Publications

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  • Processing and Marketing Blunt the Impact of Volatile Farm Prices on Retail Dairy Prices

    Amber Waves, August 01, 2016

    Despite volatile farm-level milk prices over the last decade, fluctuations in retail prices for whole milk and Cheddar cheese have been comparatively moderate, with farm prices and retail prices tracking more closely for whole milk than for Cheddar cheese.

  • Profits, Costs, and the Changing Structure of Dairy Farming

    ERR-47, September 04, 2007

    ERS examines economic factors in the dramatic decline in the number of dairy farms over the past 15 years and the increasing concentration in the industry.

  • Provisions of the Agriculture and Food Act of 1981

    AGES-811228, January 01, 1982

    Commodity program provisions of the Agriculture and Food Act of 1981 are summarized. Price support, loan level, disaster payment, program acreage, and other provisions of the legislation are discussed for wheat, feed grains, cotton, rice, peanuts, soybeans, sugar, dairy, and wool and mohair. The following provisions are also summarized: miscellaneous; grain reserves; the national agricultural cost of production standards review board; agricultural exports and P.L. 480; food stamps; research, extension, and teaching; resource conservation; credit, rural development, and family farms; and floral research and consumer information.

  • Provisions of the Food Security Act of 1985

    AIB-498, April 01, 1986

    The Food Security Act of 1985 (P.L. 99-198) establishes a comprehensive framework within which the Secretary of Agriculture will administer agriculture and food programs from 1986 through 1990. This report describes the Act's provisions for dairy, wool and mohair, wheat, feed grains, cotton, rice, peanuts, soybeans, and sugar (including income and price supports, disaster payments, and acreage reductions); other general commodity provisions; trade; conservation; credit; research, extension, and teaching; food stamps; and marketings. These provisions are compared with earlier legislation.

  • Retail Dairy Prices Fluctuate With Farm Value of Milk

    Amber Waves, December 01, 2009

    In the late 1990s, a nearly two-decade decline in farm share of retail dairy prices slowed and in 2000-2008, farm share fluctuated between 26 and 35 percent. Consumers saw modest increases in dairy prices over this period until the 2007-08 jump in food price inflation.

  • Retail and Consumer Aspects of the Organic Milk Market

    LDPM-155-01, May 22, 2007

    Consumer interest in organic milk has burgeoned, resulting in rapid growth in retail sales of organic milk. New analysis of scanner data from 2004 finds that most purchasers of organic milk are White, high income, and well educated. The data indicate that organic milk purchased carries the USDA organic seal about 60 percent of the time, most organic milk is sold in supermarkets, organic price premiums are large and vary by region, and most organic milk is branded.

  • Selected Trade Agreements and Implications for U.S. Agriculture

    ERR-115, April 15, 2011

    ERS examines possible impacts of recently implemented free trade agreements (FTAs) where the United States is not a partner, and potential effects of pending U.S. agreements with Korea, Colombia, and Panama.

  • South Korea-United States Free Trade Agreement Benefits U.S. Dairy Trade

    Amber Waves, July 07, 2014

    Dairy production and consumption have expanded rapidly in South Korea. The South Korea-United States (KORUS) free trade agreement (FTA) is expected to promote trade through the reduction or elimination of tariffs. U.S. dairy exports have become more competitive recently, and the FTA is expected to add to the competitiveness of U.S. dairy products.

  • Structure of Dairy Markets: Past, Present, Future

    AER-757, September 01, 1997

    The U.S. dairy industry, many segments of which supported dairy policy changes in the 1996 Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act, is much different than it was 20 or even 10 years ago. This report provides a historical overview of the industry, more detailed examinations of the fluid milk market and selected manufactured dairy product markets, a discussion of future prospects and trends in the industry, and some thoughts on the implications of those prospects and trends for dairy farmers and their organizations, processors, dairy product manufacturers, and retailers.

  • Structure, Management, and Performance Characteristics of Specialized Dairy Farm Businesses in the United States

    AH-720, October 27, 2000

    The U.S. dairy industry faces a changing government policy environment in the year 2000. Milk producers are struggling, and will continue to struggle, to adjust to markets that are more dependent on the forces of supply and demand. Data from the 1993-95 Farm Costs and Returns Surveys and the 1996 Agricultural Resource Management Study show that dairy farm businesses in general did a fairly good job of meeting short-term debt, generating returns, and meeting long-term debt from 1993 to 1996. The analysis indicates that farm management strategies will play an important role in determining the overall profitability of a dairy farm business as Government supports decline. However, the 1996 data suggest that changes in management techniques are adopted slowly.

