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.

  • Rice: Background for 1990 Farm Legislation

    AGES-8949, November 01, 1989

    This report address considerations in the 1990 farm bill debate for rice, including market conditions, policy proposals, trade agreements, and the interactions between policy and markets for selected commodities. Rice ranks ninth among major U.S. field crops in terms of value of production. All U.S. rice production is irrigated, providing more stable yields than many other crops. Three classes of rice are produced in the United States-long, medium, and short grain-with long grain predominant. Domestic use and exports of U.S. rice have increased in recent years due in part to the implementation of the marketing loan program in the mid-1980s following declines in both domestic use and exports in the early 1980s. As a result, carryover stocks have declined from a record high of 77.3 million cwt in 1985/86 to 32.4 million cwt in 1988/89. Costs of rice programs, however, rose to an estimated record $1 billion in fiscal year 1989 due to marketing loan costs and increased deficiency payments. Rice growers in the southern rice growing States are rapidly adopting high-yielding, semidwarf varieties of long-grain rice which could raise U.S. production. Rice issues facing farm legislators relate to rising production capacity, stagnant world trade, multilateral trade negotiations, high costs of marketing loans and other rice programs, loan rate differentials between long and medium/short grains, and adjusting the world price formula to further enhance U.S. competitiveness in the world rice market.

  • Market-Oriented Agriculture: The Declining Role of Government Commodity Programs in Agricultural Production Decisions

    AER-671, June 01, 1993

    The portion of U.S. agricultural production covered by government income support payments has declined over the span of the last two 5-year farm acts. Consequently, nongovernmental supply and demand factors (market forces) are becoming more important in influencing farmers' production decisions. This report illustrates how agricultural supply has moved toward greater reliance on market forces (market orientation) by examining the declining role of government commodity programs in production decisions for corn, wheat, rice, and upland cotton. Payment coverage ratios, which measure the percentage of expected production covered by deficiency payments (income support payments made by the Federal Government to producers of certain agricultural commodities), have decreased. Thus, the role of government commodity programs in influencing farmers' production decisions at both the individual farm and national (aggregate) levels has declined. As a result, the share of US. cropland on which planting decisions are made based on market signals has increased, a trend toward market orientation that began with the 1985 farm act and continued with 1990 farm legislation.

  • Rice: Background for 1995 Farm Legislation

    AER-713, April 03, 1995

    This report address considerations in the 1995 farm bill debate for rice, including market conditions, policy proposals, trade agreements, and the interactions between policy and markets for selected commodities. U.S. rice sector income has shown steady growth in recent years, reaching $2.1 billion in 1993/94. However, Government program payments have also grown in importance. Since 1985/86, rice program outlays have averaged $733 million per year, 42 percent of all returns from rice farming. Farm and industry economic health are linked to costs of production which vary significantly across the six rice-producing regions. Because of inflation in the cost of production since the early 1980s, frozen payment yields, reduced target prices, and continued reductions in farm program benefits due to budgetary pressures, some rice farmers have been operating at a loss. Any reductions in current rice program support levels would probably accelerate the trends of a declining number of U.S. rice farms, increasing farm size, and a shift of rice growing from the high-cost production regions along the gulf coast to the upper Delta States, while reducing both the participation rate and dependency on government program revenue.

  • Characteristics and Production Costs of U.S. Rice Farms

    SB-974-7, March 31, 2004

    The average cost of producing a hundred pounds (cwt) of rice was $6.00 for U.S. producers surveyed in 2000, ranging from about $2 per cwt to more than $10. Producers in the lowest quartile of production costs averaged $3.99 per cwt compared with $8.94 for producers in the highest quartile. Regional differences in production practices, farm characteristics, and growing conditions were major influences on production costs among rice producers. More than half of the low-cost farms were located in the Arkansas Non-Delta, the largest rice region. Most high-cost farms were in California and the Gulf Coast regions. Three-quarters of rice production was concentrated on large and very large farms, categories that included nearly two-thirds of all rice farms, but the link between size of enterprise and production costs for rice is weaker than for other commodities. At the marketing-year average price of $5.61 per hundredweight, 78 percent of rice farms were able to cover operating costs and 43 percent covered both their operating and ownership costs of rice production in 2000. After accounting for Government payments, nearly all rice farms (97 percent) were able to cover operating costs in 2000, and about 84 percent were able to cover both operating and ownership costs.

