Publications

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  • Adoption of Bioengineered Crops

    AER-810, May 01, 2002

    This report uses USDA survey data to examine the extent to which US farmers have adopted bioengineered crops, factors affecting adoption of these crops, and the impacts of bioengineered crops on input use and farm-level net returns.

  • Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops Continues To Increase

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2006

    Biotechnology-derived crops were commercially introduced a decade ago, and the adoption of herbicide tolerant and insect resistant varieties grew rapidly. In the U.S. herbicide tolerant soybean adoption expanded more rapidly and widely than other biotech crops. The U.S. acreage share of insect resistant corn flattened in recent years because farmers with the greatest need to protect against the target pest had already adopted the biotech variety.

  • Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops by U.S. Farmers Has Increased Steadily for Over 15 Years

    Amber Waves, March 04, 2014

    Farmers planted about 170 million acres of GE crops in 2013.

  • Ag Biotech Patents on the Move

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2005

    Although small agbiotech companies and seed companies originated 37 percent of a sample of patents issued between 1976 and 2000, large chemical, multinational, and European companies owned 99 percent of the total by 2002. Mergers and acquisitions will probably continue to affect intellectual property ownership and industry structure.

  • Ag Biotech Patents: Who Is Doing What?

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2003

    To better analyze the economic effects of the upward trend in ag biotech patents, ERS researchers and collaborators have assembled comprehensive data on patents and other intellectual property.

  • Agricultural Biotechnology: An Economic Perspective

    AER-687, May 01, 1994

    The development of agricultural biotechnology offers the opportunity to increase crop production, lower farming costs, improve food quality and safety, and enhance environmental quality. This report describes the economic, scientific, and social factors that will influence the future of biotechnology in agriculture. The supply of biotechnology innovations and products will be affected by public policies and by expectations of producer and consumer demand for the products. The demand for biotechnology by farmers and food processors is derived from the expected profitability of using the technology as an input to production. Ultimately, the use of biotechnology in the farm sector will depend on consumer demand for the biotechnology-derived agricultural product.

  • Agricultural Resources and Environmental Indicators, 2012

    EIB-98, August 22, 2012

    The 2012 edition provides resource-and environment-related information including farmland area, productivity, irrigation, pesticide use, adoption of genetically engineered crops, fertilizer use, conservation practices, and land retirement.

  • Although Small, Markets Have Been Expanding for GE Crops With Traits That Increase Nutrient Content or Improve Taste

    Amber Waves, August 07, 2017

    Genetically engineered (GE) crops are plants with genetic material that has been altered to achieve one or more desirable features. Although small, markets have been recently expanding for GE crops with traits that increase nutrient content or improve the taste of certain foods for consumers.

  • Assessing the Benefits of Public Research Within an Economic Framework: The Case of USDA's Agricultural Research Service

    ERR-95, May 07, 2010

    Evaluation of publicly funded research can help provide accountability and prioritize programs. In addition, Federal intramural research planning generally involves an institutional assessment of the appropriate Federal role, if any, and whether the research should be left to others, such as universities or the private sector. Many methods of evaluation are available, peer review-used primarily for establishing scientific merit-being the most common. Economic analysis focuses on quantifying ultimate research outcomes, whether measured in goods with market prices or in nonmarket goods such as environmental quality or human health. However, standard economic techniques may not be amenable for evaluating some important public research priorities or for institutional assessments. This report reviews quantitative methods and applies qualitative economic reasoning and stakeholder interviewing methods to the evaluation of economic benefits of Federal intramural research using three case studies of research conducted by USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS). Differences among the case studies highlight the need to select suitable assessment techniques from available methodologies, the limited scope for comparing assessment results across programs, and the inherent difficulty in quantifying benefits in some research areas. When measurement and attribution issues make it difficult to quantify these benefits, the report discusses how qualitative insights based on economic concepts can help research prioritization.

  • Beyond Nutrition and Organic Labels—30 Years of Experience With Intervening in Food Labels

    ERR-239, November 17, 2017

    ERS researchers examine five food label case studies that show the economic effects and tradeoffs involved in setting product standards, verifying claims, and enforcing truthfulness.

