Publications

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  • Infant Formula Prices and Availability: An Interim Report to Congress

    EFAN-01006, April 26, 2001

    This interim report responds to Congress's request for a study on the number of suppliers of infant formula in each State or major marketing area and comparison of the costs of formula that is included in the USDA's Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) versus that of other formula. Infant formula from the three major manufacturers, which accounts for 99 percent of all sales, was available in supermarkets in each of 64 market areas examined. Additionally, products in powder form from a fourth manufacturer were available in supermarkets in 83 percent of the market areas. Preliminary results indicate that within the market areas, there is not a clear relationship between a formula's being the WIC contract brand and its having the highest average retail price.

  • Food Security Is Improving in the United States

    AIB-765-7, April 26, 2001

    This issue paper provides an update of recent trends in food security in the United States and discusses related policy and programmatic factors.

  • Food Security and Food Aid Distribution

    AIB-765-4, April 26, 2001

    This briefing paper examines the effectiveness of food aid in reducing transitory and emergency food insecurity. Global demand for food aid is outpacing supply and any improvement in food aid distribution systems could improve food security of the lower income countries.

  • Antimicrobial Drug Use and Veterinary Costs in U.S. Livestock Production

    AIB-766, May 01, 2001

    Feeding low levels of antimicrobial drugs to livestock affects food safety, human health, and livestock production costs and returns. This report examines the economics of antimicrobial resistance in livestock and the economic implications of banning the use of growth-enhancing antimicrobial drugs in livestock production.

  • Recent Changes in Marketing and Trade Practices in the U.S. Lettuce and Fresh-Cut Vegetable Industries

    AIB-767, May 01, 2001

    This report investigates how retail consolidation, changes in technology, and increased consumer demand for convenience, product diversity, and year-round availability have all influenced shipper-retailer relations in the lettuce and fresh-cut vegetable industries.

  • Agricultural Policy Reform in the WTO--The Road Ahead

    AER-802, May 15, 2001

    Agricultural trade barriers and producer subsidies inflict real costs, both on the countries that use these policies and on their trade partners. This report quantifies the costs of global agricultural distortions and the potential benefits of their full elimination. The report concludes that eliminating global agricultural policy distortions would result in an annual world welfare gain of $56 billion. The report also analyzes the effects on U.S. and world agriculture if only partial reform is achieved in liberalizing tariffs, tariff-rate quotas (limits on imported goods), domestic support, and export subsidies.

  • U.S. Agriculture, 1960-96: A Multilateral Comparison of Total Factor Productivity

    TB-1895, May 21, 2001

    This study provides estimates of the growth and relative levels of agricultural productivity for the 48 contiguous States for the period 1960 to 1996. For the full 1960-96 period, every State exhibits a positive and generally substantial average annual rate of productivity growth. There is considerable variance, however. The wide disparity in growth rates resulted in substantial changes in the ranking order of States by productivity. For each year, we calculate the coefficient of variation of productivity levels. We use these coefficients to show that the range of levels of productivity has narrowed over time, although the pattern of convergence was far from uniform. The fact that in some States, productivity grew faster than others and yet the cross-section dispersion decreased, implies that the States whose productivity grew most rapidly were those with lower initial levels of productivity. This result is consistent with Gerschenkron's notion of the advantage of relative backwardness. The States that were particularly far behind the productivity leaders had the most to gain from the diffusion of technical knowledge and proceeded to grow most rapidly. We also observe a positive relation between capital accumulation and productivity growth, implying embodiment of technology in capital.

  • America's Diverse Family Farms: Assorted Sizes, Types, and Situations

    AIB-769, May 25, 2001

    This report describes a farm typology developed by the Economic Research Service (ERS), which categorizes farms into more homogeneous groups than classifications based on sales volume alone, producing a more effective policy development tool. The typology is used to describe U.S. farm structure.

  • Structural and Financial Characteristics of U.S. Farms: 2001 Family Farm Report

    AIB-768, May 25, 2001

    Family farms vary widely in size and other characteristics, ranging from very small retirement and residential farms to establishments with sales in the millions of dollars. The farm typology developed by the Economic Research Service (ERS) categorizes farms into groups based primarily on occupation of the operator and sales class of the farm. The typology groups reflect operators' expectations from farming, position in the life cycle, and dependence on agriculture. The groups differ in their importance to the farm sector, product specialization, program participation, and dependence on farm income. These (and other) differences are discussed in this report.

  • Changing Structure of Global Food Consumption and Trade

    WRS-01-1, May 30, 2001

    Higher income, urbanization, other demographic shifts, improved transportation, and consumer perceptions regarding quality and safety are changing global food consumption patterns. Shifts in food consumption have led to increased trade and changes in the composition of world agricultural trade. Given different diets, food expenditure and food budget responses to income and price changes vary between developing and developed countries. In developing countries, higher income results in increased demand for meat products, often leading to increased import of live-stock feed. Diet diversification and increasing demand for better quality and labor-saving products have increased imports of high-value and processed food products in developed countries. Consumer groups in developed countries have also brought attention to organic production of food and the topic of animal welfare. One way in which the public and private sectors have responded to consumer demand for these quality attributes has been by developing and implementing mandatory and voluntary quality control, management, and assurance schemes.

