Publications

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  • Conservation Reserve Program Acreage To Decline; Will Benefits Also Fall?

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2008

    The Conservation Reserve Program-the long-time centerpiece of U.S. agricultural conservation policy-is shrinking. The acreage cap will fall to 32 million acres beginning in October, 2009, and program acreage could fall farther without new enrollments. As CRP acreage declines, will environmental benefits decline at the same rate?

  • Conservation Program Provision May Have Limited Impact on Underserved Farmer Participation

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2008

    Conservation program funding set-asides in the 2008 Farm Act may have little impact on the participation of beginning farmers in EQIP. Payments to beginning farmers in EQIP exceeded the set-aside funding amount in 2006, but regionally administered set-asides may increase participation in certain regions.

  • Vegetables and Melons Outlook: September 2009

    VGS-328-01, September 09, 2008

    Vegetable and melon production requires a substantial investment in production inputs. Using data from USDA's Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS), this article presents and explores the major expense components of specialized U.S. and regional vegetable and melon farms during 1998-2006. Total cash expenses per acre for specialized U.S. vegetable and melon farms increased 32 percent between 1998-2000 and 2004-06 and were highest in the West and lowest in the Midwest. Labor accounted for 30 percent of U.S. cash expenses, followed by fertilizer and agricultural chemicals at 18 percent.

  • Research Areas

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2008

    Research area charts from the September 2008 issue of Amber Waves.

  • Global Agricultural Supply and Demand: Factors Contributing to the Recent Increase in Food Commodity Prices

    WRS-0801, July 23, 2008

    World market prices for major food commodities such as grains and vegetable oils have risen sharply to historic highs of more than 60 percent above levels just 2 years ago. Many factors have contributed to the runup in food commodity prices. Some factors reflect trends of slower growth in production and more rapid growth in demand, which have contributed to a tightening of world balances of grains and oilseeds over the last decade. Recent factors that have further tightened world markets include increased global demand for biofuels feedstocks and adverse weather conditions in 2006 and 2007 in some major grain and oilseed producing areas. Other factors that have added to global food commodity price inflation include the declining value of the U.S. dollar, rising energy prices, increasing agricultural costs of production, growing foreign exchange holdings by major food importing countries, and policies adopted recently by some exporting and importing countries to mitigate their own food price inflation.

  • The Economic Organization of U.S. Broiler Production

    EIB-38, June 30, 2008

    ERS describes the boiler industry's organization, use of production contracts, animal housing features, enterprise cost structures, and farm household finances.

  • Indicators

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2008

    Indicators charts from the June 2008 issue of Amber Waves

  • Research Areas

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2008

    Research area charts from the June 2008 issue of Amber Waves.

  • Indicators

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2008

    Indicators tables from the April 2008 issue of Amber Waves.

  • Producers Rely on Contracts To Manage Increased Price Risks

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2008

    U.S. agricultural production continues to shift away from cash markets and toward greater use of contracts. According to a new ERS study, agricultural contracts covered 41 percent of the value of agricultural production in 2005, up from 36 percent in 2001 and 28 percent in 1991.

  • Research Areas

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2008

    Research area charts from the April 2008 issue of Amber Waves.

  • Agricultural Contracting Update, 2005

    EIB-35, April 01, 2008

    Over half of all transactions for U.S. farm products involved commodities bought and sold in open markets. But formal contractual arrangements cover a growing share of production.

  • Equilibrium Displacement Mathematical Programming Models: Methodology and a Model of the U.S. Agricultural Sector

    TB-1918, February 11, 2008

    The objective of this research is to extend and generalize the equilibrium displacement methodology by combining it with mathematical programming methods and existing knowledge of farm sector relationships to develop sectoral adjustment models that can operate in pure competition, monopoly/monopsony, or mixed-competition. A model of the U.S. agricultural sector at the national aggregate level is presented to illustrate the methods. An appendix contains a user's manual describing the operation of the model. Further appendices contain documentation of the structure of the spreadsheets, the programming tableau, and the SAS solution program.

  • Indicators

    Amber Waves, February 01, 2008

    Amber Waves presents the broad scope of ERS's research and analysis. The magazine covers the economics of agriculture, food and nutrition, the food industry, trade, rural America, and farm-related environmental topics.

  • Agricultural Research Sustains Productivity Growth and Earns High Returns

    Amber Waves, February 01, 2008

    Twenty-seven studies evaluated the economic impact of U.S. agricultural research. Four-fifths of the studies found the annual social rate of return to research to be between 20 percent and 60 percent.

  • Record Levels of Cash Receipts and Income Forecast in 2008

    Amber Waves, February 01, 2008

    The 2008 outlook for commodity market receipts, production expenses, and government payments translates into record amounts of all three measures of farm sector income-net value added, net farm income, and net cash income. Production and sales of feed grains and oilseeds will contribute significantly to record-level crop receipts in 2008. Total agricultural production expenses are forecast to increase 8.6 percent to $279.2 billion, largely due to higher feed and fertilizer costs. This article presents the latest farm income forecasts from ERS.

  • 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.

  • Farm-Based Recreation: A Statistical Profile

    ERR-53, December 31, 2007

    Farm-based recreation provides an important niche market for farmers, but limited empirical information is available on the topic. Access to two USDA databases, the 2004 Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) and the 2000 National Survey on Recreation and the Environment, provided researchers with a deeper understanding of who operates farm-based recreation enterprises, such as hunting and fishing operations, horseback riding businesses, on-farm rodeos, and petting zoos. Regression analysis identified the importance of various farmer and farm characteristics, as well as local and regional factors associated with farmer operation of, and income derived from, farm-based recreation.

  • The Changing Economics of U.S. Hog Production

    ERR-52, December 27, 2007

    ERS examines the economic factors that underlie the dramatic decline in number of hog operations over the past 15 years and the increasing concentration of production on large, specialized hog farms.

  • Characteristics and Production Costs of U.S. Hog Farms, 2004

    EIB-32, December 27, 2007

    Once dominated by small, owner-operated crop-hog farms, hog ownership is increasingly concentrated. Traditional farrow-to-finish operations are being replaced by operations specializing in a single production phase.