Publications

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  • Ethanol Expansion in the United States: How Will the Agricultural Sector Adjust?

    FDS-07D-01, May 18, 2007

    A large expansion in ethanol production is underway in the United States. Cellulosic sources of feedstocks for ethanol production hold some promise for the future, but the primary feedstock in the United States currently is corn. Market adjustments to this increased demand extend well beyond the corn sector to supply and demand for other crops, such as soybeans and cotton, as well as to U.S. livestock industries. USDA's long-term projections, augmented by farmers' planting intentions for 2007, are used to illustrate anticipated changes in the agricultural sector.

  • Indian Wheat and Rice Sector Policies and the Implications of Reform

    ERR-41, May 03, 2007

    The pronounced market cycles and declines in per capita consumption of India's major food staples, as well as budgetary concerns, are creating pressure for Indian policymakers to adjust longstanding policies.

  • NAFTA at 13: Implementation Nears Completion

    WRS-0701, March 29, 2007

    Implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is drawing to a close. In 2008, the last of NAFTA's transitional restrictions governing U.S.-Mexico and Canada-Mexico agricultural trade will be removed, concluding a 14-year project in which the member countries systematically dismantled numerous barriers to regional agricultural trade. During the implementation period, the agricultural sectors of Canada, Mexico, and the United States have become much more integrated. Agricultural trade within the free-trade area has grown dramatically, and Canadian and Mexican industries that rely on U.S. agricultural inputs have expanded. U.S. feedstuffs have facilitated a marked increase in Mexican meat production and consumption, and the importance of Canadian and Mexican produce to U.S. fruit and vegetable consumption is growing.

  • 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.

  • Valuing Counter-Cyclical Payments: Implications for Producer Risk Management and Program Administration

    ERR-39, February 22, 2007

    Counter-cyclical payments supplement incomes of eligible producers enrolled in commodity programs. ERS developed a computer program that improved upon USDA's method of estimating payment rates and that producers and forecasters can use.

  • Possible Implications for U.S. Agriculture From Adoption of Select Dietary Guidelines

    ERR-31, November 20, 2006

    To help Americans meet nutritional requirements while staying within caloric recommendations, the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourage consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole-grain products, and fat-free or low-fat milk or milk products. This report provides one view of the potential implications for U.S. agriculture if Americans changed their current consumption patterns to meet some of those guidelines. For Americans to meet the fruit, vegetable, and whole-grain recommendations, domestic crop acreage would need to increase by an estimated 7.4 million harvested acres, or 1.7 percent of total U.S. cropland in 2002. To meet the dairy guidelines, consumption of milk and milk products would have to increase by 66 percent; an increase of that magnitude would likely require an increase in the number of dairy cows as well as increased feed grains and, possibly, increased acreage devoted to dairy production.

  • Specialized Wheat Farms Earn Less than Other Farms

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2006

    The U.S. wheat sector is facing decreased demand as consumer preferences have changed and increased competition in export markets. Specialized wheat farms--farms that depend upon wheat for over half of their receipts--are concentrated in the Great Plains and the Pacific Northwest and account for over 40 percent of total wheat production. The long-term viability of specialized wheat farms depends heavily on government payments. Without government payments, fewer than 20 percent of the specialized wheat farms would have had farm revenue greater than economic costs. With government payments, nearly a third of the farms were financially viable.

  • Effect of Food Industry Mergers and Acquisitions on Employment and Wages

    ERR-13, December 09, 2005

    Empirical analysis of mergers and acquisitions in eight important food industries suggests that workers in acquired plants realized modest increases in employment and wages relative to other workers. Results also show that mergers and acquisitions reduced the likelihood of plant closures while high relative labor costs encouraged plant shutdowns. These results differ from commonly held views that mergers and acquisitions lead to fewer jobs, wage cuts, and plant shutdowns.

  • Will 2005 Be the Year of the Whole Grain?

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2005

    The 2005 Dietary Guidelines encourage all Americans over age 2 to eat roughly half of their recommended 5 to 10 daily servings of grains, depending on calorie needs. The goal of this new recommendation is to improve Americans' health by raising awareness of whole grains and their role in nutritious diets. The Guidelines could also have big impacts on farmers and farm production.

  • Will Hard White Wheat Become a Sustainable Wheat Class?

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2005

    Hard white winter wheat has attracted considerable interest among producers because of its unique end-use characteristics. In anticipation of growing demand in the Asian market, U.S. producers increased plantings dramatically. But future expansion and HWW’s eventual status as a separate wheat class is in some doubt as a result of its susceptibility to sprout damage.

  • Taxes on Imports Subsidize Wheat Production in Japan

    Amber Waves, February 01, 2005

    Despite high costs and poor milling quality, tens of thousands of Japan's farms grow wheat, usually on small fields, and production is rising. Farmers receive high prices for wheat because of government subsidies that are financed by import taxes. The result is that millers, processors, retailers, and consumers pay high prices.

