Publications

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  • Provisions of the Food Security Act of 1985

    AIB-498, April 01, 1986

    The Food Security Act of 1985 (P.L. 99-198) establishes a comprehensive framework within which the Secretary of Agriculture will administer agriculture and food programs from 1986 through 1990. This report describes the Act's provisions for dairy, wool and mohair, wheat, feed grains, cotton, rice, peanuts, soybeans, and sugar (including income and price supports, disaster payments, and acreage reductions); other general commodity provisions; trade; conservation; credit; research, extension, and teaching; food stamps; and marketings. These provisions are compared with earlier legislation.

  • Economic Assessment of Food Safety Regulations: The New Approach to Meat and Poultry Inspection

    AER-755, July 01, 1997

    USDA is now requiring all Federally inspected meat and poultry processing and slaughter plants to implement a new system called Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) to reduce potentially harmful microbial pathogens in the food supply. This report finds that the benefits of the new regulations, which are the medical costs and productivity losses that are prevented when foodborne illnesses are averted, will likely exceed the costs, which include spending by firms on sanitation, temperature control, planning and training, and testing. Other, nonregulatory approaches can also improve food safety, such as providing market incentives for pathogen reduction, irradiation, and education and labeling to promote safe food handling and thorough cooking.

  • Economics of Water Quality Protection From Nonpoint Sources: Theory and Practice

    AER-782, November 30, 1999

    Water quality is a major environmental issue. Pollution from nonpoint sources is the single largest remaining source of water quality impairments in the United States. Agriculture is a major source of several nonpoint-source pollutants, including nutrients, sediment, pesticides, and salts. Agricultural nonpoint pollution reduction policies can be designed to induce producers to change their production practices in ways that improve the environmental and related economic consequences of production. The information necessary to design economically efficient pollution control policies is almost always lacking. Instead, policies can be designed to achieve specific environmental or other similarly related goals at least cost, given transaction costs and any other political, legal, or informational constraints that may exist. This report outlines the economic characteristics of five instruments that can be used to reduce agricultural nonpoint source pollution (economic incentives, standards, education, liability, and research) and discusses empirical research related to the use of these instruments.

  • Structural Change in U.S. Chicken and Turkey Slaughter

    AER-787, November 02, 2000

    Cost function analyses using data from the U.S. Bureau of the Census reveal substantial scale economies in chicken and turkey slaughter. These economies show no evidence of diminishing as plant size increases, are much greater than those realized in cattle and hog slaughter, and have resulted in a huge increase in plant size over the 1972-92 period. The findings also suggest that consolidation in the chicken and turkey slaughter industry is likely to continue, particularly if the growth in the demand for poultry diminishes.

  • Milk Pricing in the United States

    AIB-761, February 28, 2001

    Over the past 125 years, a complex system of both public and private pricing institutions has evolved to deal with milk production, assembly, and distribution. The pricing of milk in the United States is part market-determined, and part publicly administered through a wide variety of pricing regulations. This report examines the many facets of pricing milk as it moves from the farm gate to alternative users

  • America's Diverse Family Farms: Assorted Sizes, Types, and Situations

    AIB-769, May 25, 2001

    This report describes a farm typology developed by the Economic Research Service (ERS), which categorizes farms into more homogeneous groups than classifications based on sales volume alone, producing a more effective policy development tool. The typology is used to describe U.S. farm structure.

  • Changing Structure of Global Food Consumption and Trade

    WRS-01-1, May 30, 2001

    Higher income, urbanization, other demographic shifts, improved transportation, and consumer perceptions regarding quality and safety are changing global food consumption patterns. Shifts in food consumption have led to increased trade and changes in the composition of world agricultural trade. Given different diets, food expenditure and food budget responses to income and price changes vary between developing and developed countries. In developing countries, higher income results in increased demand for meat products, often leading to increased import of live-stock feed. Diet diversification and increasing demand for better quality and labor-saving products have increased imports of high-value and processed food products in developed countries. Consumer groups in developed countries have also brought attention to organic production of food and the topic of animal welfare. One way in which the public and private sectors have responded to consumer demand for these quality attributes has been by developing and implementing mandatory and voluntary quality control, management, and assurance schemes.

