ERS Charts of Note
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Tuesday, September 26, 2023
Fresh strawberry prices tend to exhibit strong seasonal trends in part because of their relatively short shelf life. Even being refrigerated immediately after harvest, fresh-picked strawberries last about 1 to 2 weeks, reducing the ability to store the crop and maintain a consistent supply. In the United States, grower prices for fresh organic strawberries move in tandem with conventional strawberry prices throughout the year while also typically running 40 to 50 percent higher than conventional prices—this difference is known as a “price premium.” In late fall and throughout winter, supply wanes even though demand remains robust. During this period, grower (or farm-gate) price premiums for organic strawberries rise above typical levels. From 2018–22, the highest average price premium was in January, when organic strawberry prices were 74 to 88 percent higher than conventional strawberries. Price premiums in July averaged 18 to 24 percent. Organic strawberry production has increased faster than conventional production. Since 2008, domestic organic strawberry acreage has tripled in California, which provides about 75 percent of U.S. organic strawberry production. This chart updates one that appeared in the USDA, Economic Research Service report The Changing Landscape of U.S. Strawberry and Blueberry Markets: Production, Trade, and Challenges from 2000 to 2020, published in September 2023.
Tuesday, August 22, 2023
While Georgia is on many consumers’ minds when it comes to fresh, juicy peaches, California is by far the largest peach-producing State in the United States. In 2022, California’s harvest yielded 475,000 tons of fruit, with South Carolina a distant second at 67,400 tons, and Georgia in third place with production at 24,800 tons. California has been the long-time leading producer both for freestone peaches for the fresh market and clingstone peaches for processing. However, the State’s peach production has been trending lower for almost two decades, contributing to an overall drop in U.S. peach production. Total production in the United States in 2022 was estimated at 625,680 tons, 8 percent smaller than the crop in 2019. In 2022, California’s peach harvest was about 5 percent smaller than in 2019 and nearly 27 percent lower than 10 years earlier. Latest reports from USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service forecast 2023 peach production to be 13 percent lower than in 2022. Georgia and South Carolina peaches were beset with challenging weather conditions that included unseasonably warm weather in late winter followed by late spring cold snaps. This chart first appeared in the USDA, Economic Research Service Fruit and Tree Nut Outlook, published in September 2022, and has been updated with recent data.
Thursday, August 3, 2023
If you are reaching for a slice of melon to cool off from the summer heat, chances are watermelon is your first choice. Since 2000, watermelon has gained a larger share of U.S. melon availability (calculated by adding production and import volumes and then subtracting exports). In 2022, watermelon accounted for more than half of U.S. melon availability, double the share of every other melon variety combined. An estimated 21.1 pounds of melons were available in 2022 for each U.S. consumer to eat, with watermelon accounting for 14.1 pounds, cantaloupe for 5.3 pounds, honeydew for 1.6 pounds, and all other melons making up the remaining slice. Increases in watermelon availability, by both volume and share, correspond with overall growth in melon imports, which first served to bridge supply gaps during nongrowing seasons in the United States. Most of the melons consumed in the United States are grown domestically, but imports are capturing a growing share of the fresh melon market. Since the 1980s, imports have increased from an average share of less than 10 percent to almost 40 percent over the last 5 years. U.S. imports of watermelons now come mostly from Mexico, with increasing volumes from Guatemala and Honduras. Cantaloupe and honeydew imports ship mostly from Guatemala and Honduras, with lower volumes from Mexico. This chart first appeared in the USDA, Economic Research Service’s Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook, published in March 2023.
Monday, July 31, 2023
Imports play a vital and increasingly important role in ensuring that fresh fruit and vegetables are available year-round in the United States. Since the 2008 completion of the transition to tariff- and quota-free trade among Mexico, Canada, and the United States under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), U.S. fresh fruit and vegetable imports have increased with few interruptions. Between 2007 and 2021, the percent of U.S. fresh fruit and vegetable availability supplied by imports grew from 50 to 60 percent for fresh fruit and from 20 to 38 percent for fresh vegetables (excluding potatoes, sweet potatoes, and mushrooms). The import share increased by more than 20 percentage points during this period for 10 crops: asparagus, avocados, bell peppers, blueberries, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, raspberries, snap beans, and tomatoes. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), implemented on July 1, 2020, continues NAFTA’s market access provisions for fruit and vegetables. In 2022, Mexico and Canada supplied 51 percent and 2 percent, respectively, of U.S. fresh fruit imports, and 69 percent and 20 percent, respectively, of U.S. fresh vegetable imports in terms of value. This chart is drawn using data from the USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS) data products Fruit and Tree Nuts Yearbook Data and Vegetables and Pulses Yearbook Data. Also refer to the ERS report, Changes in U.S. Agricultural Imports from Latin America and the Caribbean, published in July 2023, and ERS’s Amber Waves feature, U.S. Fresh Vegetable Imports From Mexico and Canada Continue To Surge, published in November 2021.