  • Hard White Wheat At A Crossroads

    WHS-04K01, December 14, 2004

    This article provides background on the forces that led to the expansion of hard white wheat (HWW) production, its milling and baking qualities that make it particularly suited for certain products, the adaptation of the marketing system to preserve its identity, and the prospects for HWW's production expansion. Up to now, HWW sales have been largely confined to the domestic market because the volume of production is not sufficiently large to sustain steady exports. HWW's end-use characteristics are particularly suited for whole-wheat products, pan breads, tortillas, and certain kinds of oriental noodles. Continuing expansion of HWW production would depend on the development of new, higher-yielding varieties that are more tolerant to sprout damage-a major problem in 2004-and continuation of the government incentive program.

  • Black Sea Grain Exports: Will They Be Moderate or Large?

    WRS-04-05-02, October 12, 2004

    This report examines the prospects for grain exports by the transition economies of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the Newly Independent States (NIS) that export through the Black Sea, the largest being Russia and Ukraine. If productivity growth in the region is high, annual grain exports by Black Sea countries could rise to 30-40 million tons. Such high exports would strongly affect the world grain market, since total annual world grain exports during 2000-03 averaged 237 million metric tons. This report is the second in a two-part series on the integration of CEE and NIS countries into global commodity markets.

  • Agricultural Exports From Grain and Soybean Producing States Rose in Fiscal 2002

    FAU-78-01, June 30, 2003

    Fiscal 2002 U.S. agricultural exports rose slightly from 2001. Most of the gain occurred in soybeans, feed grains, and wheat, as prices of those commodities increased. As a result, soybean and feed grain or wheat exporting States, such as Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, and Indiana, increased exports in 2002. North Dakota particularly benefited from increased wheat exports. California, which produces and exports primarily fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, and other agricultural products had slightly reduced exports in 2002, even though it remained by far the largest agricultural exporting State.

  • Nontraditional Exporters Increase Role In Wheat Market

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2003

    Though the volume of world wheat trade has changed little in the past 15 years, shares of trade volume in exporting countries have changed quite a bit. The U.S. remains the largest exporter, but U.S. farmers are increasingly producing other crops, like corn and soybeans, so the U.S. share of the wheat market has fallen from 40 percent in the 1970s to 23 percent (forecast) for 2002/03. This shift in U.S. agricultural production, combined with rising prices caused by drought in three of the largest exporters—U.S., Australia, and Canada—has created opportunities for “nontraditional” wheat exporters.

  • Characteristics and Production Costs of U.S. Wheat Farms

    SB-974-5, July 15, 2002

    The average cost of producing a bushel of wheat was $3.97 for producers surveyed in 1998, ranging from about $1.25 to more than $6 per bushel. The cost of producing wheat generally declined as farm size increased. Regional differences in production practices and growing conditions were major influences on production costs and yields among wheat producers. Producers in the Prairie Gateway, a major wheat region, produced wheat at an average cost of $3.63 per bushel, the lowest cost among regions. Most high-cost farms and very large farms were in the Southeast region; these farms tended to be more diversified than farms in other regions, so wheat contributed a smaller share to their total farm income.

  • Wheat: Background and Issues for Farm Legislation

    WHS-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. wheat sector and examines alternative policy choices.

  • Characteristics of U.S. Wheat Farming: A Snapshot

    SB-968, June 07, 2000

    Wheat growers' choice of production practices and geographic location were the major determinants of their costs of production, according to the findings of a 1994 survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. One-fourth of surveyed farms reported using some form of conservation tillage, especially farms in the North Central, Northern Plains, and Southeast regions. On a per-bushel basis, low-cost farms tended to be small in terms of wheat acreage and total farm acreage. Differences in capitalization, tenure, and the use of custom services accounted for nearly 81 percent of the variation in the cost of producing wheat. Most size economies were realized at around 200 to 300 wheat acres.

  • Price Determination for Corn and Wheat: The Role of Market Factors and Government Programs

    TB-1878, August 02, 1999

    Annual models for U.S. farm prices for corn and wheat are developed based on market factors as well as government agricultural commodity programs. The pricing relationships utilize a stocks-to-use modeling framework to capture the effects of market supply and demand factors on price determination. This formulation is augmented by factors that represent the changing role of agricultural policies, particularly government price support and stockholding programs. For wheat, international market effects as well as wheat feed use and related cross-commodity pricing considerations also are included. Model properties and model performance measures are presented. Additionally, recent price-forecasting applications of the models are discussed. The relatively simple structure of the estimated price models and their small data requirements lend themselves to use in price-forecasting applications in conjunction with market analysis of supply and demand conditions. In particular, the models have been implemented into USDA's short-term market analysis and long-term baseline projections. In these applications, the models provide an analytical framework to forecast prices and a vehicle for making consistency checks among the Department's supply, demand, and price forecasts.

  • Commodity Program Provisions Under the Food and Agriculture Act of 1977

    AER-389, October 01, 1997

    Commodity program provisions of the Food and Agriculture Act of 1977 are summarized. Price support, loan level, disaster payment, program acreage, and other provisions of the legislation are discussed for wheat and feed grains, cotton, rice, peanuts, soybeans, sugar, dairy products, and wool and mohair. Miscellaneous provisions and those applying to grain reserves and to the beekeeper indemnity program are also summarized.