  • Agriculture in Brazil and Argentina: Developments and Prospects for Major Field Crops

    WRS-013, December 28, 2001

    This report identifies key factors underlying the agricultural productivity growth and enhanced international competitiveness of Brazil and Argentina in the past decade. Economic and policy reforms, infrastructure development, and enhanced use of agricultural inputs that drove output growth during the 1990s are discussed. This report also compares Brazilian, Argentine, and U.S. soybean production costs and evaluates the combined impact of production, marketing, and transportation costs on the overall export competitiveness of each country's soybean producers. Finally, the outlook for continued growth in output and exports of key commodities is assessed.

  • Interstate Livestock Movements

    LPDM-10801, June 05, 2003

    This article provides a current national picture of interstate movements of cattle, hogs, and sheep. A better understanding of livestock shipping patterns helps in characterizing the livestock sectors, estimating the economic effects of major disease outbreak, and assessing marketing issues.

  • Structure of the Global Markets for Meat

    AIB-785, September 01, 2003

    Meat trade flows among countries and world regions are determined largely by differences among countries in their resource base, their preferences for meat types and cuts, the extent and character of barriers to trade, and the industry structure. Future growth of meat trade depends on further liberalization of protectionist barriers, eradication of animal diseases, economic development, and population growth. Trade growth is likely to feature greater complexity in trade patterns, with more countries engaging in trade, and with an increased tendency for individual countries to import and export meat cuts and offal from the same animal species.

  • International Trade and Food Safety: Economic Theory and Case Studies

    AER-828, November 07, 2003

    This report examines the conceptual relationships between food safety and international trade and analyzes empirical examples from the meat and poultry, produce, food and animal feed crop, and seafood sectors.

  • Country-of-Origin Labeling: Theory and Observation

    WRS-0402, January 23, 2004

    This report examines the economic rationale behind the various claims about the effects of mandatory country-of-origin labeling, thereby identifying the most likely outcomes. Profits motivate firms to innovate and introduce thousands of new food products each year to satisfy consumers' demand. Yet, food suppliers have generally not emphasized, advertised, or labeled food with U.S. country of origin. The infrequency of "Made in USA" labels on food suggests suppliers do not believe domestic origin is an attribute that can attract much consumer interest. We find little evidence that suppliers would have difficulty supplying such labels if there were sufficient consumer interest.

  • India's Poultry Sector: Development and Prospects

    WRS-0403, February 02, 2004

    Poultry meat is the fastest growing component of global meat demand, and India, the world's second largest developing country, is experiencing rapid growth in its poultry sector. In India, poultry sector growth is being driven by rising incomes and a rapidly expanding middle class, together with the emergence of vertically integrated poultry producers that have reduced consumer prices by lowering production and marketing costs. Integrated production, market transition from live birds to chilled and frozen products, and policies that ensure supplies of competitively priced domestic or imported corn and soybeans are keys to future poultry industry growth in India.

  • Seafood Safety and Trade

    AIB-789-7, February 28, 2004

    This research summarizes three case studies of how trade in seafood products can be affected by food safety concerns.

  • Response to U.S. Foodborne Illness Outbreaks Associated with Imported Produce

    AIB-789-5, February 28, 2004

    This report examines how U.S. and other nations responded to foodborne illness outbreaks traced to internationally-traded food.

  • Food Safety Issues for Meat/Poultry Products and International Trade

    AIB-789-4, February 28, 2004

    This research summarizes three case studies of how trade in meat and poultry products can be affected by food safety concerns.

  • Traceability in the U.S. Food Supply: Economic Theory and Industry Studies

    AER-830, March 18, 2004

    This investigation into the traceability baseline in the United States finds that private sector food firms have developed a substantial capacity to trace.

  • Food Safety Innovation in the United States: Evidence from the Meat Industry

    AER-831, April 01, 2004

    Recent industry innovations improving the safety of the Nation's meat supply include new pathogen tests, high-tech equipment, supply chain management systems, and surveillance networks.

  • Meat and Poultry Plants' Food Safety Investments: Survey Findings

    TB-1911, May 14, 2004

    A national survey of meat slaughter and processing plants indicates that market forces, in conjunction with regulation, have worked to promote the use of more sophisticated food safety technologies.

  • Contracts, Markets, and Prices: Organizing the Production and Use of Agricultural Commodities

    AER-837, November 01, 2004

    Demand for specific product attributes is making contracts the choice over traditional spot markets for many livestock commodities and some major crops-e.g., sugar beets, fruit, tomatoes.