  • Bt Corn Adoption by U.S. Farmers Increases Yields and Profits

    Amber Waves, February 21, 2013

    Genetically engineered varieties of corn with enhanced pest management traits have been widely adopted by U.S. farmers. ERS examined data from USDA’s Agricultural Resource Management Survey to determine the reasons farmers planted Bt corn and the resulting impact on corn yields, profits, and insecticide use.

  • China's Food and Agriculture: Issues for the 21st Century

    AIB-775, April 01, 2002

    Assessment of issues that will affect China's future trends in consumption, production, import, and export of food and agricultural commodities. A series of 13 articles cover China's food consumption, marketing, international trade, agricultural policy, transportation infrastructure, regional diversity, livestock sector, biotechnology, water and irrigation policy, land tenure system, rural development, employment, and market information.

  • Concentration and Technology in Agricultural Input Industries

    AIB-763, March 19, 2001

    Consolidation in the agricultural biotechnology industry can both enhance and dampen market competition. This report examines the causes and consequences of industry consolidation and its effect on market efficiency. In some cases, concentration realizes economies of scale, which can improve market efficiency by driving down production costs. The protection of intellectual property rights is integral to the agricultural biotechnology marketplace, stimulating research and development, investment, and the development of substitute markets. However, excessively broad intellectual property rights can hinder the market for innovation. Recent data on mergers, acquisitions, and strategic collaborations in the agricultural biotechnology industry, as well as the emergence of life science conglomerates, indicate some level of consolidation. However, the move by some companies to divest their seed operations calls into question the long-term viability of these conglomerates.

  • Consumers and the Future of Biotech Foods in the United States

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2003

    When consumers are made aware that food products are biotech, how will they react? As the largest market for U.S. producers, American consumers will render the ultimate verdict on the future of agricultural biotechnology in the United States.

  • Crop Genetic Diversity Boosts Production But Faces Threats

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2005

    Crop yields have risen steadily over the last century due in part to sustained research, improvements to seeds, and access to diverse genetic resources. Crop genetic diversity, however, is threatened by habitat loss, conversion from farmer-developed varieties to scientifically bred varieties, and genetic uniformity in scientifically bred varieties.

  • Current Issues in Economics of Food Markets

    AIB-747, August 13, 2004

    These reports synthesize economic analyses of the complex relationships in food markets of interest to officials responsible for public policy, decisionmakers in the industry, and researchers. Topics addressed so far include the economizing practices of low-income households in making food purchases, the increasing vertical coordination and integration of the industry, the link between consolidation of retailers and orange juice prices, the effects of a higher minimum wage on food prices, how taxes affect food markets, and lessons learned from the use of rbST in dairy production.

  • Economic Returns to Public Agricultural Research

    EB-10, September 04, 2007

    Over the last several decades, the U.S. agricultural sector has sustained impressive productivity growth. The Nation's agricultural research system, including Federal-State public research as well as private-sector research, has been a key driver of this growth. Economic analysis finds strong and consistent evidence that investment in agricultural research has yielded high returns per dollar spent. These returns include benefits not only to the farm sector but also to the food industry and consumers in the form of more abundant commodities at lower prices.

  • Genetically Engineered Crop Varieties Gain Further Acreage Share in 2004

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2004

    GE varieties of soybeans, corn, and cotton have been available commercially since 1996. Since then, their rate of use by U.S. farmers has climbed most years, including 2004.

  • Genetically Engineered Crops for Pest Management in U.S. Agriculture

    AER-786, May 01, 2000

    Adoption of genetically engineered crops with traits for pest management has risen dramatically since their commercial introduction in the mid-1990's. The farm-level impacts of such crops on pesticide use, yields, and net returns vary with the crop and technology examined. Adoption of herbicide-tolerant cotton led to significant increases in yields and net returns, but was not associated with significant changes in herbicide use. On the other hand, increases in adoption of herbicide-tolerant soybeans led to small but significant increases in yields, no changes in net returns, and significant decreases in herbicide use. Adoption of Bt cotton in the Southeast significantly increased yields and net returns and significantly reduced insecticide use.

  • Genetically Engineered Crops in the United States

    ERR-162, February 20, 2014

    Farmer adoption of GE crops is associated with time savings, lower insecticide use, and more conservation tillage. Consumer acceptance of GE ingredients varies across countries, product characteristics, and level of information.