Publications

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  • The Ethanol Decade: An Expansion of U.S. Corn Production, 2000-09

    EIB-79, August 18, 2011

    ERS examines how the farm sector reacted to increased demand for corn needed to fuel a 9-billion-gallon rise in ethanol production in the past decade. In the United States, corn is the primary ethanol feedstock.

  • The Evolving Distribution of Payments From Commodity, Conservation, and Federal Crop Insurance Programs

    EIB-184, November 30, 2017

    Changes in U.S. agricultural structure have changed the distribution of Government farm payments over time. Commodity program payments, some conservation program payments, and Federal crop insurance indemnities have shifted to larger farms.

  • The Importance of Federal Crop Insurance Premium Subsidies

    Amber Waves, October 20, 2014

    Growth in Federal Crop Insurance (FCI) has generally been attributed to the increase in crop insurance premium subsidies. While ERS research results show the lower costs had only small effects on acreage enrollment, those already enrolled showed an adoption of higher levels of coverage. Results suggest that increasing premium subsidies could cause Government costs to increase rapidly.

  • The Influence of Income and Prices on Global Dietary Patterns by Country, Age, and Gender

    ERR-225, March 02, 2017

    Worldwide changes in eating habits are contributing to a global rise in obesity and related diseases across all countries. To address this issue, this report investigates how income and prices influence dietary habits globally.

  • The Post-Buyout Experience: Peanut and Tobacco Sectors Adapt to Policy Reform

    EIB-60, November 16, 2009

    ERS identifies market forces that have affected the peanut and tobacco industries following the end of longstanding system protections - in 2002 for peanuts and 2004 for tobacco.

  • The Potential Impact of Changes in Immigration Policy on U.S. Agriculture and the Market for Hired Farm Labor: A Simulation Analysis

    ERR-135, May 22, 2012

    ERS examines potential impacts on agriculture of large shifts in the supply of foreign-born labor that might result in the event of substantial changes in U.S. immigration laws or policies.

  • The Role of Policy and Industry Structure in India's Oilseed Markets

    ERR-17, April 19, 2006

    This report reviews recent developments in India's oilseed sector and assesses the implications of current and potential future policy reforms for the oilseed sector. Extensive policy intervention continues to affect oilseed production, trade, and processing in India. Findings suggest that India's current policy of high tariffs on oilseeds and oil affords little benefit to oilseed producers and imposes high costs on consumers. A reduction in oilseed barriers would encourage processors in India to boost capacity utilization using imported oilseeds, resulting in lower processing costs, and increased net revenues and employment. It would also afford U.S. soybean producers an opportunity for exports.

  • 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.

  • The U.S. Produce Industry and Labor: Facing the Future in a Global Economy

    ERR-106, November 12, 2010

    Fruit and vegetable production is a labor-intensive process, and over half of the hired workers employed by growers are believed to be unauthorized immigrants. Reforms to immigration laws, if they reduce the labor supply, may increase the cost of farm labor. The authors of this report assess how particular fruit and vegetable commodities might adjust if labor rates increased.

  • The U.S. and Mexican Dry Bean Sectors

    VGS-341-01, December 01, 2010

    This report examines the significance of dry bean trade to the member countries of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), provides a detailed understanding of supply, demand, and policy in the U.S. and Mexican dry bean sectors, and considers the outlook for these industries.

  • Thin Markets Raise Concerns, But Many Are Capable of Paying Producers Fair Prices

    Amber Waves, March 16, 2016

    U.S. agriculture is growing more concentrated as markets have fewer purchases, low trading volume, and low liquidity. This raises concerns about equity for producers and efficiency in market performance.

  • Thinning Markets in U.S. Agriculture

    EIB-148, March 16, 2016

    As U.S. agriculture becomes increasingly concentrated and markets become thinner (smaller number of ag product purchasers), increased producer-processor coordination could provide substantial efficiency gains despite some challenges.

  • Tobacco Production Costs and Returns in 2004

    TBS-26001, August 04, 2006

    This study focuses on factors that led to changes in the estimated residual returns to management and risk from tobacco production in 2003-04. Residual returns per acre for flue-cured tobacco declined less than those for burley tobacco in 2004 because yield increases for flue-cured tobacco helped to offset increases in economic costs. Residual returns above economic costs were calculated using data from the last tobacco surveys, conducted in 1995 for burley tobacco and 1996 for flue-cured tobacco, and updated with 2004 data on prices, yields, marketing costs, and quota levels.

