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  • "Dead Zone" in the Gulf: Addressing Agriculture's Contribution

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2003

    Scientists believe that hypoxia in the northern Gulf of Mexico is caused by nitrogen loads from the Mississippi River. Because two-thirds of the nitrogen in the Mississippi River comes from use of fertilizer and manure on agricultural lands, reducing agricultural nitrogen is a major component of the strategy for controlling the hypoxic zone.

  • "Digital Divide" Not to Blame for Rural Earnings Shortfall

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2003

    Workers who use computers on the job generally receive higher wages, suggesting that some workers without computer skills or access to computer technology may be disadvantaged. On-the-job computer use is less common in nonmetropolitan (nonmetro) areas than in metro areas, and wages for nonmetro, or rural, workers are generally lower. But does lower computer use explain the metro-nonmetro wage gap?

  • "No-Till" Farming Is a Growing Practice

    EIB-70, November 02, 2010

    ERS summarizes U.S. trends in the use of reduced-tillage practices on cropland planted to eight major crops--barley, corn, cotton, oats, rice, sorghum, soybeans, and wheat -- from 2000 to 2007, and provides estimates of acreage under no-till in 2009.

  • 2006 Farm Net Cash Income Expected To Decline Slightly

    Amber Waves, February 01, 2007

    This article provides a summary of updated forecasts of value-added and various income measures from production activities in 2006 for the U.S. farm sector, plus the associated forecast of the farm balance sheet. Forecast includes the latest economic information based on crop harvests and livestock production for the 2006 calendar year.

  • 2008 Farm Act Makes It Easier for Food Assistance Households To Save

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2008

    The 2008 Farm Act includes new provisions that make it easier for SNAP households to save, especially for education or retirement. Asset limits that determine eligibility for SNAP benefits will be adjusted annually for inflation beginning in 2012. Assets held in tax-qualified retirement and education accounts will not count against eligibility. An additional 354,000 households are expected to become eligible for SNAP as a result of the exclusion of retirement accounts.

  • 2014 Farm Act Continues Most Previous Trends In Conservation

    Amber Waves, May 05, 2014

    The Agricultural Act of 2014 continues a strong overall commitment to conservation, with an emphasis on working land conservation. Many conservation programs are consolidated into new programs or merged into existing programs. Crop insurance premium subsidies are re-linked to Conservation Compliance (conservation of highly erodible land and wetlands) for the first time since 1996.

  • 2014 Farm Act Maintains SNAP Eligibility Guidelines and Funds New Initiatives

    Amber Waves, July 07, 2014

    The Agricultural Act of 2014 maintains SNAP’s basic eligibility guidelines and includes provisions designed to encourage SNAP recipients to choose healthy foods and to build the skills needed to increase their employment options. Other provisions aim to improve the food environment at schools and in low-income communities.

  • 2014 Farm Act Shifts Crop Commodity Programs Away From Fixed Payments and Expands Program Choices

    Amber Waves, July 07, 2014

    The new Farm Act continues a shift toward closer links between commodity programs and Federal crop insurance, involving complex trade-offs for producers. Read about it in the July issue of Amber Waves magazine.

  • 2014-16 Eating & Health Module User's Guide (2016 Edition)

    AP-070, May 17, 2016

    The 2014-16 Eating & Health Module User's Guide (2016 Edition) provides detailed guidance to researchers on how to use the Module to measure time use and eating patterns.

  • A 30-Day Food Security Scale for Current Population Survey Food Security Supplement Data

    EFAN-02015, August 22, 2002

    This report describes and assesses a 30-day household food security scale that can be applied specifically to Current Population Survey Food Security Supplement (CPS-FSS) data. In the analysis described here, a 30-day scale was originally developed for use in the analysis of the 1995 CPS data. This report revises the scale to make it more consistent with the standard 12-month U.S. food security scale commonly used in food security household analyses. A nonlinear (Rasch-model-based) scaling method was used to statistically assess both the original and revised scales. The report specifies procedures for calculating the revised 30-day scale from CPS-FSS data and classifying households as to 30-day food security status. The report also compares prevalence rates of food insecurity with hunger based on the 30-day scale with those based on the 12-month scale for the years 1998-2000.

  • A Bigger Piece of the Pie: Exports Rising in Share of U.S. Apple Production

    Amber Waves, July 05, 2016

    The domestic market consumes most U.S. fresh-market apples, but export markets have grown in importance for apple growers over the past several decades. U.S. exports of fresh apples have increased steadily during the period, with their share of U.S. production climbing from 14 percent in the mid-1980s to about 28 percent over the last 5 years.

  • A Closer Look at Declining Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Using Linked Data Sources

    Amber Waves, July 05, 2016

    Researchers linked ERS's food availability data with food intake survey data to break down national food and vegetable consumption trends by age, gender, education level, income, and race/ethnic background. They found that declines in fruit and vegetable consumption—driven by falling consumption of orange juice, potatoes and head lettuce—have been steeper for some demographic groups than for others.