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.
Tuesday, March 14, 2023
March 14 is known to many as Pi Day. The date resembles the mathematical constant π, roughly equal to 3.14, and for that reason, many celebrate the day by enjoying their favorite type of pie. In 2021, the United States grew $6.9 billion worth of seven popular fruits, vegetables, and tree nuts often used as the main ingredient in pie making. The value of production of these seven commodities in 2021, as measured by U.S. cash receipts, was the highest for apples, which are produced abundantly in the United States both in terms of volume and production value. The U.S. apple crop exceeded $3.03 billion in 2021, whereas production of blueberries reached $1.1 billion. Cash receipts for other fruit pie ingredients, cherries and peaches, were valued at $950 million and $624 million, respectively. Pecans, a tree nut, were valued at $551 million in terms of U.S. cash receipts. The pear crop of 2021 was valued at $373 million, while production of pumpkins, the fall icon and mainstay of the holiday table, was valued at $231 million. This chart is drawn from USDA, Economic Research Service’s Fruit and Tree Nuts and Vegetables and Pulses Yearbook Tables.
Wednesday, December 7, 2022
Fresh oranges have long been a favorite fruit of U.S. consumers. They currently rank fourth among fresh fruit in per capita availability (a proxy for consumption) after bananas, melons, and apples. Nonetheless, the U.S. palate has changed over the last several decades. Between 2000 and 2022, domestic availability of fresh oranges fell from 11.7 pounds to 8.3 pounds per person, stabilizing over the last decade between 8 and 10 pounds depending on market conditions. At the same time, the tangerine citrus commodity group has soared in popularity, with per capita availability more than doubling between 2000 and 2022. This broad group includes tangelos, mandarins, clementines, and traditional tangerines. A comparison of per capita fresh tangerine and fresh orange availability over the last 20 years shows the share going to tangerines increasing from 20 to 40 percent. Growth of the U.S. tangerine market coincides with the launch of marketing campaigns for easy-peel seedless mandarins by some of the more prominent citrus supply companies. This chart is based on USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS) Fruit and Tree Nuts Yearbook Tables, released November 2022. The data for this chart do not account for spoilage, waste, and other losses. For data that takes these losses into account, see ERS’ Loss Adjusted Food Availability.
Monday, November 21, 2022
With the 2022 U.S. cranberry harvest wrapping up just in time for Thanksgiving, this year’s crop is forecast to be 5 percent larger than last year’s crop. The 2022 cranberry crop is estimated at 7.44 million barrels but is expected to be smaller than in any of the previous three years (2018–20). Cranberry production, as measured by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), comes from four States: Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Oregon, and New Jersey. In Wisconsin, the largest growing State, production is forecast at 4.3 million barrels, up 3 percent from last year. Larger crops are expected in all States but most prominently in Massachusetts, where production is forecast at 2 million barrels, an 11 percent increase from last year. According to NASS, Wisconsin and Massachusetts growers reported the crop experienced cold, wet weather and hail early in the growing season, stalling the planting season. However, warmer temperatures and better weather conditions helped cranberry plants and berries to develop. This chart is drawn from USDA, Economic Research Service’s Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook, September 2022.