  • Food Spending in American Households, 1997-98

    SB-972, June 06, 2001

    Average yearly expenditures on food in urban households remained constant between 1997 and 1998. In 1998, the typical household spent $1,773 per person versus $1,767 the previous year. Of this amount, $1,094 was spent on food consumed at home and $679 on food consumed away from home. In 1997, slightly more was spent on food at home, $1,126, and slightly less on food consumed away from home, $641. Detailed tabulations are presented for 133 food categories and 10 household socioeconomic characteristics for 1997 and 1998. The data are from the Consumer Expenditure Diary Surveys prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

  • Biotechnology and Food Security

    AIB-765-11, June 12, 2001

    This Food Security briefing paper describes ERS research on biotechnology in improving agricultural productivity and the role of research institutions to facilitate access to biotechnology in developing countries to produce more food for their growing population.

  • Toll on Agriculture from HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa

    AIB-765-9, June 13, 2001

    This report reviews the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the region and the possible implications for the economic and agricultural sectors.

  • Agricultural Research and Development, Agricultural Productivity, and Food Security

    AIB-765-10, June 13, 2001

    This Food Security briefing paper describes ERS research on sustained growth in agricultural productivity and the role of research and development on world's ability to produce more food for the growing population.

  • Climate Change and Food Security

    AIB-765-8, June 13, 2001

    The Climate Change and Food Security report offers a synthesis of ERS research on the potential impacts of global warming on developing countries in the Tropics and discusses how future climate change research could contribute to food security policies in the region.

  • Confined Animal Production and Manure Nutrients

    AIB-771, June 15, 2001

    Census of agriculture data were used to estimate manure nutrient production and the capacity of cropland and pastureland to assimilate nutrients. Most farms (78 percent for nitrogen and 69 percent for phosphorus) have adequate land on which it is physically feasible to apply the manure produced onfarm at agronomic rates. (The costs of applying manure at these rates have not been assessed). Even so, manure that is produced on operations that cannot fully apply it to their own land at agronomic rates accounts for 60 percent of the Nation's manure nitrogen and 70 percent of the manure phosphorus. In these cases, most counties with farms that produce ""excess"" nutrients have adequate crop acres not associated with animal operations, but within the county, on which it is feasible to spread the manure at agronomic rates. However, barriers to moving manure to other farms need to be studied. About 20 percent of the Nation's onfarm excess manure nitrogen is produced in counties that have insufficient cropland for its application at agronomic rates (23 percent for phosphorus). For areas without adequate land, alternatives to local land application--such as energy production--will need to be developed.

  • U.S. Organic Farming Emerges in the 1990s: Adoption of Certified Systems

    AIB-770, June 15, 2001

    Farmers have been developing organic farming systems in the United States for decades. State and private institutions also began emerging during this period to set organic farming standards and provide third-party verification of label claims, and legislation requiring national standards was passed in the 1990s. More U.S. producers are considering organic farming systems in order to lower input costs, conserve nonrenewable resources, capture high-value markets, and boost farm income. Organic farming systems rely on practices such as cultural and biological pest management, and virtually prohibit synthetic chemicals in crop production and antibiotics or hormones in livestock production. This report updates U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates of land farmed with organic practices during 1992-94 with 1997 estimates, and provides new State- and crop-level detail.

  • Policy Options to Stabilize Food Supplies: A Case Study of Southern Africa

    AIB-764, June 18, 2001

    For the southern Africa region, both a grain stocking program and an import insurance program would have reduced food supply variability more than historical food aid during 1970-95. The stocking program and the import insurance program would have been less expensive than food aid from a donor point of view. These options may be attractive policy alternatives for donors and countries in other regions, given the decline in food aid budgets in recent years and projections of rising global food gaps.

  • Development at the Urban Fringe and Beyond: Impacts on Agriculture and Rural Land

    AER-803, June 30, 2001

    Land development in the United States is following two routes: expansion of urban areas and large-lot development (greater than 1 acre per house) in rural areas. Urban expansion claimed more than 1 million acres per year between 1960 and 1990, yet is not seen as a threat to most farming, although it may reduce production of some high-value or specialty crops. The consequences of continued large-lot development may be less sanguine, since it consumes much more land per unit of housing than the typical suburb. Controlling growth and planning for it are the domains of State and local governments. The Federal Government may be able to help them in such areas as building capacity to plan and control growth, providing financial incentives for channeling growth in desirable directions, or coordinating local, regional, and State efforts.

  • Cotton: Background and Issues for Farm Legislation

    CWS-0601-01, August 01, 2001

    Since passage of the 1996 farm legislation, U.S. cotton production and demand have nearly equaled each other, keeping stocks virtually unchanged. However, U.S. cotton producers have experienced deteriorating product prices coupled with declining yields during this period. Farm prices for upland cotton dropped 40 percent from their recent peak in 1995/96 to 45 cents per pound in 1999/2000, prompting considerable concern for the industry as the new farm legislation debate develops.