Sort by: Title | Date
  • Farmers Employ Strategies To Reduce Risk of Drought Damages

    Amber Waves, June 05, 2017

    Farmers can improve their drought resilience by making different crop choices, enrolling in crop insurance and other farm risk management programs, and investing in soil health. USDA conservation programs—intended primarily to improve on-site and off-site environmental quality—may also help producers adapt to drought risk.

  • Dedicated Energy Crops and Competition for Agricultural Land

    ERR-223, January 04, 2017

    Markets do not currently exist for large-scale use of renewable feedstocks for bioelectricity. ERS examines three policy scenarios that could create a market for bioelectricity using dedicated energy crops, such as switchgrass.

  • Climate Change, Water Scarcity, and Adaptation in the U.S. Fieldcrop Sector

    ERR-201, November 25, 2015

    U.S. irrigated fieldcrop acreage, and water used, are projected to decline with long-term climate change, due to factors including changes in precipitation, shifts in surface-water availability, and temperature-stressed crop growth.

  • Climate Change, Water Scarcity, and Adaptation

    Amber Waves, November 25, 2015

    Irrigation is widely viewed as an important adaptation to shifting production conditions under climate change. This analysis projects, however, that irrigated fieldcrop acreage will decline as a result of climate change over the 2020 to 2080 study period. Factors driving the shifting relative profitability of irrigation under climate change vary by region.

  • Global Drivers of Agricultural Demand and Supply

    ERR-174, September 18, 2014

    ERS examines hypothetical economic and agricultural sector responses to changes in key drivers of supply and demand in the future-agricultural productivity, population, and per capita income.

  • Adaptation Can Help U.S. Crop Producers Confront Climate Change

    Amber Waves, February 21, 2013

    Adaptive behaviors such as adjusting crop choices and production practices may help farmers mitigate the negative effects of climate change and enable some producers to capitalize on new opportunities.

  • Baselines--Key to the Costs and Benefits of Environmental Markets

    Amber Waves, September 20, 2012

    Recently, markets have been developed that could allow farmers to generate and sell environmental credits when they adopt farming practices that improve the environment. Environmental markets use baselines to determine whether proposed improvements qualify for marketable credits, and setting baseline emissions levels is often a contentious element of market design.

  • Agricultural Adaptation to a Changing Climate: Economic and Environmental Implications Vary by U.S. Region

    ERR-136, July 06, 2012

    ERS models the farm sector's ability to adapt to a changing climate with current practices and technology, and explores economic and environmental implications of adaptation under a range of climate change scenarios.

  • Baselines in Environmental Markets: Tradeoffs Between Cost and Additionality

    EB-18, February 14, 2012

    Markets for farm-based environmental services are designed to allow farmers to sell "credits" for environmental improvements in water quality, carbon sequestration, wetlands restoration, and other areas. These markets use an environmental baseline to help determine whether proposed improvements qualify for market credits, and, if so, the number that should be awarded. Selection of a baseline is often a critical and contentious element in the design of environmental service markets. Due to the complexity and costs associated with defining, measuring, and verifying environmental baseline levels across heterogeneous landscapes, program managers may face a tradeoff between the precision with which changes in environmental performance can be estimated and the cost of refining those estimates. This brief focuses on the issues involved in measuring baselines, the strengths and weaknesses of alternative types of baselines, and the tradeoffs involved when selecting a baseline to measure environmental improvement.

  • Biofuels and Land-Use Change: Estimation Challenges

    Amber Waves, June 16, 2011

    Most studies estimate significant increases in land-use requirements for agricultural production resulting from scaled-up biofuel production. Additional research on variables, such as projected crop yields, will be instrumental in narrowing the bands of uncertainty associated with such projections.

  • Measuring the Indirect Land-Use Change Associated With Increased Biofuel Feedstock Production: A Review of Modeling Efforts: Report to Congress

    AP-054, February 10, 2011

    The House Report 111-181 accompanying H.R. 2997, the 2010 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, requested the USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) in conjunction with the Office of the Chief Economist, to conduct a study of land-use changes for renewable fuels and feedstocks used to produce them. This report summarizes the current state of knowledge of the drivers of land-use change and describes the analytic methods used to estimate the impact of biofuel feedstock production on land use. The models used to assess policy impacts have incorporated some of the major uncertainties inherent in making projections of future conditions, but some uncertainties will continue exist. The larger the impact of domestic biofuels feedstock production on commodity prices and the availability of exports, the larger the international land-use effects of likely to be. The amount of pressure placed on land internationally will depend in part on how much of the land needed for biofuel production is met through an expansion of agricultural land in the United States. If crop yield per acre increases through more intensive management or new crop varieties, then less land is needed to grow a particular amount of that crop.