  • A Comparison of Food Assistance Programs in Mexico and the United States

    FANRR-6, August 04, 2000

    The social safety nets in Mexico and the United States rely heavily on food assistance programs to ensure food security and access to safe and nutritious foods. To achieve these general goals, both countries' programs are exclusively paid for out of internal funds and both target low-income households and/or individuals. Despite those similarities, economic, cultural, and demographic differences between the countries lead to differences in their abilities to ensure food security and access to safe and nutritious foods. Mexico uses geographic and household targeting to distribute benefits while the United States uses only household targeting. U.S. food assistance programs tend to be countercyclical (as the economy expands, food assistance expenditures decline and vice-versa). Mexican food assistance programs appear to be neither counter- nor procyclical. Food assistance programs have little effect on the extent of poverty in Mexico, while the opposite is true in the United States, primarily because the level of benefits as a percentage of income is much lower in Mexico and a much higher percentage of eligible households receive benefits from food assistance programs in the United States.

  • A Comparison of Household Food Security in Canada and the United States

    ERR-67, December 29, 2008

    Using nationally representative surveys from the United States and Canada, ERS compares rates of food insecurity in economic and demographic subgroups of the two countries.

  • A Consideration of the Devolution of Federal Agricultural Policy

    AER-836, November 01, 2004

    Diverse needs and preferences across the United States provide justification for the devolution, or decentralization, of many Federal Government programs to the State or local level. The move toward devolution, however, has not been evidenced in U.S. agricultural policy, despite significant differences across States in such areas as commodity production, production costs, income distribution, and opportunities for off-farm work. The existing structure of USDA funding and program delivery already reflects an appreciation of the gains from devolution, with some programs accommodating differences in State and regional preferences. This report considers the implications of devolving $22 billion in 2003 budget outlays, mostly for domestic commodity and natural resource programs and rural development and housing programs.

  • A Consistent Food Demand Framework for International Food Security Assessment

    TB-1941, June 29, 2015

    An improved modeling technique accounts for variation in food quality across income groups; the new calibrated model identifies the separate impacts of income, prices, and exchange rates on a country's food consumption.

  • A Dietary Assessment of the U.S. Food Supply: Comparing Per Capita Food Consumption with Food Guide Pyramid Serving Recommendations

    AER-772, December 01, 1998

    Most American diets do not meet Federal Food Guide Pyramid dietary recommendations. On average, people consume too many servings of added fats and sugars and too few servings of fruits, vegetables, dairy products, lean meats, and foods made from whole grains--compared with a reference set of Food Guide Pyramid serving recommendations appropriate to the age and gender composition of the U.S. population. In addition, while the healthfulness of diets has improved over time, the pace of improvement has been uneven. For example, while Americans consumed record amounts of fruits and vegetables in 1996, consumption of caloric sweeteners also reached a 27-year high. This report is the first dietary assessment to use ERS's time-series food supply data to compare average diets with Federal dietary recommendations depicted in the Food Guide Pyramid. Food Guide Pyramid servings were estimated for more than 250 agricultural commodities for 1970-96. New techniques were developed to adjust the data for food spoilage and other losses accumulated throughout the marketing system and the home.

  • A Framework for Analyzing Technical Trade Barriers in Agricultural Markets

    TB-1876, March 01, 1999

    Technical trade barriers are increasingly important in the international trade of agricultural products. Designing technical trade measures that can satisfy the growing demand for food safety, product differentiation, environmental amenities, and product information at the lowest cost to the consumer and to the international trading system requires an understanding of the complex economics of regulatory import barriers. This report proposes a definition and classification scheme to frame discussion and evaluation of such measures. Open-economy models that complement the classification scheme are developed graphically to highlight the basic elements that affect the economic impacts of changes in technical trade barriers.

  • A Historic Enlargement: Ten Countries Prepare To Join the European Union

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2004

    In May 2004, eight Central and Eastern European countries (Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania), plus Cyprus and Malta, will join the European Union (EU). This enlargement of the EU, the largest in its history, will bring profound changes.

  • A History of Sugar Marketing Through 1974

    AER-382, March 01, 1978

    The quota system of regulating the production, importation, and marketing of sugar in the United States through 1974 was an outgrowth of Government regulation of the sugar trade dating from colonial times. Similar systems have developed in most other countries, particularly those which import sugar. The U.S. Sugar Quota System benefited domestic sugar producers by providing stable prices at favorable levels. These prices also encouraged the production and use of substitute sweeteners, particularly high fructose and glucose syrup and crystalline dextrose in various industries. But sugar is still the most widely used sweetener in the United States, although its dominant position is being increasingly threatened.