops for grapes, peaches, and pears are contributing to elevated prices for non-citrus fruits. Lower expected production of some crops in California, as well as several other States, is contributing to the outlook for smaller overall harvests. Drought remains a serious concern among California fruit and tree nut growers, particularly if the lack of water for growing crops lingers through next year’s growing season. Find this chart and additional analysis in Fruit and Tree Nut Outlook: September 2014.

Shortage of Mexican limes leads to sharp spike in U.S. prices

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Since disease, pest outbreaks, and severe storm damage led to the decline of U.S. commercial lime production in the early 2000s, nearly all U.S. demand for fresh limes has been met through imports, originating almost exclusively from Mexico. Monthly shipment volumes and U.S. prices of limes generally reflect the seasonal pattern of supplies from Mexico, with lower volumes and higher prices during the winter months. In the spring of 2014, U.S. prices for limes spiked to record levels after heavy rainfall in Veracruz, Mexico in the fall of 2013 that led to a smaller harvest of Persian limes. The average shipping-point f.o.b. (free-on-board) price for Mexican limes peaked at $79.65 per 40-pound carton in April 2014, more than 3 times higher than in April 2013. National average advertised retail prices reported by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) show that prices climbed to $1.02 per lime in April 2014, over triple the April 2013 price of $0.29 per lime. The price spike subsided by July 2014, as lime shipments increased with the beginning of the spring harvest in April 2014. Although there was speculation that a cartel in the state of Michoacán was behind the sharp rise in prices, that region primarily grows key limes rather than the Persian variety that is exported to the United States. Find this chart and additional analysis in Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook.

Seasonality of grower prices for strawberries influenced by market changes

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Developments in fresh fruit markets over the past 30 years, including changing production patterns, increased imports, improved storage, and shifts in consumer demand, have influenced the seasonal pattern of prices faced by U.S. growers. ERS analysis indicates that market conditions unique to each commodity affect the seasonality of grower prices. Products such as strawberries demonstrate a classic seasonal pattern for fresh produce, with higher prices at the beginning and/or end of the marketing season. However, there have been changes over time in the months when low and high fresh strawberry prices are realized. In the 1980s, the average monthly price index was at its lowest point in May, when shipment volumes were near their peak, but by the 2000s the low price point had moved to June, with high grower prices also shifting to later in the year. The range between high and low grower price indices did not change significantly for strawberries over the period studied, but it did for other fresh fruit, such as fresh peaches, grapes, and oranges. Find this chart and more in Evolving U.S. Fruit Markets and Seasonal Grower Price Patterns.

Nomadic commercial honey bee pollinators vital to some U.S. crops

Friday, September 26, 2014

The successful cultivation of many U.S. specialty and orchards crops (including almonds, sunflowers, canola, grapes, and apples) is dependent upon commercial insect pollination. The European honey bee is largely preferred over other pollinators due to their relative ease of transport and management. Migration routes often include a stop in California to pollinate almonds in early spring. An estimated 60-75 percent of U.S. commercial hives are employed for the State’s almond bloom, which draws hives from as far away as Florida and Texas. Migratory paths diverge after the almond bloom; some beekeepers remain in California while others move north to service mainly orchard and berry crops, and others depart for southern and eastern States to pollinate a variety of specialty field crops. During the pollination season, an estimated 65-80 percent of commercial hives spend part of the summer foraging in the northern Great Plains. At the end of the summer, many operations return their hives to overwintering sites in southern States. Find this map and further discussion on U.S. pollination markets in Fruit and Tree Nut Outlook.

U.S. imports of many fruits and vegetables dominated by few source countries

Friday, July 25, 2014

Imported fruits and vegetables account for a growing share of U.S. consumption and in most cases, U.S. imports are sourced from just a few supplying countries. Since 1990, U.S. per capita consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables has held steady, while the share of imports in U.S. fresh fruit consumption has risen from 12 to 34 percent and the import share for vegetables has risen from 10 to 25 percent. Trade has played a role in changing U.S. consumer diets by making produce available outside the traditional U.S. growing season, as well as providing access to a greater variety of produce. Despite the diversity of products available to U.S. consumers, the national sources of these products tend to be relatively concentrated among a few countries, with some variation across commodities. For strawberries, peaches, corn, artichokes, grapes, tomatoes, and cherries, more than 80 percent of imports come from a single country and nearly 100 percent come from just 3 suppliers. Overall, of the 29 imported goods studied by ERS, 18 had a single country supplying more than 80 percent of U.S. imports. Recent ERS research finds that source-country concentration does not appear to be related to U.S. phytosanitary regulations governing fresh fruit and vegetable imports, and may instead arise from market forces such as comparative advantage and specialization. Find more analysis in The Effects of Phytosanitary Regulations on U.S. Imports of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, released July 2014.

Drought affects California agriculture, irrigation water deliveries a growing concern

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The driest year on record for California, following several prior years of drought, is likely to have an impact on the State’s agricultural production in 2014. On January 17, 2014, the Governor of California declared a drought emergency and as of March 4, over 94 percent of California’s nearly $45 billion agricultural sector was experiencing severe, extreme, or exceptional drought. The livestock sector is more directly exposed to exceptional drought (about 62 percent) than the crop sector (just over 50 percent). Given that much of California’s agricultural production takes place on irrigated land, effects of the drought depend on the cost and availability of water from irrigation in addition to local rainfall. Shortages of irrigation water sourced from snowfall are already evident, and the extent to which growers will be able to offset these reduced surface water supplies by pumping groundwater is uncertain. Find the table underlying this chart and additional analysis in California Drought 2014: Farm and Food Impacts.

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