  • Eliminating Fruit and Vegetable Planting Restrictions: How Would Markets Be Affected?

    ERR-30, November 08, 2006

    Participants in U.S. farm programs are restricted from planting and harvesting wild rice, fruit, and most vegetables (nonprogram crops) on acreage historically used for program crops (known as base acreage). However, a recent World Trade Organization challenge to U.S. programs has created pressure to eliminate planting restrictions. Although eliminating restrictions would not lead to substantial market impacts for most fruit or vegetables, the effects on individual producers could be significant. Some producers who are already producing fruit and vegetables could find that it is no longer profitable, while others could profitably move into producing these crops. Producers with base acreage are the most likely to benefit because they would no longer face payment reductions.

  • Rice Backgrounder

    RCS-200601, December 08, 2006

    U.S. rice farming is a high-cost, large-scale production operation that depends on the global market for about half its annual sales. Government payments per acre are high compared with other program crops, as is the share of the sector's income accounted for by payments. While domestic demand for rice continues to grow, the outlook for rice farm incomes is tempered by higher production costs, modest increases in farm prices, and continued strong competition in many international markets from lower cost Asian exporters.

  • Rough Rice Exports Critical to U.S. Rice Producers

    Amber Waves, February 01, 2007

    The U.S. is the fourth largest exporter of rice, but an ever larger share of U.S. rice exports are rough, or unmilled, rice. The main markets are Mexico and Central America, which import rough rice because tariffs are lower than for milled rice. But the U.S. rice sector could be threatened by rising energy costs and reductions of support for U.S. rice producers.

  • USDA Agricultural Projections to 2016

    OCE-2007-1, February 14, 2007

    This report provides longrun (10-year) projections for the agricultural sector through 2016. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices.

  • Valuing Counter-Cyclical Payments: Implications for Producer Risk Management and Program Administration

    ERR-39, February 22, 2007

    Counter-cyclical payments supplement incomes of eligible producers enrolled in commodity programs. ERS developed a computer program that improved upon USDA's method of estimating payment rates and that producers and forecasters can use.

  • The Changing Face of the U.S. Grain System

    ERR-35, February 28, 2007

    Specialty grains coming onto the market (e.g., fiber-enriched wheat) are requiring adjustments in the marketing system, including information documentation and management, in order to preserve their added value or prevent accidental commingling with standard grains.

  • NAFTA at 13: Implementation Nears Completion

    WRS-0701, March 29, 2007

    Implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is drawing to a close. In 2008, the last of NAFTA's transitional restrictions governing U.S.-Mexico and Canada-Mexico agricultural trade will be removed, concluding a 14-year project in which the member countries systematically dismantled numerous barriers to regional agricultural trade. During the implementation period, the agricultural sectors of Canada, Mexico, and the United States have become much more integrated. Agricultural trade within the free-trade area has grown dramatically, and Canadian and Mexican industries that rely on U.S. agricultural inputs have expanded. U.S. feedstuffs have facilitated a marked increase in Mexican meat production and consumption, and the importance of Canadian and Mexican produce to U.S. fruit and vegetable consumption is growing.

  • Indian Wheat and Rice Sector Policies and the Implications of Reform

    ERR-41, May 03, 2007

    The pronounced market cycles and declines in per capita consumption of India's major food staples, as well as budgetary concerns, are creating pressure for Indian policymakers to adjust longstanding policies.

