Publications

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  • Agricultural Productivity Growth in the United States: Measurement, Trends, and Drivers

    ERR-189, July 27, 2015

    With little growth in aggregate input use over the last six decades, the extraordinary performance of the U.S. farm sector was driven mainly by productivity growth, at an average annual rate of 1.42 percent. Is the growth sustainable?

  • America's Diverse Family Farms: 2014 Edition

    EIB-133, December 22, 2014

    Farming is still an industry of family businesses. Ninety-seven percent of farms are family farms, and they account for 85 percent of farm production. Small farms make up 90 percent of the farm count and operate half of the Nation's farmland. Most farm production, however, occurs on midsize and large-scale family farms.

  • America's Diverse Family Farms: 2015 Edition

    EIB-146, December 08, 2015

    Most U.S. farms (99 percent) are family operations. Small family farms make up 90 percent of the U.S. farm count but produce 22 percent of farm output. Midsize and large-scale farms (9 percent of farms) produce 68 percent of farm output.

  • Beginning Farmers and Ranchers

    EIB-53, May 15, 2009

    Beginning farmers and ranchers accounted for 10 percent of the sector's total value of production in 2007. ERS provides an overview of their characteristics and the farm businesses they operate.

  • Calculating the Jobs Associated With U.S. Agricultural Exports

    Amber Waves, May 04, 2015

    In calendar year 2013, the $144.38 billion of U.S. agricultural exports produced an additional $176 billion in economic activity for a total of $320.3 billion of economic output. U.S. agricultural exports supported 1,094,400 full-time civilian jobs in 2013, including 793,900 jobs in the non-farm sector.

  • Effects of Large-Scale Hog Production on Local Labor Markets

    Amber Waves, August 05, 2013

    For counties with large-scale hog operations, the average change in the number of hogs at these operations over each 5-year-period between 1992 and 2007 was 8,473. Each additional 1,000 hogs at large-scale hog facilities in a county generated 0.96 net jobs in the county, with gains in some sectors and losses in others.

  • Family Farming in the United States

    Amber Waves, March 04, 2014

    Family farms represent 97.6 percent of all U.S. farms, and are responsible for 85 percent of U.S. farm production.

  • Farm Size and the Organization of U.S. Crop Farming

    ERR-152, August 05, 2013

    Crop production and land have shifted to larger operations. ERS details the changes by region and commodity sector, and evaluates driving factors such as technologies, business organization and finances, land attributes, and policy.

  • Hired Farmworkers a Major Input For Some U.S. Farm Sectors

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2008

    With more than half of hired farmworkers lacking legal authorization to work in the U.S., legislative reforms of immigration policies could affect some parts of the agricultural sector.

  • Immigration Policy and Its Possible Effects on U.S. Agriculture

    Amber Waves, June 05, 2012

    Policymakers are considering changes to U.S. immigration law that would affect the market for hired farm labor--including mandatory use of an Internet-based employment eligibility verification system and an expanded guestworker program for nonimmigrant, foreign-born agricultural workers.

  • Livestock Sectors in the Economies of Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union: Transition from Plan to Market and the Road Ahead

    AER-798, January 01, 2002

    The report examines the restructuring of the livestock sectors in five countries: Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, and Romania. All five countries experienced a decline in both animal inventories and meat output during the early years of transition away from a centrally planned economy. The study identifies potential trade and investment opportunities, but emphasizes that this potential depends on the successful implementation of institutional and policy reforms.

  • Low Costs Drive Production to Large Dairy Farms

    Amber Waves, September 03, 2007

    Dairy production is shifting to larger farms; small dairy farms are exiting, and more expect to leave in the next decade. Average production costs per hundredweight of milk produced fall sharply with herd size. Large dairy farms earn substantial profits, while most smaller operations experience economic losses. Given their cost advantages, the shift of dairy production to large farms contributes to rising industry productivity and lower real dairy prices.

  • NAFTA at 20: North America's Free-Trade Area and Its Impact on Agriculture

    WRS-15-01, February 02, 2015

    In 20 years after NAFTA's implementation, U.S. agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico increased from $8.9 billion to $39.5 billion, while U.S. agricultural imports from these trading partners rose from $7.4 billion to $39.4 billion.