Monday, November 7, 2022
The USDA offers various risk management products to specialty crop farmers through the Federal Crop Insurance Program (FCIP). FCIP policies can mitigate risks by providing payments if insured crops experience losses caused by naturally occurring events (such as weather-related conditions) and market conditions. Specialty crops are a commodity group which includes fresh or dried fruits; tree nuts; vegetables; pulse crops such as dry beans, peas, and lentils; and horticulture nursery crops. California led the country in FCIP policies for specialty crops in 2020 (19,433), followed by Florida (5,060), Washington (4,233), North Dakota (3,860), and Minnesota (2,526). These States also produce the most fruits and vegetables (California, Florida, and Washington) and specialty field crops (North Dakota and Minnesota). California’s policies reflect the variety of specialty crops produced in the State, including almonds, grapes, oranges, walnuts, and raisins. Most North Dakota policies cover field crops—dry beans and dry peas. In 2020, specialty crops accounted for 25 percent of the value of U.S. crop production. This chart appears in the USDA, Economic Research Service bulletin Specialty Crop Participation in Federal Risk Management Programs, published in September 2022.
Tuesday, November 1, 2022
USDA operates various Federal crop insurance and disaster aid programs to help producers mitigate the risks of agricultural production such as weather, price, or pests. But when sufficient data is not available to create an actuarially sound insurance product (one in which premiums paid should approximately equal indemnity payments), then producers can apply to the USDA, Farm Service Agency’s Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP). NAP covered about 115 million total acres in 2017. Specialty crops, which include fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and horticulture nursery crops, are often grown in areas where there are suitable soil and weather conditions. In 2020, North Carolina and New York had the highest number of specialty crop NAP applications. Each State had more than 5,000 applications. Across the U.S., NAP applications were made for 147 different specialty crops in 2020. This chart appears in the Economic Research Service report Specialty Crop Participation in Federal Risk Management Programs, published in September 2022.
Thursday, October 20, 2022
Errata: On Oct. 25, 2022, a clarification was made for Florida's ranking in citrus production.
On September 28, 2022, Hurricane Ian made landfall as a category 4 hurricane on the southwest coast of Florida, the United States’ top producer of oranges. The hurricane crossed the peninsula, bringing severe winds and rainfall to some of the State’s foremost citrus-producing counties. Many of these same counties were affected by Hurricane Irma 5 years earlier. When Irma hit in September 2017, the State’s citrus production was already on a downward trajectory from diseases and other factors reducing acreage and yields. Florida’s citrus production fell by 1.3 million tons from the hurricane-free 2016/17 season, with the total value of production dropping 39 percent. On October 12, 2022, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service released a citrus production estimate of about 1.4 million tons for the 2022/23 crop year. This forecast is 32 percent below total production from the previous season and does not take into consideration losses from Ian. While 2017 and 2022 hurricane events are distinct from one another, the effects of Irma can be used as a proxy to estimate the potential impact on value until the impact on the State’s total citrus production can be fully assessed. This chart is based on USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS) Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook Report, released September 2022, and ERS’ Fruit and Tree Nuts Yearbook Tables, released October 2021, and has been updated with recent data.
Wednesday, September 28, 2022
From sweet and juicy to tart and crisp, apples grown in the United States vary with a wide range of characteristics. Prices received by apple producers reflect consumer preferences for these varied attributes, as well as production-related factors, including volume harvested, cultivation methods, and storability. In the State of Washington, where two-thirds of all U.S. apples are grown, price and production data for more than 20 different apple varieties are collected and published by the Washington State Tree Fruit Association. The iconic Red Delicious apple led production among varieties in Washington in the 2018/19 marketing year. This variety alone accounted for more than 29 million 40-pound boxes, or 25 percent of Washington State’s apple production for both domestic and international use. Red Delicious apples are usually harvested with a single pass through the orchard and are the easiest and least expensive variety for growers to harvest. In 2018/19, the price of a 40-pound box was $17.65, among the lowest of all varieties surveyed. Over the last two decades, varieties including Gala, Fuji, Granny Smith, and Honeycrisp have gained popularity among consumers. Honeycrisp apples are prized for their firm flesh and balance of both sweet and tart flavors—making them a popular snacking apple. Growing consumer demand has helped to elevate Honeycrisp production to more than 12 million 40-pound boxes in 2018/19 and supports both a retail- and farm-price premium. In 2018/19 Honeycrisp was Washington’s highest priced apple at $53.39 for a 40-pound box. Farm prices for Honeycrisp apples are higher, in part, because of elevated labor costs associated with harvest. Because this cultivar does not uniformly ripen, up to five passes through the orchard are required to harvest a crop of Honeycrisp apples. This chart is drawn from the USDA, Economic Research Service’s “Supplement to Adjusting to Higher Labor Costs in Selected U.S. Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Industries: Case Studies,” August 2022.