  • U.S. Agricultural Trade Update-State Exports

    FAU-123, June 29, 2007

    U.S. agricultural exports reached a record in fiscal 2006 at $68.7 billion, some $6.2 billion higher than the record set in fiscal 2005. California, Iowa, Texas, and Illinois continued their reign as top exporting States, while Minnesota dropped to seventh position behind Nebraska and Kansas. North Carolina joined the top 10, displacing North Dakota at the number nine position. Feed grain exports moved ahead of soybean exports, with Iowa and Illinois dominating in those markets. California continued to dominate vegetables, fruits, tree nuts, seeds, and dairy.

  • The 2002 Farm Bill: Provisions and Economic Implications

    AP-022, January 23, 2008

    The Farm Security Act of 2002, which governs Federal farm programs for 2002-07, was signed into law on May 13, 2002. This publication presents an overview of the Act and a side-by-side comparison of 1996-2001 farm legislation and the 2002 Act. For selected programs, information is provided to additional analyses of key changes, program overview, and economic implications.

  • Dietary Assessment of Major Trends in U.S. Food Consumption, 1970-2005

    EIB-33, March 28, 2008

    ERS investigates trends in U.S. food consumption from 1970 to 2005. Results suggest many Americans still fall short of Federal dietary recommendations for whole grains, lower fat dairy products, and fruits and vegetables.

  • Global Agricultural Supply and Demand: Factors Contributing to the Recent Increase in Food Commodity Prices

    WRS-0801, July 23, 2008

    World market prices for major food commodities such as grains and vegetable oils have risen sharply to historic highs of more than 60 percent above levels just 2 years ago. Many factors have contributed to the runup in food commodity prices. Some factors reflect trends of slower growth in production and more rapid growth in demand, which have contributed to a tightening of world balances of grains and oilseeds over the last decade. Recent factors that have further tightened world markets include increased global demand for biofuels feedstocks and adverse weather conditions in 2006 and 2007 in some major grain and oilseed producing areas. Other factors that have added to global food commodity price inflation include the declining value of the U.S. dollar, rising energy prices, increasing agricultural costs of production, growing foreign exchange holdings by major food importing countries, and policies adopted recently by some exporting and importing countries to mitigate their own food price inflation.

  • What’s Behind the Surge in Global Rice Prices?

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2008

    U.S. and global rice prices surged to record highs this spring. The rapid price increases were not due to poor harvests, a surge in demand, or a tight global supply situation, but were linked to factors not directly related to rice market fundamentals. The most important factors behind the price surge were export bans, restrictions, and taxes implemented by several major exporting countries in an attempt to assure stable prices for food staples.

  • NAFTA at 15: Building on Free Trade

    WRS-09-03, March 31, 2009

    Implementation of the agricultural provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has drawn to a close. In 2008, the last of NAFTA's transitional restrictions governing U.S.-Mexico and Canada-Mexico agricultural trade were removed, concluding a 14-year project in which the member countries systematically dismantled numerous barriers to regional agricultural trade. During the implementation period, the agricultural sectors of Canada, Mexico, and the United States have become much more integrated. Agricultural trade within the free-trade area has grown dramatically, and Canadian and Mexican industries that rely on U.S. agricultural inputs have expanded. U.S. feedstuffs have facilitated a marked increase in Mexican meat production and consumption, and the importance of Canadian and Mexican produce to U.S. fruit and vegetable consumption is growing.

  • Factors Behind the Rise in Global Rice Prices in 2008

    RCS-09D01, May 07, 2009

    Global rice prices rose to record highs in the spring of 2008, with trading prices tripling from November 2007 to late April 2008. The price increase was not due to crop failure or a particularly tight global rice supply situation. Instead, trade restrictions by major suppliers, panic buying by several large importers, a weak dollar, and record oil prices were the immediate cause of the rise in rice prices. Because rice is critical to the diet of about half the world's population, the rapid increase in global rice prices in late 2007 and early 2008 had a detrimental impact on those rice consumers' well-being. Although rice prices have dropped more than 40 percent from their April 2008 highs, they remain well above pre-2007 levels.