Publications

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  • 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.

  • Recent Convergence Performance of Futures and Cash Prices for Corn, Soybeans, and Wheat

    FDS-13L-01, December 30, 2013

    From 2005 to 2011, there were growing discrepancies between expiring futures prices and cash prices for wheat, corn, and soybeans--a problem known as non-convergence. Changes to futures contracts have improved convergence since 2011.

  • 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.

  • Soybean Backgrounder

    OCS-200601, April 04, 2006

    This report addresses key domestic and international market and policy developments that have affected the U.S. soybean sector in recent years. It provides an analysis of the competition between crops for domestic farmland and the international supply and demand for soybean products. Also covered are domestic and trade policy, farm program costs, and a profile of operating and financial characteristics of U.S. farms producing soybeans.

  • Soybeans: Background and Issues for Farm Legislation

    OCS-0701-01, August 01, 2001

    Congress is considering new farm legislation to replace the expiring Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996. As background for these deliberations, this report provides information on supply, demand, and prices in the U.S. soybean sector. Domestic policy effects on U.S. exports and trade agreements are also evaluated because international trade is an important component of soybean demand. A description of the major features of the current soybean program is included, as well as a discussion of some proposed policy changes.

  • Structural Change Brings New Challenges to Soybean Price Forecasters

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2004

    South America has surpassed the U.S. in soybean production and displaced the U.S. as the dominant player in the global soybean market. This has put downward pressure on U.S. soybean prices, changing the market dynamics of the soybean sector and the economic relationships that have traditionally been used by USDA for price forecasting.

  • Summer Weather Most Important for Corn and Soybean Yields

    Amber Waves, October 24, 2013

    To measure the impact of weather on crops, ERS developed statistical models for corn and soybean yields based on 25 years of historical data. July tends to be the most important month for determining corn yields since many of the critical stages of crop development, particularly pollination, typically occur during that month. Weather in both July and August are important for soybean yields.

  • 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 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 2014 Farm Act Agriculture Risk Coverage, Price Loss Coverage, and Supplemental Coverage Option Programs' Effects on Crop Revenue

    ERR-204, January 12, 2016

    ERS examines the underlying mechanics of the Agriculture Risk Coverage, the Price Loss Coverage, and the Supplemental Coverage Option programs to see how they affect producer revenues and risk as well as expected program costs.

  • The Changing Face of the U.S. Grain System

    ERR-35, February 28, 2007

    Specialty grains coming onto the market (e.g., fiber-enriched wheat) are requiring adjustments in the marketing system, including information documentation and management, in order to preserve their added value or prevent accidental commingling with standard grains.

  • The Economics of Glyphosate Resistance Management in Corn and Soybean Production

    ERR-184, April 30, 2015

    Corn and soybean growers have an economic incentive to encourage neighbors to manage (rather than ignore) weed resistance to the herbicide glyphosate.

  • The Effects of Premium Subsidies on Demand for Crop Insurance

    ERR-169, July 07, 2014

    Increases to premium subsidies can induce farmers to enroll more land in the crop insurance program, but they primarily encourage them to adopt higher levels of coverage on land already enrolled. Effects vary by region and crop type.

  • The Ethanol Decade: An Expansion of U.S. Corn Production, 2000-09

    EIB-79, August 18, 2011

    ERS examines how the farm sector reacted to increased demand for corn needed to fuel a 9-billion-gallon rise in ethanol production in the past decade. In the United States, corn is the primary ethanol feedstock.

  • The Importance of Federal Crop Insurance Premium Subsidies

    Amber Waves, October 20, 2014

    Growth in Federal Crop Insurance (FCI) has generally been attributed to the increase in crop insurance premium subsidies. While ERS research results show the lower costs had only small effects on acreage enrollment, those already enrolled showed an adoption of higher levels of coverage. Results suggest that increasing premium subsidies could cause Government costs to increase rapidly.

  • The Profit Potential of Certified Organic Field Crop Production

    ERR-188, July 27, 2015

    Organic corn, soybean, and wheat production has higher total economic costs and lower yields than conventional production. However, price premiums paid to organic producers are an important factor offsetting the higher costs.

  • The Renewable Identification Number System and U.S. Biofuel Mandates

    BIO-03, November 08, 2011

    This report provides an overview of how the Renewable Identification Number (RIN) market works to ensure compliance with the Renewable Fuel Standard provision of the Energy Independence and Security Act, as well as how RIN prices are determined and which factors influence their prices.

  • The Role of Policy and Industry Structure in India's Oilseed Markets

    ERR-17, April 19, 2006

    This report reviews recent developments in India's oilseed sector and assesses the implications of current and potential future policy reforms for the oilseed sector. Extensive policy intervention continues to affect oilseed production, trade, and processing in India. Findings suggest that India's current policy of high tariffs on oilseeds and oil affords little benefit to oilseed producers and imposes high costs on consumers. A reduction in oilseed barriers would encourage processors in India to boost capacity utilization using imported oilseeds, resulting in lower processing costs, and increased net revenues and employment. It would also afford U.S. soybean producers an opportunity for exports.

  • The Soybean Processing Decision

    TB-1897, December 04, 2001

    The gross soybean processing margin (the gross return per bushel of soybeans processed) is the main decision variable that processors use in deciding when and if to make binding commitments to process soybeans on future dates. Understanding how processors choose processing margins for future processing dates from among those available on successive days may help to resolve the ongoing concern about the level of competitiveness in processing agricultural commodities. Processing returns are treated as being equivalent to the returns to a call option. This approach provides the opportunity to simulate processor choice of processing margin by evaluating the incentive of waiting for a larger processing margin versus the incentive of locking in the currently available processing margin for a future date. The approach captures the irreversibility of the decision to process soybeans. Once the decision is made to process soybeans it cannot be economically reversed because of the contractual penalties involved. Processing margins selected using evaluations of these incentives explained variation in soybean crush, whereas spot margins for the corresponding processing dates did not.

  • 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.