Publications

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  • Factors Shaping Expanding U.S. Red Meat Trade

    LDPM-175-01, February 10, 2009

    U.S. imports and exports of red meats-beef, pork, lamb, and mutton-have expanded rapidly over the last several decades, linking livestock sectors of the United States to those of several major trading partners. Factors driving this trade growth include not only rising incomes, but also the preference of U.S. and foreign consumers for a greater variety of red meat cuts, facilitated by the expansion of free trade agreements. Changes in currency values, including the recent depreciation of the U.S. dollar against the currencies of key trading partners, have also been important influences in expanding trade in U.S. red meat products. Domestic production continues to provide the main share of beef and pork consumed in the United States, while the share of U.S. lamb consumption from imports has increased significantly. While the red meat (and poultry) markets have been punctuated by animal disease issues over the last few years, the integration of trade is expected to continue.

  • The Transformation of U.S. Livestock Agriculture: Scale, Efficiency, and Risks

    EIB-43, January 23, 2009

    ERS details the nature, causes, and effects of structural changes in U.S. livestock production as it shifts to larger, more specialized, and more tightly integrated enterprises.

  • Economic Impacts of Feed-Related Regulatory Responses to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy

    LDPM-170-01, September 04, 2008

    Animal and poultry disease outbreaks often lead to new or amended policies and regulations. The economic effects induced by these policies can be much greater and much longer lasting than the immediate effect of the disease outbreak alone. Using Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) as an example, this paper demonstrates the pervasiveness of the effects of restrictive feed policies and regulations, particularly as they relate to meat and bone meal and other protein feeds. Costs evaluated include those assumed by consumers via changes in supplies of secondary and final products; environmental costs associated with disposal of hazardous materials; lost value of products to the rendering industry, including a decline in value of meat and bone meal; and supply disruptions and substitutions within the feed market sector increase the total costs of disease mitigation regulations. Benefits from new or amended policies accrue but are not easily measured.

  • Economic Impacts of Foreign Animal Disease

    ERR-57, May 28, 2008

    As more is learned about the impacts of foreign animal-disease outbreaks, questions arise regarding the efficacy of existing animal disease-impact models for capturing the array of effects across many economic sectors and time. Previous models lacked adequate treatment of either the economic components or the epidemiological components, and, in some cases, both. This report presents a quarterly livestock and crop modeling framework in which epidemiological model results are integrated with an economic model of the U.S. agricultural sector to estimate the economic impacts of outbreaks of foreign-source livestock diseases. The framework can be applied to many livestock diseases and this study uses the model to assess the results of a hypothetical outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). Model results show large trade-related losses for beef, beef cattle, hogs, and pork, even though relatively few animals are destroyed. The best control strategies prove to be those that reduce the duration of the outbreak.

  • Global Market Opportunities Drive Beef Production Decisions in Argentina and Uruguay

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2008

    Improvements to certification programs and traceability programs have helped expand beef exports from Argentina and Uruguay.

  • Dietary Assessment of Major Trends in U.S. Food Consumption, 1970-2005

    EIB-33, March 28, 2008

    ERS investigates trends in U.S. food consumption from 1970 to 2005. Results suggest many Americans still fall short of Federal dietary recommendations for whole grains, lower fat dairy products, and fruits and vegetables.

  • Beef Production, Markets, and Trade in Argentina and Uruguay: An Overview

    LDPM-15901, September 24, 2007

    Argentina and Uruguay (A/U) are significant beef exporters and among the world's greatest consumers of beef on a per capita basis. Between 13 and 20 percent of U.S. beef imports, on a tonnage basis, come from these two countries annually, and it is mostly grass-fed beef. Currently, only 10-20 percent of A/U beef production involves a feedlot. Both countries have recently implemented national animal identification systems, and their export slaughter facilities are up to the World Trade Organization's sanitary standards. Both countries are considered free from bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) by virtue of their pasture-based production technologies, but wrestle with foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). Argentine cattle/beef markets and trade are clearly and significantly affected by Government interventions in the domestic market. In contrast, Uruguay focuses on exporting beef.

  • U.S. Consumers Had Short-Term Response to First BSE Announcements

    Amber Waves, September 03, 2007

    ERS researchers compared household-level retail food purchases of three types of beef products before and after the 2003 U.S. government announcements of finding two North American cows infected with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) to see if consumers reduced their purchases of those products, and, if so, for how long. Food purchase data reveal that the response of U.S. consumers to those announcements was limited and dissipated within 2 weeks.

  • U.S. Agricultural Trade Update-State Exports

    FAU-123, June 29, 2007

    U.S. agricultural exports reached a record in fiscal 2006 at $68.7 billion, some $6.2 billion higher than the record set in fiscal 2005. California, Iowa, Texas, and Illinois continued their reign as top exporting States, while Minnesota dropped to seventh position behind Nebraska and Kansas. North Carolina joined the top 10, displacing North Dakota at the number nine position. Feed grain exports moved ahead of soybean exports, with Iowa and Illinois dominating in those markets. California continued to dominate vegetables, fruits, tree nuts, seeds, and dairy.

  • Ethanol Expansion in the United States: How Will the Agricultural Sector Adjust?

