Publications

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  • Federal Funding in Rural America Goes Far Beyond Agriculture

    Amber Waves, March 01, 2009

    For the first time in the nearly 40 years that ERS has been analyzing the geographic distribution of Federal spending, rural areas received more in total per capita Federal funding ($7,473) in fiscal year (FY) 2005 than urban areas ($7,391).

  • Research Areas

    Amber Waves, March 01, 2009

    This page contains research area charts from the March 2009 issue of Amber Waves.

  • Million-Dollar Farms Dominate Production of Some Commodities

    Amber Waves, March 01, 2009

    In 2007, 37,300 farms—2 percent of U.S. farming operations—accounted for half of U.S. agricultural production, according to the Agricultural Resource Management Survey. These farms were million dollar farms—that is, they had sales of $1 million or more.

  • Forecasting Farm Income: Documenting USDA's Forecast Model

    TB-1924, February 12, 2009

    The Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) develops and publishes estimates and forecasts of three primary measures of income and returns for the U.S. farm economy: (1) net value added, or total value of the farm sector's production of goods and services less purchases of inputs and services from other sectors of the economy; (2) net farm income, the portion of net value added earned by farm operators and others who share the risks of production, and (3) net cash income, the cash earned from sales of production and conversion of assets into cash. The USDA short-term income forecast model generates forecasts of receipts for individual commodities, Government payments for each program commodity or activity, and expenses for inputs such as fertilizer, fuel, feed, rent, and labor. The report describes the components and equations in the model, showing how components can be recombined to produce the three main measures of income.

  • USDA Agricultural Projections to 2018

    OCE-2009-1, February 12, 2009

    This report provides longrun (10-year) projections for the agricultural sector through 2018. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices.

  • 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.

  • The Roles of Economists in the U.S. Department of Agriculture

    AP-031, January 02, 2009

    Among the many responsibilities of USDA are implementing the Food Stamp Program and other food and nutrition assistance programs; managing Federal forest land; implementing standards of humane care and treatment of animals; providing incentives for adopting wildlife habitat enhancements and other conservation practices; participating in trade negotiations; ensuring the safety of meat, poultry, and eggs; providing funds for rural business development; and implementing farm programs legislated by Congress. The Department has a broad mandate, and virtually everything with which it is charged has economic dimensions. It is not surprising, then, that USDA employs over 800 economists across 16 of its agencies.

  • Million-Dollar Farms in the New Century

    EIB-42, December 30, 2008

    ERS documents the growing importance of very large farms in agricultural production. While a large majority of U.S. farms are small, those with annual sales above $1 million account for roughly half of agricultural sales.

  • Data Feature

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2008

    U.S. agriculture relies almost entirely on productivity growth, primarily from innovation and changes in technology, to raise output.

  • Indicators

    Amber Waves, November 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. Available on the Internet and in print, Amber Waves is issued in print five times a year (February, April, June, September, and November). The Internet edition, or "eZine," includes links to web-only resources.

  • New Payment Limits, Lower Income Cap Unlikely To Have Significant Impact

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2008

    Despite payment limits and an income cap on eligibility for farm program payments, a substantial portion of payments continue to go to large farms. The 2008 Farm Act makes a number of changes to these provisions but is unlikely to have a significant impact on the distribution of farm program payments.

  • 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.