Publications

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  • The Effects of Information on Consumer Demand for Biotech Foods: Evidence from Experimental Auctions

    TB-1903, April 04, 2003

    Consumers' willingness to pay for food products decreases when the food label indicates that a food product is produced with the aid of modern biotechnology. This bulletin presents empirical evidence on consumers' willingness to pay for biotech foods based on the presence or absence of labels advising that the food was prepared with the aid of biotechnology. The authors designed and conducted an experimental auction to elicit consumers' willingness to pay for "genetically modified" (GM)-labeled and standard-labeled foods under different information regimes. The evidence gathered for vegetable oil, tortilla chips, and potatoes shows that labels matter. In particular, under all information treatments, consumers discounted food items labeled "GM" by an average of 14 percent. While gender, income, and other demographic characteristics appeared to have only a slight impact on consumers' willingness to pay for biotech foods, information from interested parties and third-party (independent) sources was found to have a strong impact.

  • Ethanol Reshapes the Corn Market

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2006

    This article examines the possible market impacts of the ongoing expansion of the U.S. ethanol sector. To meet the sector's growing demand for corn, some of the corn produced in the United States is likely to be diverted from exports. In the future, corn may cease to be the main feedstock for U.S. ethanol production if cellulosic biomass is successfully developed as an alternative.

  • International Trade, Biofuel Initiatives Reshaping the Soybean Sector

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2006

    U.S. soybean production has risen rapidly due to increased domestic and foreign demand. The future of the sector, however, will depend on raising export competitiveness and the possible diversion of acreage away from soybeans into corn to satisfy the growing demand for ethanol.

  • 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.

  • ERS Bioenergy Information and Research, March 2007

    AP-023-1, March 01, 2007

    The tremendous expansion of bioenergy production raises several key questions: Where will ethanol producers get the corn needed to increase their output? How will increased demand for biodiesel affect soybean markets? What will be the impact on livestock production of increased use of crops for energy? How will international markets for commodities and renewable energy be affected? Will rural communities benefit from local production of ethanol? Will food prices increase due to competing uses for grains? How will increased bioenergy production impact environmental quality? Although grain-based ethanol is currently the major source of biofuels in the U.S., continued research to improve the conversion efficiency of cellulosic biomass feedstocks eventually will increase the range of crops that can be grown for energy production in the future.

  • Feed Grains Backgrounder

    FDS-07C01, March 30, 2007

    The U.S. feed grain sector, largest of the major U.S. field crops, faces unprecedented demand conditions. The size and speed of the expanding use of corn by the ethanol industry is raising widespread issues throughout U.S. agriculture. Debate is ongoing over the use of grain for fuel instead of for food or feed and the adequacy of future grain supplies. Increased productivity (yield) and additional area from land planted to competing crops, land enrolled in conservation programs, or idled land is expected to provide an increased supply of feed grains. The outlook is for higher feed grain prices, in part, as a result of renewable energy policies and high energy prices, with feed grain prices rising above farm program support levels. During the ongoing farm policy debate, the U.S. feed grain sector faces uncertainty about the future level and type of government support.

  • Ethanol Reduces Government Support for U.S. Feed Grain Sector

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2007

    Increasing use of corn for ethanol production has brought a shift in the type of Government support received by U.S. corn producers. Previously, income support comprised the largest share of support going to the corn sector. Now, however, feed grain producers are relying more on indirect demand enhancement coming from government policies stimulating ethanol production. The most important instrument is a blenders tax credit available to gasoline marketers.

  • Ethanol Reshapes the Corn Market—Updated

    Amber Waves, May 01, 2007

    This article examines the possible market impacts of the ongoing expansion of the U.S. ethanol sector. To meet the sector's growing demand for corn, some U.S. corn is likely to be diverted from exports and feed. In the future, corn may cease to be the main feedstock for U.S. ethanol production if cellulosic biomass is successfully developed as an alternative.

  • International Trade, Biofuel Initiatives Reshaping the Soybean Sector

    Amber Waves, May 01, 2007

    U.S. soybean production has risen rapidly due to increased domestic and foreign demand. The future of the sector, however, will depend on raising export competitiveness and the possible diversion of acreage away from soybeans into corn to satisfy the growing demand for ethanol.