    FDS-07D-01, May 18, 2007

    A large expansion in ethanol production is underway in the United States. Cellulosic sources of feedstocks for ethanol production hold some promise for the future, but the primary feedstock in the United States currently is corn. Market adjustments to this increased demand extend well beyond the corn sector to supply and demand for other crops, such as soybeans and cotton, as well as to U.S. livestock industries. USDA's long-term projections, augmented by farmers' planting intentions for 2007, are used to illustrate anticipated changes in the agricultural sector.

  • NAFTA at 13: Implementation Nears Completion

    WRS-0701, March 29, 2007

    Implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is drawing to a close. In 2008, the last of NAFTA's transitional restrictions governing U.S.-Mexico and Canada-Mexico agricultural trade will be removed, concluding a 14-year project in which the member countries systematically dismantled numerous barriers to regional agricultural trade. During the implementation period, the agricultural sectors of Canada, Mexico, and the United States have become much more integrated. Agricultural trade within the free-trade area has grown dramatically, and Canadian and Mexican industries that rely on U.S. agricultural inputs have expanded. U.S. feedstuffs have facilitated a marked increase in Mexican meat production and consumption, and the importance of Canadian and Mexican produce to U.S. fruit and vegetable consumption is growing.

  • 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.

  • Did BSE Announcements Reduce Beef Purchases?

    ERR-34, December 29, 2006

    ERS examines retail purchases of beef and beef products for evidence of response to the 2003 government announcements of finding cows infected with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE).

  • Animal Products Markets in 2005 and Forecasts for 2006

    LDPM-14601, September 08, 2006

    Uncertainty continues to shape the forecasts for animal products markets in 2006. Potential and actual animal disease outbreaks, consumer sensitivities, volatile exchange rates, and growing competition from producers in other countries cloud U.S. trade prospects for major meats. Loss of U.S. trade market share, partly caused by disease outbreaks and related trade restrictions that have affected animal product exports since 2003, compounds the problem. The outlook for U.S. meat, poultry, and dairy markets in 2006 depends on how well domestic production adjusts to changes in input costs, the effect of exchange rates on trade, the continuing effects of disease and trade restrictions on exports, and the increasing competitiveness of emerging animal products exporters.

  • An Economic Chronology of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy in North America

    LDPM-14301, June 09, 2006

    The first confirmed cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in Canada and the United States had significant effects on trade and prices of U.S. cattle and beef. However, these incidents occurred during a period of low U.S. beef supplies, near-record beef prices, and strong domestic demand for beef that was largely unshaken by the BSE announcement. Also, U.S. reliance on beef and cattle exports, roughly 10 percent of production, was not so great as to cause burdensome increases in domestic supplies. Increased regulations, however, imposed additional costs on beef production and processing sectors.

  • Effect of Food Industry Mergers and Acquisitions on Employment and Wages

    ERR-13, December 09, 2005

    Empirical analysis of mergers and acquisitions in eight important food industries suggests that workers in acquired plants realized modest increases in employment and wages relative to other workers. Results also show that mergers and acquisitions reduced the likelihood of plant closures while high relative labor costs encouraged plant shutdowns. These results differ from commonly held views that mergers and acquisitions lead to fewer jobs, wage cuts, and plant shutdowns.

  • Mandatory Livestock Price Reporting: More Transparent?

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2005

    As more and more livestock was traded under contract during the 1990s, USDA's Market News reports were based on an ever declining number of transactions. In response to producer concerns that unreported contract prices were higher than spot market prices, Congress passed the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act in 1999. Based on prices reported since then, it appears that contract prices are not significantly higher than spot market. In addition, the share of livestock traded on open markets is now increasing.

  • Factors Affecting U.S. Beef Consumption

    LDPM-135-02, October 07, 2005

    Beef is a highly consumed meat in the United States, averaging 67 pounds per person per year. Findings based on the 1994-96 and 1998 Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals (CSFII) indicate that most beef was eaten at home. Annual beef consumption per person was highest in the Midwest (73 pounds), followed by the South and West (65 pounds each), and the Northeast (63 pounds). Rural consumers ate more beef (75 pounds) than did urban and suburban consumers (66 and 63 pounds). Beef consumption also varies by race and ethnicity. Blacks ate 77 pounds of beef per person per year, followed by 69 pounds by Hispanics, 65 pounds by Whites, and 62 pounds by other races. Low-income consumers tend to eat more beef than consumers in other income households.

  • Did the Mandatory Requirement Aid the Market? Impact of the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act

    LDPM-135-01, September 16, 2005

    This study focuses on fed cattle markets to compare the mandatory price reporting system developed by USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service in 2001 with the previous voluntary reporting system. The study also evaluates whether the mandatory system has improved the amount and quality of information available to the market. Results show that mandatory reporting has given the market additional information about prices for different kinds of sales transactions. The trend toward formula purchases has slowed since mandatory price reporting was implemented, and the volume of cattle moving under negotiated purchases has increased.

  • Disease-Related Trade Restrictions Shaped Animal Product Markets in 2004 and Stamp Imprints on 2005 Forecasts

    LDPM-133-01, August 03, 2005

    Disease outbreaks and related trade restrictions that affected U.S. animal product markets and exports in 2003 continued to constrain markets in 2004. U.S. cattle and beef markets were most affected. Pork, dairy, and lamb markets did not face any direct disease issues but both U.S. and international outbreaks of Avian Influenza buffeted poultry markets. Forecasts of 2005 U.S. animal-products trade reflect expected market responses given the uncertainties surrounding cattle and beef markets in the United States.