Publications

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  • Managing Agricultural Risk Under Different Scenarios: Selected 2014 Farm Act Programs

    Amber Waves, February 06, 2017

    The 2014 Farm Act introduced several new programs for crop and livestock producers. A recent ERS study analyzed how these programs provide options for risk management under different scenarios.

  • Managing Glyphosate Resistance May Sustain Its Efficacy and Increase Long-Term Returns to Corn and Soybean Production

    Amber Waves, May 04, 2015

    Widespread use of the glyphosate on major crops, particularly soybeans, has contributed to the evolution of weed resistance to this herbicide. Managing glyphosate resistance (by using other herbicides) is more cost-effective than ignoring resistance, and returns are greater when neighboring farmers also manage resistance.

  • Managing the Costs of Reducing Agriculture’s Footprint on the Chesapeake Bay

    Amber Waves, July 07, 2014

    Runoff from agricultural activity and other nonpoint sources contributes to adverse environmental conditions in the Chesapeake Bay, interfering with fish and shellfish production and compromising recreational opportunities. In order to meet Environmental Protection Agency goals for the Chesapeake Bay, loadings of nutrients and sediments from agricultural activity must be reduced.

  • Market Access for High-Value Foods

    AER-840, February 01, 2005

    This report examines global food trade patterns and the role of WTO market access rules in shaping the composition of global food trade.

  • Market Issues and Prospects for U.S. Distillers' Grains Supply, Use, and Price Relationships

    FDS-10K-01, December 09, 2010

    Growth in corn dry-mill ethanol production has surged in the past several years, simultaneously creating a coproduct-distillers' grains (DDGS). Many in the U.S. feed industry were concerned about the size of this new feed source and whether it could be used entirely by the feed industry, but they also worried about the price discovery process for the product. The authors of this report provide a transparent methodology to estimate U.S. supply and consumption of DDGS. Potential domestic and export use of U.S. DDGS exceeds current production and is likely to exceed future production as ethanol production continues to grow. The authors identify the DDGS price discovery process along with the price relationships of distillers' grains, corn, and soybean meal.

  • Measuring the Indirect Land-Use Change Associated With Increased Biofuel Feedstock Production: A Review of Modeling Efforts: Report to Congress

    AP-054, February 10, 2011

    The House Report 111-181 accompanying H.R. 2997, the 2010 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, requested the USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) in conjunction with the Office of the Chief Economist, to conduct a study of land-use changes for renewable fuels and feedstocks used to produce them. This report summarizes the current state of knowledge of the drivers of land-use change and describes the analytic methods used to estimate the impact of biofuel feedstock production on land use. The models used to assess policy impacts have incorporated some of the major uncertainties inherent in making projections of future conditions, but some uncertainties will continue exist. The larger the impact of domestic biofuels feedstock production on commodity prices and the availability of exports, the larger the international land-use effects of likely to be. The amount of pressure placed on land internationally will depend in part on how much of the land needed for biofuel production is met through an expansion of agricultural land in the United States. If crop yield per acre increases through more intensive management or new crop varieties, then less land is needed to grow a particular amount of that crop.

  • NAFTA’s Liberalization of Corn Trade Approaches the Finish Line

    Amber Waves, September 03, 2007

    Implementation of NAFTA, signed in 1995 is nearly complete, and all remaining trade barriers among the U.S., Canada, and Mexico will be phased out in 2008. One of the few remaining commodities to be liberalized under NAFTA is corn, which has had a 14-year transition period. But the TRQ has become less restrictive over the period, so the final phase-out is not expected to generate much additional impact.

  • New Market Realities Affect Crop Program Choices

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2008

    Even as farmers enjoy record high commodity prices and income, they face an array of risks, including high production costs and greater price volatility. Rising crop prices mean increased Federal crop insurance program payments but reduce the likelihood commodity program payments based on fixed price targets. The new Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program offers revenue protection but participating farmers must forgo some benefits of traditional commodity programs.

  • New Traders in Corn, Soybean, and Wheat Futures Markets Scrutinized

    Amber Waves, December 01, 2009

    The growing participation of nontraditional traders in futures markets, such as index funds and swap dealers, has coincided with increasing volatility in commodity markets and a weakening of the usual correlation between futures and cash prices. ERS research, however, finds no link between these trends and the growing presence of nontraditional traders.

  • Newly Updated ERS Data Show 2016 Production, Trade Volume, and Per Capita Availability of Vegetables and Pulses

    Amber Waves, August 07, 2017

    ERS provides economic analyses and data on vegetables and pulses for the fresh market and for processing use. The Vegetables and Pulses Yearbook provides current and historical data on supply, use, value, prices, and trade for the sector and for individual commodities.