  • ERS Bioenergy Research Plans 2007-8

    AP-024-1, May 01, 2007

    The tremendous expansion of bioenergy production raises several key questions: Where will ethanol producers get the corn needed to increase their output? How will increased demand for biodiesel affect soybean markets? What will be the impact on livestock production of increased use of crops for energy? How will international markets for commodities and renewable energy be affected? Will rural communities benefit from local production of ethanol? Will food prices increase due to competing uses for grains? How will increased bioenergy production impact environmental quality? Although grain-based ethanol is currently the major source of biofuels in the U.S., continued research to improve the conversion efficiency of cellulosic biomass feedstocks eventually will increase the range of crops that can be grown for energy production in the future.

  • ERS Bioenergy Information and Research, August 2007

    AP-023-2, August 01, 2007

    ERS has a broad range of research on how agricultural markets and natural resources might be affected by the increased demand for bioenergy. ERS research on bioenergy encompasses all aspects of the ERS research mission, including economic and policy issues involving food, farming, natural resources, and rural development. Ongoing bioenergy research focuses on domestic and global agricultural markets; economywide, regional, and household effects; natural resource, environmental, and rural community impacts; and implications for food prices, the range of crops that can be grown for energy production in the future.

  • U.S. Ethanol Expansion Driving Changes Throughout the Agricultural Sector

    Amber Waves, September 03, 2007

    A large expansion in ethanol production is underway in the United States, spurred by high oil prices and energy policies. Although corn is the primary feedstock used to produce ethanol in the United States, market adjustments to the ethanol expansion extend well beyond the corn sector to supply and demand for other crops, as well as to the livestock sector, farm income, government payments, and food prices. Adjustments in the agricultural sector to increased demand for biofuels will continue as interest grows in renewable sources of energy to lessen dependence on foreign oil.

  • The Future of Biofuels: A Global Perspective

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2007

    Global biofuel production tripled between 2000 and 2007, but still accounts for less than 3 percent of global transportation fuel supply. Increased demand for biofuels has contributed to higher world food and feed prices. Biofuels will likely be part of a portfolio of solutions to high energy prices that includes conservation, more efficient energy use, and use of other alternative fuels

  • ERS Bioenergy Information and Research

    AP-023, January 23, 2008

    The Economic Research Service has a broad range of research on how agricultural markets and natural resources might be affected by the increased demand for bioenergy. ERS research on bioenergy encompasses all aspects of the ERS research mission, including economic and policy issues involving food, farming, natural resources, and rural development.

  • ERS Bioenergy Research Plans 2008-09

    AP-024-2, February 01, 2008

    ERS has a broad range of research on how agricultural markets and natural resources might be affected by the increased demand for bioenergy. ERS research on bioenergy encompasses all aspects of the ERS research mission, including economic and policy issues involving food, farming, natural resources, and rural development. Ongoing bioenergy research focuses on domestic and global agricultural markets; economywide, regional, and household effects; natural resource, environmental, and rural community impacts; and implications for food prices, the range of crops that can be grown for energy production in the future.

  • ERS Bioenergy Research Plans

    AP-024, February 01, 2008

    ERS has a broad range of research on how agricultural markets and natural resources are and will be affected by the increased production of bioenergy. Planned ERS research on bioenergy encompasses all aspects of the ERS research mission, including economic and policy issues involving food, farming, natural resources, and rural development. Current and planned bioenergy research focuses on domestic and global crop and livestock markets; economywide, regional, and household effects of increased bioenergy production; natural resource, environmental, and rural community impacts; and implications for food prices.

  • USDA Agricultural Projections to 2017

    OCE-2008-1, February 12, 2008

    This report provides longrun (10-year) projections for the agricultural sector through 2017. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices.

  • 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.

  • Colombia: A New Ethanol Producer on the Rise?

    WRS-0901, January 01, 2009

    Colombia's sugarcane-based ethanol industry, after operating for only 3 years, is the second most developed in the Western Hemisphere. Most Colombian ethanol plants are energy self-sufficient and even generate surplus power that is sold to the national electric grid. Colombia's sugarcane-based ethanol production is increasing: proposed expansion projects have the potential to more than triple daily production from 277,000 gallons in 2007 to almost 1 million gallons in 2010. Most of the expansion is intended for exports, principally to the United States. However, it is unlikely that Colombia could export ethanol anytime soon because domestic production is insufficient to meet nationwide requirements that gasoline contain a 10-percent ethanol blend.

  • Growing Crops for Biofuels Has Spillover Effects

    Amber Waves, March 01, 2009

    Federal mandates for biofuel production promote expanded crop acreage which can shift cropping patterns and affect livestock production due to higher prices for corn and other grain crops. An increase in the extent and intensity of input use and agricultural land in production increases the potential for environmental degradation. Research on crop productivity and conversion efficiency, as well as conservation practices like no-till and buffer strips, could lessen the environmental impacts of biofuels.