Monday, September 26, 2022
There are two permanent Federal options for specialty crop farmers to protect themselves against losses from natural disasters, but usage varies widely across fruit and nut crops. The USDA Risk Management Agency offers Federal Crop Insurance Program (FCIP) products to cover specialty crops in counties with enough data available to offer an actuarially sound insurance product. For crops grown in counties without enough data to provide FCIP products, coverage is available through the USDA Farm Service Agency Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP). Using cherries as an example, FCIP is available for cherry growers who operate in counties with a high number of cherry acres. Because of this, farmers used FCIP to cover about 65 percent of all cherry acres. Cherry growers outside of those counties used NAP policies to cover about 20 percent of all cherry acres, leaving only 15 percent of acres not covered by any risk management program. For some crops, however, Federal agricultural risk management programs covered only a small portion of acres. Kiwifruits and strawberries had less than 15 percent of acres covered by either FCIP or NAP, while hazelnuts had less than 1 percent. This chart appears in the Economic Research Service bulletin Specialty Crop Participation in Federal Risk Management Programs, published in September 2022.
Wednesday, August 3, 2022
When the summer heat is on, many people crave a slice of cool, refreshing watermelon. Those same high temperatures are ideal for producing watermelons, which require consistently warm temperatures during the growing season. Commercially, U.S. watermelons are mostly produced in southern States with harvest occurring during the late spring and summer months. Florida, Georgia, California, and Texas accounted for three-fourths of the 3.4 billion pounds of watermelon produced domestically in 2021. Historically, Florida is the top watermelon-producing State and in 2021, this State alone accounted for 30 percent (1.016 billion pounds) of U.S. production. When both Georgia and Texas experienced production loss in 2021 because of cool spring weather, California moved up to outrank Texas as the third-highest watermelon-producing State in 2021. Because of lower production, the United States imported a record 1.787 billion pounds of watermelon in 2021, which accounted for 37 percent of available domestic supply. This chart was drawn from the USDA, Economic Research Service’s March 2022 Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook.
Monday, May 2, 2022
U.S. consumers’ fondness for avocados has taken off since the early 2000s. From 2000 to 2021, the quantity of avocados available per person, a proxy for consumption, tripled to more than 8 pounds per person. The United States has produced an average of about 400 million pounds of avocados each year since 2000, but production has slowly declined since 2011 with a decline in U.S. avocado acreage. Imports have risen to support year-round demand. Imported avocados now account for 90 percent of the domestic supply compared with 40 percent in the early 2000s. In the 2020/21 marketing year, U.S. avocado imports reached a record high of 2.675 billion pounds. Mexico is the leading global producer of avocados, and the United States is the main destination for Mexico’s avocado exports. The United States imported an annual average of 2.25 billion pounds from Mexico in 2019–21 compared with 55 million pounds in 2001–03. From 2019–21, 88 percent of all shipments came from Mexico, while 7 percent came from Peru, 3 percent from the Dominican Republic, and 1 percent from Chile. This chart appears in the USDA, Economic Research Service’s Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook, March 2022.
Wednesday, November 24, 2021
The U.S. harvest season for cranberries runs from around mid-September until the end of October, just in time for Thanksgiving. Total U.S. production of cranberries in 2021 is forecast for 7.9 million barrels, up less than 1 percent from last year. In three of the four top cranberry-producing States—Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and Oregon—output is expected to increase slightly from last year. Wisconsin, the largest producer of cranberries in the United States, grew roughly 59 percent of the crop in 2020. Production in this State is expected to increase 1 percent from 2020 to 4.7 million barrels in 2021. In Massachusetts and Oregon, production volumes are forecast at 2.1 and 0.6 million barrels, respectively, representing slight net increases. In contrast, 2021 output is forecast to decrease in New Jersey; however, this decline is more than offset by gains in other States. Production of cranberries has gradually increased since 1990 as consumption has expanded from seasonal to year-round. This increase is driven in part by the rise in cranberries used in processing (mainly for juice and juice blends). This chart is drawn from Economic Research Service’s Fruit and Tree Nut Outlook, September 2021.
