Publications

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  • Younger Beginning Farmers Tend To Operate Larger Farms

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2013

    In 2011, 11 percent of beginning farm operators under age 35 had gross farm sales of $250,000 or more, compared with 6 percent of beginning operators age 35-49 and 1 percent of those age 50 and older. As a result, young beginning farm households tend to earn more on their farm and less off their farm than other beginning farm households.

  • With Adequate Productivity Growth, Global Agriculture Is Resilient to Future Population and Economic Growth

    Amber Waves, December 01, 2014

    If agricultural productivity growth slows in future years, how will global agricultural output, consumption, land use, and prices adjust? To address this question, ERS researchers recently used the agency’s global agricultural and energy economic model—the Future Agricultural Resources Model (FARM)—to simulate agricultural markets in 2050 under a range of different scenarios.

  • Who Is Adopting Organic Farming Practices?

    Amber Waves, October 24, 2013

    In response to rising demand for organic products, a growing number of farmers have had to adopt new (to them) organic production practices and establish new marketing channels. Early adopters of innovative farming practices tend to be operators of larger farms and have higher levels of schooling and stronger links to outside sources of information than other farmers.

  • Wheat Outlook: March 2009

    WHS-09C01, March 24, 2009

    The recent historic rise in farm input costs and wheat prices has had economic effects on the U.S. wheat sector. A cumulative distribution of forecasted production costs for wheat farms shows that current high (but falling) wheat prices will allow a greater share of producers to cover their production costs in 2008 (90 percent) than in 2004 (82 percent), despite higher input costs in 2008. However, if farm-gate prices for wheat continue to fall into 2009, and if prices for inputs do not drop off similarly, many more wheat producers may find themselves unable to cover production costs and the U.S. wheat sector may see further attrition of planted area.

  • Vegetables and Pulses Outlook: September 2014

    VGS-354, September 30, 2014

    Despite the decrease in domestic production of fresh-market vegetables, both producer and consumer prices are down as import volumes fill the gaps.

  • Vegetables and Pulses Outlook: October 2017

    VGS-359, October 27, 2017

    Flooding, hurricanes, and drought disrupt otherwise strong vegetable and dry pulse markets.

  • Vegetables and Pulses Outlook: May 2015

    VGS-355, May 01, 2015

    Total vegetables and pulses output volume rose 5 percent in 2014 despite ongoing drought and water shortages in California, where 40 percent of U.S. vegetables and pulses are grown.

  • Vegetables and Pulses Outlook: March 2013

    VGS-353, March 29, 2013

    According to the California Processing Tomato Report, National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA, California tomato processors intend to contract 2.8 percent more processing tomatoes in 2013 than the previous year.

  • Vegetables and Pulses Outlook: August 2016

    VGS-357, August 30, 2016

    Dry Edible Peas Harvested Area at Record-High.

  • Vegetables and Pulses Outlook: April 2017

    VGS-358, April 28, 2017

    On a per capita basis, the total volume of vegetables and pulses averaged 383 pounds in 2016—up 2 percent from last year.

  • Vegetables and Pulses Outlook: April 2016

    VGS-356, April 29, 2016

    U.S. production of commercial vegetables and dry pulses (including mushrooms, potatoes, and sweet potatoes) totaled 127 billion pounds in 2015, down less than 1 percent from 2014.

  • Vegetables and Melons Outlook: September 2009

    VGS-328-01, September 09, 2008

    Vegetable and melon production requires a substantial investment in production inputs. Using data from USDA's Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS), this article presents and explores the major expense components of specialized U.S. and regional vegetable and melon farms during 1998-2006. Total cash expenses per acre for specialized U.S. vegetable and melon farms increased 32 percent between 1998-2000 and 2004-06 and were highest in the West and lowest in the Midwest. Labor accounted for 30 percent of U.S. cash expenses, followed by fertilizer and agricultural chemicals at 18 percent.

  • Vegetables and Melons Outlook: February 2011

    VGS-342-01, February 03, 2011

    This report presents a financial snapshot of the U.S. vegetable and melon farms by region and farm size over three 3-year periods (1999-2007).

  • Urban Areas Prove Profitable for Farmers Selling Directly to Consumers

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2010

    In 2007, $1.2 billion of farm products were sold directly to consumers by 136,800 farms, or 6 percent of all farms. Direct sales are highest in the urban corridors in the Northeast and on the West Coast.

  • Understanding U.S. Farm Exits

    ERR-21, June 30, 2006

    The rate at which U.S. farms go out of business, or exit farming, is about 9 or 10 percent per year, comparable to exit rates for nonfarm small businesses in the United States. U.S. farms have not disappeared because the rate of entry into farming is nearly as high as the exit rate. The relatively stable farm count since the 1970s reflects exits and entries essentially in balance. The probability of exit is higher for recent entrants than for older, more established farms. Farms operated by Blacks are more likely to exit than those operated by Whites, but the gap between Black and White exit probabilities has declined substantially since the 1980s. Exit probabilities differ by specialization, with beef farms less likely to exit than cash grain or hog farms.

  • Understanding Farm Income’s Role in Farm Household Finances

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2013

    Over the last 20 years, farm income has represented a small share of total farm household income--as little as 4.6 percent and never more than 17.5 percent. This pattern supports the counterintuitive notion that farming matters little to the financial well-being of U.S. farm households. However, the share of farm income to total farm household income can be misleading.

  • Understanding America’s Diverse Family Farms

    Amber Waves, February 01, 2016

    Farms in the United States are diverse, ranging from very small retirement/residential farms producing little to enterprises with annual sales in the millions of dollars. Broad descriptions of farms based on U.S. averages can mask variation among different sizes/types of farms. ERS developed a farm classification that categorizes farms into more homogenous groups.

  • USDA Microloans for Farmers: Participation Patterns and Effects of Outreach

    ERR-222, December 30, 2016

    In 2013-15, 89 percent of USDA/FSA Microloans went to recipients from targeted groups (beginning farmers and ranchers, women, minorities, and veterans). Also, in 2013-15, new FSA direct loan borrowers received a majority of Microloans.

  • 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.

  • USDA Agricultural Projections to 2019

    OCE-2010-1, February 11, 2010

    This report provides longrun (10-year) projections for the agricultural sector through 2019. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices.