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  • Economic Assessment of the 1999 Drought: Agricultural Impacts Are Severe Locally, but Limited Nationally

    AIB-755, November 01, 1999

    While the 1999 drought has had severe financial impacts on agricultural producers in the drought regions, its impact on U.S. agricultural production has been limited. The drought will reduce commodity receipts relative to 1998 by an estimated $1.29 billion. Estimated farm net income losses, including expected yield losses, increases in expenses, and insurance indemnities, will total $1.35 billion, about 3 percent of expected 1999 U.S. net farm income. Drought impacts in areas of the Northeast designated as extreme and severe drought are expected to reduce farmers' net income by nearly $840 million. The regions affected, the crops grown in those regions, the increased use of irrigation, and crop insurance coverage limited the drought's impacts on agriculture nationally. Drought also affects the rural population by reducing water supplies available for human and livestock consumption.

  • Economics of Water Quality Protection From Nonpoint Sources: Theory and Practice

    AER-782, November 30, 1999

    Water quality is a major environmental issue. Pollution from nonpoint sources is the single largest remaining source of water quality impairments in the United States. Agriculture is a major source of several nonpoint-source pollutants, including nutrients, sediment, pesticides, and salts. Agricultural nonpoint pollution reduction policies can be designed to induce producers to change their production practices in ways that improve the environmental and related economic consequences of production. The information necessary to design economically efficient pollution control policies is almost always lacking. Instead, policies can be designed to achieve specific environmental or other similarly related goals at least cost, given transaction costs and any other political, legal, or informational constraints that may exist. This report outlines the economic characteristics of five instruments that can be used to reduce agricultural nonpoint source pollution (economic incentives, standards, education, liability, and research) and discusses empirical research related to the use of these instruments.

  • Assigning Values to Life: Comparing Methods for Valuing Health Risks

    AER-784, December 01, 1999

    An examination of five approaches economists and health policy analysts have developed for evaluating policy affecting health and safety: cost-of-illness, willingness-to-pay, cost-effectiveness analysis, risk-risk analysis, and health-health analysis. Also examines the theoretical basis and empirical application of each approach and investigates the influence that assumptions embedded in each approach have on policy guidance.


    GFA-11, December 07, 1999

    Broad trends in food production and prices indicate a decline in the share of people who do not have access to adequate food levels. However, the overall figures mask variation in food security among regions, countries, and income groups within countries. In 1999, per capita food consumption in 67 low-income countries is projected to fall short of 1996-98 levels ("status quo") by nearly 13 million tons, about 2 million tons more than estimated for 1998. Around 400,000 tons of the increase arose from adding a new country, North Korea, to the analysis this year. The gap between actual consumption and minimum nutritional requirements is expected to be even larger at 15 million tons. During the next decade, food gaps with respect to the status quo and nutritional targets are expected to widen further. Food consumption is projected to fall short of the nutritional requirement in 30 countries, while 45 countries are expected to face a decline in per capita consumption in 2009. The 67 countries in the study either have been or may become food aid recipients. The projections, however, exclude the availability of food aid. Therefore, depending upon future food aid availability, some or all of the projected food gaps can be eliminated.

  • Meeting the Housing Needs of Rural Residents: Results of the 1998 Survey of USDA's Single Family Direct Loan Housing Program

    RDRR-91, December 09, 1999

    USDA's Section 502 Single Family Direct Loan Housing Program provides subsidized housing loans to low- and moderate-income rural residents who do not own adequate housing and cannot obtain a home mortgage from other sources. Typical recent borrowers from the program are under 40, have children, have low or modest incomes, have a home that is better than their previous residence, and are satisfied with their current home, neighborhood, and the Section 502 program. Most believed that, without assistance from the program, they would have been unable to afford a comparable home for at least 2 years and possibly never. These findings are based on a national survey of 3,027 recent Section 502 borrowers, conducted by the Economic Research Service at the request of USDA's Rural Development mission area. The survey identified borrower characteristics and addressed issues of program effectiveness and performance. This report compares the survey's findings with similar information for other low- and moderate-income rural residents and provides a separate analysis of program participation by elderly, single-parent, disabled, Hispanic, and black households.

  • Changes in Nutritional Quality of Food Product Offerings and Purchases: A Case Study in the Mid-1990's

    TB-1880, December 22, 1999

    This report provides a new economic approach and methodology for analyzing nutritional quality change in manufacturers' food product offerings and food products purchased using a case study of five food product categories in the mid-1990's. Two approaches were used to analyze nutritional quality change in product offerings. The first approach uses a composite nutritional index to measure changes. A second approach, nutrient-by-nutrient analysis, was also used to measure quality change. Overall, the nutrition index analysis showed no significant change in the average nutritional quality of products offered for sale in the five categories.

  • Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Program, Final Report: Fiscal 1999 Activities

    AP-005, January 03, 2000

    ERS's Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Program (FANRP) supports intramural and extramural research on a wide range of policy-relevant food assistance and nutrition topics. The three perennial program themes are (1) diet and nutritional outcomes, (2) food program targeting and delivery, and (3) program dynamics and administration. The core food and nutrition assistance programs include the Food Stamp Program, the child nutrition programs, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). This report summarizes FANRP's activities and accomplishments in fiscal 1999.

  • Industrial Hemp in the United States: Status and Market Potential

    AGES-001E, January 20, 2000

    Industrial hemp has been the focus of official interest in several States. However, hemp and marijuana are different varieties of Cannabis sativa, which is classified as a controlled substance in the United States. With Canada now allowing hemp production, questions have been raised about the demand for hemp products. U.S. markets for hemp fiber (specialty textiles, paper, and composites) and seed (in food or crushed for oil) are, and will likely remain, small, thin markets. Uncertainty about longrun demand for hemp products and the potential for oversupply discounts the prospects for hemp as an economically viable alternative crop for American farmers.

  • Structural Change and Competition in Seven U.S. Food Markets

    TB-1881, February 01, 2000

    Recent trends in mergers and acquisitions in the U.S. food sector--food manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers--raise concerns about market power. In the presence of market power, farmers may receive lower than competitive farm prices, and consumers may pay higher than competitive retail prices. This study presents empirical tests of market power at the national level for seven food categories: beef, pork, poultry, eggs, dairy, fresh fruit, and fresh vegetables. At the national level, our tests provide evidence of competitive conduct in both the sale of final food products and the purchase of farm ingredients.

  • Changes in the Older Population and Implications for Rural Areas

    RDRR-90, February 01, 2000

    The older population in the United States has been growing and aging rapidly, with the fastest growing segment being the oldest old--those age 85 and older. This segment of the older population increased 37 percent between 1980 and 1990, compared with a 17-percent increase in the total population of elderly (60 and above). The oldest old are more likely to be women, to be in poor health, to live alone, and to be poor. This analysis presents data on changes in the age distribution and socioeconomic status of the older population by rural-urban residence and examines the implications for resources, services, and programs in rural areas.

  • Increasing Food Recovery From Farmers' Markets: A Preliminary Analysis

    FANRR-4, February 08, 2000

    Collecting unsold food discarded at farmers' markets has the potential to allow nonprofit food recovery and gleaning organizations to distribute significant quantities of wholesome, unsold fruits and vegetables to needy families. Donations of this unsold produce by the participants at these markets can generate tangible benefits: increased private food assistance and better nutrition for lower income families. The Geographical Information System (GIS) analysis presented in this study indicates that there is potential to strengthen the links between farmers' markets and nonprofit food recovery and gleaning organizations in many areas of the United States.

  • USDA Agricultural Baseline Projections to 2009

    WAOB-001, February 23, 2000

    This report provides long-run baseline projections for the agricultural sector through 2009. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices. The projections are based on specific assumptions regarding macroeconomic conditions, policy, weather, and international developments. The baseline assumes that there are no shocks due to abnormal weather or other factors affecting global supply and demand. The projections assume that current agricultural law of the 1996 Farm Act remains in effect throughout the baseline. The baseline projections presented are one representative scenario for the agricultural sector for the next decade. As such, the baseline provides a point of departure for discussion of alternative farm sector outcomes that could result under different assumptions. The projections in this report were prepared in October through December 1999, reflecting a composite of model results and judgmental analysis.

  • Forecasting Consumer Price Indexes for Food: A Demand Model Approach

    TB-1883, March 01, 2000

    Forecasting food prices is an important component of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's short-term outlook and long-term baseline forecasting activities. A food price-forecasting model is developed by applying an inverse demand system, in which prices are functions of quantities of food use and income. Therefore, these quantity and income variables can be used as explanatory variables for food price changes. The empirical model provides an effective instrument for forecasting consumer price indexes of 16 food categories. ERS AutoFAX summary document # 01733. Contact:

  • International Financial Crises and Agriculture

    WRS-99-3, March 01, 2000

    This report focuses on the macroeconomic and financial linkages to agriculture of the international financial crises that occurred in 1997 through early 1999. Particularly, it discusses what brought the affected countries to crisis, how the crisis-led macroeconomic linkages affected agriculture, and how they affected U.S. agricultural trade. The crisis countries examined in this report are Indonesia, Thailand, South Korea, Russia, Brazil, and other Latin American countries. The non-crisis countries include China, Japan, Taiwan, and the United States.

  • Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Program, Fiscal 2000, Competitive Grants and Cooperative Agreements Program: Description and Application Process

    AP-006, March 01, 2000

    ERS's Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Program accepted proposals for grants and cooperative agreements for fiscal 2000. The four priority research areas were (1) Reaching Underserved Populations, (2) Food Programs as a Safety Net and Client Well-Being, (3) Child Nutrition, and (4) Behavioral Nutrition. This publication describes the research areas and application requirements. Funding for competitive awards in fiscal 2000 was between $2 million and $3 million. The deadline for proposal submission was May 26, 2000.

  • Regionalism, Federalism, and Taxation: A Food and Farm Perspective

    TB-1882, March 14, 2000

    This report documents an applied general equilibrium model of the United States. The model features explicit treatment of Federal, State, and local taxes and is segmented into 10 distinct subregions. These subregions engage in inter- and intraregional trade, as well as international trade. Each region is distinguished by its unique composition of industries, capital markets, and patterns of trade. Regional data developed for calibrating the model are discussed and several tax policy reform simulations demonstrate the modeling capabilities.

  • International Agriculture and Trade Report: China, 2000

    WRS99-4, March 16, 2000

    China's economic growth is slowing, primarily due to reduced domestic consumer demand. Growth in China's gross domestic product dropped to 7.1 percent in 1999, the slowest since 1983. Exports, which had risen 21 percent in 1997 and an astonishing 15.5 percent a year on average during 1980-97, came to a near standstill in 1998 and rose only modestly in 1999. East and Southeast Asian countries, which formerly purchased about 60 percent of China's exports, were hurt severely by the Asian financial crisis. Besides cutting back on their own imports from China, many of these countries devalued their currencies, making their exports more competitive with similar products from China.

  • Economic Implications of the Methyl Bromide Phaseout

    AIB-756, March 22, 2000

    The pesticide methyl bromide is being phased out internationally under the Montreal Protocol. Methyl bromide has been used for over 50 years to control insect, nematodes, pathogens, and weeds. It is used for soil fumigation before planting many fruits, vegetables, ornamentals, and agricultural nurseries; for post-harvest fumigation of commodities in storage and prior to shipment; and for government-required quarantine treatment to prevent the spread of regulated exotic pests. Many U.S. users are concerned that existing alternatives to methyl bromide will be less effective and cause financial losses. To help mitigate the impacts of the phaseout, USDA, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), universities, and private firms are working to develop new alternatives and make them available to methyl bromide users.

  • WIC and the Nutrient Intake of Children

    FANRR-5, April 01, 2000

    After controlling for self-selection bias, participation in the WIC program (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children) has a significant positive effect on children's intakes of iron, folate, and vitamin B-6. Iron is one of five nutrients targeted by the program, the others being protein, calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin C. Folate and vitamin B-6, along with zinc, were recommended by a 1991 USDA study as nutrients that the program should also target. The data set used, the 1994-96 Continuing Survey of Food Intake by Individuals, reflects the dramatic increase during the 1990's in the number of children in the program. ERS AutoFAX summary document # 01805. Contact:


    WRS-99-1A, April 14, 2000

    This is the second part of ERS's report on the effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on U.S. agriculture. The first part, WRS-99-1, was published in August 1999 and contains the following sections: Developments in Trade, Policies, and Dispute Resolution; Employment in U.S. Agriculture and Related Industries; Investment in Agriculture and Food Processing; and Beyond the Farm Gate. This second part of the report provides a commodity-level assessment of NAFTA's impact on U.S. agricultural trade with Canada and Mexico. Thirty-five commodities and commodity groupings, which constitute over half of this trade, are examined in close detail.