  • New Patterns of Hispanic Settlement in Rural America

    RDRR-99, May 28, 2004

    Since 1980, the nonmetro Hispanic population in the United States has doubled and is now the most rapidly growing demographic group in rural and small-town America. By 2000, half of all nonmetro Hispanics lived outside traditional settlement areas of the Southwest. Many Hispanics in counties that have experienced rapid Hispanic growth are recent U.S. arrivals with relatively low education levels, weak English proficiency, and undocumented status. This recent settlement has increased the visibility of Hispanics in many new regions of rural America whose population has long been dominated by non-Hispanic Whites. Yet within smaller geographic areas, the level of residential separation between them increased-i.e., the two groups became less evenly distributed-during the 1990s, especially in rapidly growing counties. Hispanic settlement patterns warrant attention by policymakers because they affect the well-being of both Hispanics and rural communities themselves.

  • Productivity Growth in U.S. Agriculture

    EB-9, September 04, 2007

    Innovation and changes in technology have been a driving force for gains in productivity growth in U.S. agriculture. USDA's Economic Research Service has developed annual indexes of agricultural inputs, outputs, and total factor productivity (TFP) for 1948 through 2004. American agriculture relies almost entirely on productivity growth to raise output. By lowering the cost of agricultural commodities, productivity growth benefits not only farmers but also food manufacturers and consumers.

  • Profile of Hired Farmworkers, 1994 Annual Averages

    AER-748, February 03, 1997

    Hired farmworkers continue to earn less than all wage and salary workers, but the wage gap has narrowed. The median weekly earnings for hired farmworkers in 1994 were $238, an increase of 19 percent (5 percent when adjusted for inflation) from 1990; median weekly earnings for all wage and salary workers increased by 11 percent (a 2-percent decrease in real terms).

  • Profile of Hired Farmworkers, 1996 Annual Averages

    AER-762, April 01, 1998

    Examines demographic and employment characteristics of the 906,000 persons 15 years of age and older who did hired farmwork in 1996. Approximately 906,000 persons 15 years of age and older were employed as hired farmworkers each week in 1996. An additional 72,000 persons were hired as farmworkers each week as a secondary job. Hired farmworkers were more likely than all U.S. wage and salary workers to be male, Hispanic, younger, less educated, never married, and non-U.S. citizens.

  • Profile of Hired Farmworkers, A 2008 Update

    ERR-60, July 11, 2008

    ERS examines the size, importance, and composition of the hired farmworker force, updating information published in 2000. These workers make up a third of the farm labor

  • Rural America At A Glance, 2004

    AIB-793, September 30, 2004

    Rural America At A Glance, 2004 is a six-page brochure that highlights the most recent indicators of social and economic conditions in rural areas for use in developing policies and programs to assist rural areas. The brochure is the third in a series of reports that uses current social and economic data to highlight population, labor market, income, and poverty trends in rural areas. This brochure provides information on key rural conditions and trends for use by public and private decisionmakers and others in efforts to enhance the economic opportunities and quality of life for rural people and their communities.

  • Rural Hispanics At A Glance

    EIB-8, December 28, 2005

    Rural Hispanics at a Glance provides the latest information from the 2000 Census and other Federal data sources about Hispanics living in nonmetro counties. This six-page brochure highlights growth and geographic dispersion, demographic characteristics, and the most recent indicators of social and economic conditions for this population. It emphasizes rapid Hispanic population growth, particularly in new rural destinations of the Midwest and Southeast, and it illustrates differences in age structure between Hispanics and non-Hispanic Whites. The report also provides data on important demographic, labor market, income, poverty, and social service indicators for nonmetro Hispanics. Using a visually interesting format that incorporates text bullets with charts and maps, it quickly provides information on key indicators of the rural Hispanic population to assist public officials, community organizations, private decision makers and others in their efforts to enhance the economic opportunities and quality of life for this rapidly growing population.