Publications

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  • Why Have Food Commodity Prices Risen Again?

    WRS-1103, June 28, 2011

    The report describes the factors that have contributed to the large and rapid increase in agricultural prices during the past year. The report focuses particularly on food commodity prices-which have risen 60 percent since June 2010.

  • Where Do Americans Usually Shop for Food and How Do They Travel To Get There? Initial Findings from the National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey

    EIB-138, March 23, 2015

    This report compares food shopping patterns of (1) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households to nonparticipant households, (2) participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC) to nonparticipants, and (3) food-insecure to food-secure households.

    Errata: On September 13, 2016, ERS revised the categorization of households with members categorically eligible for WIC to exclude households where the only categorically eligible member was a child age 5. These children were incorrectly included previously; imputed income measures were also used as these measures became available since the report’s release; revised survey weights were also used to update all estimates in the report. Because of these changes, all of the estimates in the report have been revised. However, the results were not numerically or substantively different after these revisions were made, with one exception— the result that WIC participants were more likely to use supercenters as their primary store was no longer statistically significant. The text has been adjusted to reflect all of these changes.

    The results from EIB-138 were used in three ERS Charts of Note dated March 23, 2015; July 15, 2015; and August 11, 2015; and an Amber Waves feature article “Most U.S. Households Do Their Main Grocery Shopping at Supermarkets and Supercenters Regardless of Income,” dated August 3, 2015. For all but the August 11, 2015, Chart of Note, changes in estimates were not numerically or substantively different. In the August 11, 2015, Chart of Note, the difference between WIC participants’ and nonparticipants’ choice of supercenters as their primary stores was no longer statistically significant.

  • Wheat Outlook: January 2017

    WHS-17a, January 17, 2017

    Wheat Outlook.

  • Weather Effects on Expected Corn and Soybean Yields

    FDS-13G-01, July 26, 2013

    Weather during the growing season is critical for corn and soybean yields. Models for U.S. corn and soybean yields provide estimates of the effects of weather on yields for those crops.

  • 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.

  • USDA Agricultural Projections to 2020

    OCE-111, February 14, 2011

    This report provides longrun (10-year) projections for the agricultural sector through 2020. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices.

  • U.S. Farmers Increase Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops and Favor Multiple Traits - Amber Waves September 2007

    Amber Waves, September 03, 2007

    New 2007 USDA data show that adoption by U.S. farmers of genetically engineered (GE) soybeans, cotton, and corn with herbicide tolerance and/or insect resistance (Bt) traits has been rapid over the 12-year period following commercial introduction.

  • U.S. Corn and Soybean Farmers Apply a Wide Variety of Glyphosate Resistance Management Practices

    Amber Waves, April 04, 2016

    In 2015, ERS found that the percentage of soybean acres treated with glyphosate, by itself or in combination with other herbicides, increased from approximately 25 percent in 1996 to 95 percent in 2006. Farms also increased use of glyphosate-resistance management practices, including herbicide rotation, tillage, scouting for weeds, crop rotation, and other weed control methods.

  • U.S. Agricultural Trading Relationship With China Grows

    Amber Waves, May 04, 2015

    China's "new normal" presents opportunities and challenges for U.S. agricultural exports to China.

  • 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 Soybean Processing Decision

    TB-1897, December 04, 2001

    The gross soybean processing margin (the gross return per bushel of soybeans processed) is the main decision variable that processors use in deciding when and if to make binding commitments to process soybeans on future dates. Understanding how processors choose processing margins for future processing dates from among those available on successive days may help to resolve the ongoing concern about the level of competitiveness in processing agricultural commodities. Processing returns are treated as being equivalent to the returns to a call option. This approach provides the opportunity to simulate processor choice of processing margin by evaluating the incentive of waiting for a larger processing margin versus the incentive of locking in the currently available processing margin for a future date. The approach captures the irreversibility of the decision to process soybeans. Once the decision is made to process soybeans it cannot be economically reversed because of the contractual penalties involved. Processing margins selected using evaluations of these incentives explained variation in soybean crush, whereas spot margins for the corresponding processing dates did not.

  • The Role of Policy and Industry Structure in India's Oilseed Markets

    ERR-17, April 19, 2006

    This report reviews recent developments in India's oilseed sector and assesses the implications of current and potential future policy reforms for the oilseed sector. Extensive policy intervention continues to affect oilseed production, trade, and processing in India. Findings suggest that India's current policy of high tariffs on oilseeds and oil affords little benefit to oilseed producers and imposes high costs on consumers. A reduction in oilseed barriers would encourage processors in India to boost capacity utilization using imported oilseeds, resulting in lower processing costs, and increased net revenues and employment. It would also afford U.S. soybean producers an opportunity for exports.

  • The Renewable Identification Number System and U.S. Biofuel Mandates

    BIO-03, November 08, 2011

    This report provides an overview of how the Renewable Identification Number (RIN) market works to ensure compliance with the Renewable Fuel Standard provision of the Energy Independence and Security Act, as well as how RIN prices are determined and which factors influence their prices.

  • The Profit Potential of Certified Organic Field Crop Production

    ERR-188, July 27, 2015

    Organic corn, soybean, and wheat production has higher total economic costs and lower yields than conventional production. However, price premiums paid to organic producers are an important factor offsetting the higher costs.

  • The Importance of Federal Crop Insurance Premium Subsidies

    Amber Waves, October 20, 2014

    Growth in Federal Crop Insurance (FCI) has generally been attributed to the increase in crop insurance premium subsidies. While ERS research results show the lower costs had only small effects on acreage enrollment, those already enrolled showed an adoption of higher levels of coverage. Results suggest that increasing premium subsidies could cause Government costs to increase rapidly.

  • The Ethanol Decade: An Expansion of U.S. Corn Production, 2000-09

    EIB-79, August 18, 2011

    ERS examines how the farm sector reacted to increased demand for corn needed to fuel a 9-billion-gallon rise in ethanol production in the past decade. In the United States, corn is the primary ethanol feedstock.

  • The Effects of Premium Subsidies on Demand for Crop Insurance

    ERR-169, July 07, 2014

    Increases to premium subsidies can induce farmers to enroll more land in the crop insurance program, but they primarily encourage them to adopt higher levels of coverage on land already enrolled. Effects vary by region and crop type.

  • The Economics of Glyphosate Resistance Management in Corn and Soybean Production

    ERR-184, April 30, 2015

    Corn and soybean growers have an economic incentive to encourage neighbors to manage (rather than ignore) weed resistance to the herbicide glyphosate.

  • 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.

  • The 2014 Farm Act Agriculture Risk Coverage, Price Loss Coverage, and Supplemental Coverage Option Programs' Effects on Crop Revenue

    ERR-204, January 12, 2016

    ERS examines the underlying mechanics of the Agriculture Risk Coverage, the Price Loss Coverage, and the Supplemental Coverage Option programs to see how they affect producer revenues and risk as well as expected program costs.