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  • Second Food Security Measurement and Research Conference, Volume 1: Proceedings

    FANRR-11-1, February 28, 2001

    This is Volume 1 of a two-volume set and contains abbreviated proceedings of all presentations made at the Second Food Security Measurement and Research Conference held on February 23-24, 1999. The conference was cosponsored by USDA's Food and Nutrition Service and Economic Research Service and HHS's National Center for Health Statistics. The conference was part of an ongoing program of Federal food security research, the goal of which has been to establish a stable measurement strategy to assess annually the food security status of the U.S. population.

  • The Economic Benefits of Breastfeeding: A Review and Analysis

    FANRR-13, March 01, 2001

    A minimum of $3.6 billion would be saved if breastfeeding were increased from current levels (64 percent in-hospital, 29 percent at 6 months) to those recommended by the U.S. Surgeon General (75 and 50 percent). This figure is likely an underestimation of the total savings because it represents cost savings from the treatment of only three childhood illnesses: otitis media, gastroenteritis, and necrotizing enterocolitis. This report reviews breastfeeding trends and previous studies that assessed the economic benefits of breastfeeding.

  • Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Program, Final Report: Fiscal 2000 Activities

    AP-007, March 07, 2001

    ERS's Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Program (FANRP) supports intramural and extramural research on a wide range of policy-relevant food assistance and nutrition topics. The three perennial program themes are (1) diet and nutritional outcomes, (2) food program targeting and delivery, and (3) program dynamics and administration. The core food and nutrition assistance programs include the Food Stamp Program, the child nutrition programs, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). This report summarizes FANRP's activities and accomplishments in fiscal 2000.

  • Economic Issues in Agricultural Biotechnology

    AIB-762, March 19, 2001

    This report analyzes the economic aspects of several key areas--agricultural research policy, industry structure, production and marketing, consumer issues, and future world food demand--where agricultural biotechnology is dramatically affecting the public policy agenda.

  • Concentration and Technology in Agricultural Input Industries

    AIB-763, March 19, 2001

    Consolidation in the agricultural biotechnology industry can both enhance and dampen market competition. This report examines the causes and consequences of industry consolidation and its effect on market efficiency. In some cases, concentration realizes economies of scale, which can improve market efficiency by driving down production costs. The protection of intellectual property rights is integral to the agricultural biotechnology marketplace, stimulating research and development, investment, and the development of substitute markets. However, excessively broad intellectual property rights can hinder the market for innovation. Recent data on mergers, acquisitions, and strategic collaborations in the agricultural biotechnology industry, as well as the emergence of life science conglomerates, indicate some level of consolidation. However, the move by some companies to divest their seed operations calls into question the long-term viability of these conglomerates.

  • Product Liability and Microbial Foodborne Illness

    AER-799, April 01, 2001

    This report examines how product liability law treats personal injuries attributed to microbially contaminated foods. The risk of lawsuits stemming from microbial foodborne illness and the resulting court-awarded compensation may create economic incentives for firms to produce safer food. It is not known how many consumers seek compensation for damages from contaminated foods because information about complaints and legal claims involving foodborne illness is not readily accessible, especially for cases that are settled out of court. Reviewing the outcomes of 175 jury trials involving foodborne pathogens, the analysis identifies several factors that influence trial outcomes, while noting that the awards won by plaintiffs tend to be modest.

  • Explaining the Food Stamp Cash-Out Puzzle

    FANRR-12, April 01, 2001

    Empirical studies have shown that food stamp participants spend a higher proportion of their benefit on food than they would with an equivalent amount of cash. Our study demonstrates that this result can be explained by the decisionmaking behavior of multi-adult households. Multi-adult households spend a higher proportion of their food stamp benefit than they would with an equivalent amount of cash. In contrast, single-adult households show little difference in food spending between food stamps and an equivalent amount of cash. Because over 30 percent of food stamp participants are in multi-adult households, switching from food stamps to cash may reduce food purchases of these needy households. If that is indeed the case, the use of food stamps and other in-kind benefits may be more desirable than other forms of assistance.

  • Economics of Tariff-Rate Quota Administration

    TB-1893, April 02, 2001

    The 1996 Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture was a step toward free trade. The Agreement lifts bans and quotas on imports, but allows their conversion into tariff-rate quotas (TRQs), which function like quotas. At present, many of the 1,300 TRQs increased market access to imports, but some have preserved pre-Agreement levels of protection. The World Trade Organization's intent as to the administration of TRQs is open to interpretation. This report analyzes seven administrative methods in light of the principle of nondiscrimination. We conclude that auctions are the best way to administer a TRQ. First-come, first-served and license-on-demand methods present a moderate risk of biased trade. State trading organizations and producer groups that directly administer TRQs can also bias trade. Historical allocation is the method most likely to be discriminatory. Two case studies illustrate our conclusion.

  • Analysis of the U.S. Commodity Loan Program with Marketing Loan Provisions

    AER-801, April 02, 2001

    Over the next several years, crop prices are projected to be below to slightly above commodity loan rates. As a result, marketing loan benefits to farmers, in the form of loan deficiency payments and marketing loan gains from the commodity loan program, are likely to continue to be sizeable. The level of realized per-unit revenues facilitated by marketing loans exceeds commodity loan rates, thereby raising expected net returns to farmers. Model simulations show that the loan program can raise total acreage planted to major field crops, generally increasing levels of domestic use and exports while lowering crop prices. Cross-commodity effects of supply response to relative returns (including marketing loan benefits), however, result in acreage shifts among competing crops, which can lead to reductions in plantings of some crops in some years. Most impacts occur in the years when there are marketing loan benefits, with little effect in subsequent years when prices rise high enough to eliminate marketing loan benefits. The livestock sector benefits from these outcomes because of generally lower feed costs.