  • Next-Generation Biofuels: Near-Term Challenges and Implications for Agriculture

    BIO-01-01, May 14, 2010

    This report assesses the short-term outlook for production of next-generation biofuels and the near-term challenges facing the sector. Next-generation U.S. biofuel capacity should reach about 88 million gallons in 2010, thanks in large measure to one plant becoming commercially operational in 2010, using noncellulosic animal fat to produce green diesel. U.S. production capacity for cellulosic biofuels is estimated to be 10 million gallons for 2010, much less than the 100 million gallons originally mandated by the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act. Near-term sector challenges include reducing high capital and production costs, acquiring financial resources for precommercial development, developing new biomass supply arrangements, many of which will be with U.S. farmers, and overcoming the constraints of ethanol's current 10-percent blending limit with gasoline.

  • Nitrogen Management on U.S. Corn Acres, 2001-10

    EB-20, November 14, 2012

    Nitrogen is a critical input in agriculture, and corn is the largest user of nitrogen. An examination of nitrogen management on corn cropland indicates that corn producers appear to be applying less excess nitrogen.

  • Nitrogen in Agricultural Systems: Implications for Conservation Policy

    ERR-127, September 22, 2011

    Nitrogen is an important agricultural input that is critical for crop production. However, the introduction of large amounts of nitrogen into the environment has a number of undesirable impacts on water, terrestrial, and atmospheric resources. This report explores the use of nitrogen in U.S. agriculture and assesses changes in nutrient management by farmers that may improve nitrogen use efficiency. It also reviews a number of policy approaches for improving nitrogen management and identifies issues affecting their potential performance. Findings reveal that about two-thirds of U.S. cropland is not meeting three criteria for good nitrogen management related to the rate, timing, and method of application. Several policy approaches, including financial incentives, nitrogen management as a condition of farm program eligibility, and regulation, could induce farmers to improve their nitrogen management and reduce nitrogen losses to the environment.

  • Oil Crops Outlook: November 2012

    OCS-12K, November 13, 2012

    ERS -- working closely with the World Agricultural Outlook Board, the Foreign Agricultural Service, and other USDA agencies -- conducts market analysis and provides short- and long-term projections of U.S. and world agricultural production, consumption, and trade.

  • Oil Crops Outlook: October 2012

    OCS-12J, October 12, 2012

    ERS--working closely with the World Agricultural Outlook Board, the Foreign Agricultural Service, and other USDA agencies--conducts market analysis and provides short- and long-term projections of U.S. and world agricultural production, consumption, and trade.

  • Oil Crops Outlook: September 2012

    OCS-12I, September 13, 2012

    ERS--working closely with the World Agricultural Outlook Board, the Foreign Agricultural Service, and other USDA agencies--conducts market analysis and provides short- and long-term projections of U.S. and world agricultural production, consumption, and trade.

  • Oil Prices and Ethanol Demand Drive Changes in Agricultural Commodity Production in Brazil

    Amber Waves, July 05, 2016

    Prices of oil and biofuels, agricultural land use, and commodity markets are linked through a complex web of interactions. In Brazil, a major consumer and producer of ethanol and a leading commodity exporter, changes in oil prices could lead to major shifts in the country’s cropping patterns and, as a result, changes in world commodity prices.

  • On the Doorstep of the Information Age: Recent Adoption of Precision Agriculture

    EIB-80, August 24, 2011

    The adoption of precision agriculture, which encompasses a suite of farm-level information technologies, can improve the efficiency of input use and reduce environmental harm from the overapplication of inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides. Still, the adoption of precision agricultural technologies and practices has been less rapid than envisioned a decade ago. Using Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) data collected over the past 10 years, this report examines trends in the adoption of four key information technologies-yield monitors, variable-rate application technologies, guidance systems, and GPS maps-in the production of major field crops. While yield monitoring is now used on over 40 percent of U.S. grain crop acres, very few producers have adopted GPS maps or variable-rate input application technologies.

  • On the Map: California, Florida, and Washington Are Nation's Largest Fruit-Producing States

    Amber Waves, June 16, 2011

    California accounts for about half of U.S. bearing fruit acreage, Florida almost one-fourth, and Washington around one-tenth.

  • Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade

    AES-77, February 21, 2013

    Fiscal 2013 U.S. agricultural exports are forecast at a record $142 billion, $6.2 billion above 2012 exports. U.S. imports are forecast at a record $112.5 billion, $9.1 billion higher than in fiscal 2012.