Monday, August 30, 2021
Apples held the top spot for total fruit available for consumption in 2019 at more than 25 pounds per person after adjusting for losses. The USDA, Economic Research Service’s (ERS) loss-adjusted food availability data are derived from food availability data by adjusting 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 12.6 pounds (equivalent to 1.4 gallons) of apple juice, roughly 10 pounds of fresh apples, and a total of 3.3 pounds of canned, dried, and frozen apples in 2019. Among the top seven consumed fruits in 2019, apples were the only fruit available in all five forms: fresh, canned, frozen, dried, and juice. Pineapples were the only other canned option among these seven fruits, while strawberries were the only other frozen fruit available. Bananas (13.4 pounds per person) topped the list of most popular fresh fruits, while orange juice (16.7 pounds or 1.9 gallons) remained America’s favorite fruit juice. The data for this chart come from the Loss-Adjusted Food Availability data series in the ERS Food Availability (Per Capita) Data System, updated July 21, 2021.
Wednesday, May 19, 2021
To keep up with growing consumer demand for strawberries, U.S. fresh strawberry production has increased over the last two decades (from 2000-19). In the United States, fresh strawberries are primarily grown in California (roughly 90 percent annually) and Florida (about 8 percent), followed by New York, North Carolina, Oregon, and Washington. With the development of newer varieties, strawberry season has expanded in both California and Florida. California produces strawberries year-round with peak harvest spanning from early spring until fall. California production has now increased from July to October with higher yielding varieties on decreased acreage, and shipments were 220 percent higher in 2019 than in 2000. Florida’s strawberry season typically begins in December and goes through March, but with the use of an early yielding variety, the Florida strawberry season now begins in November with relatively small volumes. Florida’s strawberry shipments more than doubled between 2000 and 2019. From all locations, strawberry supplies in the United States typically begin to rise in the spring, which is the perfect season to pick strawberries since National Pick Strawberries Day is on May 20. This information is from the special article Evolving Trends in the U.S. Fresh Strawberry Market in the Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook Report: March 2021.
Friday, March 12, 2021
March 14 is known to many as Pi Day. When written as 3.14, the date resembles the mathematical constant, π, and for that reason, many celebrate the day’s circular reference by enjoying their favorite pie. In 2019, the United States grew $5.9 billion worth of seven of the fruits, vegetables, and tree nuts that tend to be popular for use as the main ingredient in pie making. The value of production of these seven commodities in 2019, as measured by U.S. cash receipts, was the highest for apples, which are produced abundantly in the United States both in terms of volume and production value. The U.S. apple crop reached a value of $2.75 billion in 2019, whereas production of blueberries reached $935 million. Cash receipts for other tasty fruit pie ingredients, cherries and peaches, were valued at $696 million and $519 million, respectively. As tree nuts, pecans are possibly one of America’s favorite non-fruit pie ingredients, and were valued at $471 million in terms of U.S. cash receipts. The pear crop of 2019 was valued at $315 million, while production of pumpkins, the ever-popular fall icon and mainstay of the holiday table, was valued at $180 million. This chart is drawn from Economic Research Service’s Fruit and Tree Nuts and Vegetables and Pulses Yearbook Tables.
Wednesday, November 25, 2020
The holidays may look a little different this year, but apple pie is likely still on the table. The U.S. apple crop in the 2019/20 season (August to July) was the sixth largest on record, with total production reaching 11 billion pounds. Total utilized production, which includes production that is actually sold, was 10.6 billion pounds. In June 2020, apples in storage hit a record high of 47.9 million bushels, up 24 percent from the same time last year. The increase in domestic supplies received a further boost by a decrease in U.S. exports stemming from high tariffs from India and China. This overall increase in supplies led to lower grower prices in 2019/20. For the 2020/21 season, total production is projected 3 percent lower than the prior season (total utilized production is estimated at 10.3 billion pounds), with production in Washington, the Nation’s leading apple producer, similarly down 3 percent. The quantity of apples harvested may be even lower because of labor supply uncertainties surrounding the pandemic. Apples for the processed market are also expected to decrease, notably in Pennsylvania (17 percent) and Virginia (16 percent). Bagged apples, however, are currently in demand and are likely to stay in demand for apple pie season. This chart is based on the ERS Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook, released September 2020.