  • Valuing the Health Benefits of Food Safety: A Proceedings

    MP-1570, April 02, 2001

    Because each Federal agency uses a different valuation method to estimate the costs of illness, it is difficult to compare programs across agencies. As a first step toward generating a consensus on the current state of knowledge and deciding on a common approach, several agencies planned this conference, held September 14-15, 2000, at the University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland. The outcome of the conference will serve as guidance for a consensus approach. The conference was sponsored by the following organizations: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Economic Research Service, USDA; Food and Drug Administration; NE-165 Regional Research Project; Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, USDHHS; and The Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

  • Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Program, Fiscal 2001, Competitive Grants and Cooperative Agreements Program: Description and Application Process

    AP-008, April 06, 2001

    ERS's Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Program accepted proposals for grants and cooperative agreements for fiscal 2001. The five priority research areas were (1) Workforce Attachment, Income Volatility, and Administrative Costs, (2) Food Assistance as a Safety Net, (3) Targeting High Needs Subgroups, (4) Eating Patterns, Food Choices, and Health Outcomes, and (5) Nutrition Education: Public and Private Returns to Information. This publication describes the research areas and application requirements. Funding for competitive awards in fiscal 2001 was approximately $2 million. The deadline for proposal submission was May 18, 2001.

  • Effects of Federal Tax Policy on Agriculture

    AER-800, April 16, 2001

    This report analyzes the effects of the current Federal tax code on farming. It is the first study that applies the ERS farm typology to tax data. The study was initiated by the USDA National Commission on Small Farms and also evaluates tax proposals to assist beginning farmers. Investment, management, and production decisions in agriculture continue to be influenced by Federal tax laws, although this influence may be less than in earlier decades.

  • Understanding the Food Stamp Benefit Formula: A Tool for Measuring the Component Effects

    FANRR-14, April 20, 2001

    This report develops an accounting tool for measuring how the average benefit amount in the U.S. Food Stamp Program is affected by each major component of the rules that determine the benefit level. This tool is used to compare the benefits received by different subpopulations, distinguished by poverty level, demographic makeup, household size, and region of the country. This simple decomposition complements more complex tools, such as microsimulation methods, which help policy analysts understand and evaluate the effects of detailed Food Stamp Program regulations.

  • Issues in Food Security

    AIB-765, April 23, 2001

    Included here are a number of short multidisciplinary issue papers that address how food security in the United States and throughout the world is affected by issues like trade liberalization, income distribution, and natural resources. ERS research shows that more than 800 million people are hungry in 67 lower income countries and even though the number of people affected is expected to decline, the situation may become more severe in the poorer countries. The reasons for food insecurity are many. Noticeably absent from that list, however, is large-scale food scarcity. The growth rate in food production worldwide has surpassed the population growth rate, leading to increased food availability per person. Since 1996, some regions/countries have significantly improved their economic performance and food security situation: several lower income countries in Asia and Latin America are clearly in this group. Sub-Saharan Africa, however, has not seen much progress, nor are its prospects for improvement sanguine. Global trade liberalization is expected to expand market access for the lower income countries and enhance their ability to compete. The multiplicity of forces acting on different nations' prospects for food security means that a broad range of issues must be considered at the global level if countries-and all their households-are to become and remain food secure.

  • Asymmetric Information in the Market for Yield and Revenue Insurance

    TB-1892, April 24, 2001

    This report analyzes farmers' choice of crop insurance contracts and tests for the presence of asymmetric information in the market for multiple yield and revenue insurance products. Farmers' risk characteristics, their level of income, and the cost of insurance significantly affect their choices of yield and revenue insurance products as well as their selections of alternative coverage levels. Empirical analysis indicates that, in the presence of asymmetric information, high-risk farmers are more likely to select revenue insurance contracts and higher coverage levels. The results also indicate that premium rates do not accurately reflect the likelihood of losses, implying informational asymmetrics in the crop insurance market.

  • Food Security Assessment: Regional Overview

    AIB-765-1, April 25, 2001

    This briefing paper covers 67 low-income countries in five regions. Sub-Saharan Africa is identified as the most vulnerable region: with only 25 percent of the population in the 67 countries, its nutritional needs account for 65 percent of the total for all countries.

  • Effects of Income Distribution on Food Security

    AIB-765-2, April 26, 2001

    This briefing paper examines the effects of income distribution on food security, particularly within countries that have a very uneven distribution of purchasing power. The analysis showed that for the 67 countries, food needs in year 2000 doubled when income inequality was taken into account.

  • Implications of Trade Liberalization on Food Security of Low-Income Countries

    AIB-765-5, April 26, 2001

    This issue paper discusses how agricultural trade liberalization will affect low-income, food-insecure countries. Most countries and regions show modest reductions in food insecurity from liberalization due to domestic supply response that reacts to high prices.

  • Natural Resources, Agricultural Productivity, and Food Security

    AIB-765-3, April 26, 2001

    This issue brief describes ERS research on international differences in the quality of natural resources and their effects on agricultural productivity and food security.

  • Using a Direct Measure To Monitor Hunger

    AIB-765-6, April 26, 2001

    This issue paper describes need for, and development of, a direct measure for monitoring U.S. food security using household survey methods. A conceptual framework for the household food security measure is described, and measurement methods are outlined.