  • Support for the Organic Sector Expands in the 2014 Farm Act

    Amber Waves, July 07, 2014

    Organic program provisions in the 2014 Farm Act cover a broad set of objectives—assisting with organic certification costs, expanding organic research and data collection, improving technical assistance and crop insurance, strengthening enforcement of organic regulations, and expanding market opportunities for producers.

  • The 1996 Farm Act Increases Market Orientation

    AIB-726, August 01, 1996

    The Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996, a milestone in U.S. agricultural policy, provides new farm sector law for 1996-2002, fundamentally redesigning income support programs and discontinuing supply management programs for producers of many commodities. This bulletin provides a general overview of major changes related to production agriculture resulting from the commodity provisions, agricultural trade provisions, and conservation provisions of the Act.

  • The 2002 Farm Bill: Provisions and Economic Implications

    AP-022, January 23, 2008

    The Farm Security Act of 2002, which governs Federal farm programs for 2002-07, was signed into law on May 13, 2002. This publication presents an overview of the Act and a side-by-side comparison of 1996-2001 farm legislation and the 2002 Act. For selected programs, information is provided to additional analyses of key changes, program overview, and economic implications.

  • The Changing Landscape of U.S. Milk Production

    SB-978, June 01, 2004

    The U.S. dairy industry underwent dramatic restructuring during the last 50 or so years. Key structural features of the dairy industry are the quantity of milk produced and the location, number, size, and organization of dairy farms. The questions of where, how much, and by whom milk is produced are important from both a national and a regional perspective. The structure of milk production defines the potential direction of the industry. Dairy farms continue to grow, become more concentrated in certain regions, and become more specialized in producing milk. However, small traditional dairy operations remain scattered around the country.

  • The Effects of the Margin Protection Program for Dairy Producers

    ERR-214, September 06, 2016

    The Margin Protection Program for Dairy Producers offers protection when the difference between the U.S. all-milk price and the estimated average feed cost falls below an elected level. The program's potential impacts on average margins and risk at different levels of coverage for both the protected margin ($4-$8 per cwt) and the share of production covered (25-90%) are estimated for 13 regions.

  • The Estimated Amount, Value, and Calories of Postharvest Food Losses at the Retail and Consumer Levels in the United States

    EIB-121, February 20, 2014

    In the United States, 31 percent-or 133 billion pounds-of the 430 billion pounds of the available food supply at the retail and consumer levels in 2010 went uneaten. The estimated value of this food loss was $161.6 billion using retail prices. For the first time, ERS estimated the calories associated with food loss: 141 trillion in 2010, or 1,249 calories per capita per day. Errata: On June 27, 2014, Tables 2, 3, and 5 were updated to correct some incorrect values. The errors did not affect summary totals in the tables or report findings.

  • The Impact of Big-Box Stores on Retail Food Prices and the Consumer Price Index

    ERR-33, December 29, 2006

    This report focuses on retail food market dynamics and how they affect food price variation across store formats. The differences in prices across store formats are especially noteworthy when compared with standard measures of food price inflation over time. Over the past 20 years, annual food price changes, as measured by the CPI, have averaged just 3 percent per year, while food prices for similar products can vary by more than 10 percent across store formats at any one point in time. Since the current CPI for food does not fully take into account the lower price option of nontraditional retailers, a gap exists between price changes as measured using scanner data versus the CPI estimate, even for the relatively low food inflation period of 1998-2003. This study estimates that the CPI for dairy products overstates food price change by 0.5 to 2.5 percentage points per year for dairy, eggs, and butter/margarine.

  • The Influence of Income and Prices on Global Dietary Patterns by Country, Age, and Gender

    ERR-225, March 02, 2017

    Worldwide changes in eating habits are contributing to a global rise in obesity and related diseases across all countries. To address this issue, this report investigates how income and prices influence dietary habits globally.

  • The Interplay of Regulation and Marketing Incentives in Providing Food Safety

    ERR-75, July 10, 2009

    Both Government regulations and private-sector-determined actions have resulted in the current level of safety in meat and poultry products. Focusing on process control, ERS examines the relative contributions of regulations and management-determined initiatives.

  • Trade Liberalization in International Dairy Markets: Estimated Impacts

    ERR-16, February 22, 2006

    This report examines issues related to modeling complex policy regimes that affect international dairy markets using a partial equilibrium, multiple-commodity, multiregion model of agricultural policy and trade. Average bound tariffs for dairy remain among the highest of all agricultural commodities and dairy trade is characterized by a large number of megatariffs and tariff-rate quotas (TRQs). In addition to tariffs and TRQs, countries have used milk production quotas to control milk production. Modeling results indicate that liberalization would reduce world dairy product supplies and increase the value of dairy trade.