Amber Waves

Amber Waves presents the broad scope of ERS research and analysis on the economics of food, farming, natural resources, and rural America. The January-February 2018 issue features articles on the administration of SNAP, global agricultural trade, rural healthcare industry employment, and many others.

New from ERS


Nutritional Quality of Foods Acquired by Americans: Findings From USDA’s National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey

ERS investigates possible influences on the foods Americans purchase or otherwise acquire, including consumer income levels, food stores/sources, food-source access, and participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).


Farmland Values, Land Ownership, and Returns to Farmland, 2000-2016

Average farm real estate values grew from $1,483 per acre in 2000 to $3,060 in 2015. Cropland appreciated faster than pastureland. In 2003-14, cropland values increased most in the Corn Belt, Northern Plains, Lake States, and Delta States.

USDA Agricultural Projections to 2027

USDA's 10-year projections for the food and agriculture sector cover major agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the U.S. farm sector, such as farm income.

Highlights From the February 2018 Farm Income Forecast

Net farm income, a broad measure of profits, is forecast to decrease $4.3 billion (6.7 percent) from 2017 to $59.5 billion in 2018, the lowest net farm income level in nominal dollar terms since 2006. Net cash farm income is forecast to decrease $5.0 billion (5.1 percent) to $91.9 billion, the lowest level since 2009. Median household income, which fell 6 percent in 2015 and remained flat in 2016, is forecast to rise 3.5 percent from its 2016 level by 2018 to $78,886 (but decrease 0.8 percent in inflation-adjusted terms).


Using a Policy Index To Capture Trends and Differences in State Administration of USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

ERS study creates a SNAP Policy Index and finds a general trend toward State-level policies that are more accommodative to enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).