  • Tobacco and the Economy: Farms, Jobs, and Communities

    AER-789, November 03, 2000

    Public health policies intended to reduce the incidence of smoking-related disease adversely affect thousands of tobacco farmers, manufacturers, and other businesses that produce, distribute, and sell tobacco products. This report assesses the likely impacts of declining tobacco demand, and identifies the types of workers, farms, businesses, and communities that are most vulnerable to loss of tobacco income and jobs. The dollar impact on the farm sector of a reduction in cigarette demand will be smaller than that experienced by manufacturing, wholesale, retail, and transportation businesses, but tobacco farms and their communities may have the most difficulty adjusting. Many tobacco farmers lack good alternatives to tobacco, and they have tobacco-specific equipment, buildings, and experience. Most communities will make the transition to a smaller tobacco industry with little difficulty, because tobacco accounts for a small share of the local economy. However, a number of counties depend on tobacco for a significant share of local income.

  • Trends In U.S. Cotton Basis Since 2001

    CWS-09D01, June 25, 2009

    Price volatility in 2008 generated interest in underlying cotton cash and futures markets and highlighted the importance of market participants' expectations about basis changes over time in production, marketing, and hedging decisions. This analysis examines trends in average U.S. cotton basis and changes in the convergence of cash and futures prices as cotton futures contract expiration dates near between 2001 and 2009 to provide perspective for the average basis movements experienced in 2008. Though this analysis does not identify the factors leading to differences in average convergence paths since 2001, it finds that, while average cotton cash and futures prices converged in all years, the pattern in 2008 was significantly different from the other sample years.

  • U. S. Tobacco Import Update 2003/04

    TBS-25901, September 30, 2005

    U.S. tobacco product manufacturers use foreign-produced leaf in items such as cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, and pipe tobacco. Imports peaked in the mid-1990s, but remain at historically high levels. The popularity of generic cigarettes-which use cheaper imported leaf-and increases in domestic leaf prices were the chief reasons for heightened dependence on tobacco imports. Disappearance (use) of foreign-grown tobacco followed a similar upward trend. As tobacco exports and domestic sales of generic cigarettes advanced, imported leaf use rose. During the past year, use of imported tobacco advanced 14 percent. Imported flue-cured and burley use gained and Oriental leaf use was steady. Foreign-grown cigar leaf use advanced as domestic cigar production rose. Imports of flue-cured and burley tobacco continue to be regulated by a tariff-rate quota.

  • U. S. Tobacco Import Update 2005/06

    TBS-26201, May 11, 2007

    U.S. tobacco product manufacturers use foreign-produced leaf in items such as cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, and pipe tobacco. Imports peaked in the mid-1990s but remain at historically high levels. The popularity of generic cigarettes, which use cheaper imported leaf, along with increases in domestic leaf prices, were the chief reasons for heightened dependence on tobacco imports. Disappearance (use) of foreign-grown tobacco followed a similar upward trend. As tobacco exports and domestic sales of generic cigarettes advanced, imported leaf use rose. The proportion of imported leaf remained high even after exports declined. During the 2005/06 crop year, use of imported tobacco slipped 6 percent. Imported flue-cured and burley use slipped, and Oriental leaf use advanced. Foreign-grown cigar leaf use advanced as domestic cigar production rose. Imports of flue-cured and burley tobacco continue to be regulated by a tariff-rate quota.

  • U.S. Agricultural Trade Update-State Exports

    FAU-123, June 29, 2007

    U.S. agricultural exports reached a record in fiscal 2006 at $68.7 billion, some $6.2 billion higher than the record set in fiscal 2005. California, Iowa, Texas, and Illinois continued their reign as top exporting States, while Minnesota dropped to seventh position behind Nebraska and Kansas. North Carolina joined the top 10, displacing North Dakota at the number nine position. Feed grain exports moved ahead of soybean exports, with Iowa and Illinois dominating in those markets. California continued to dominate vegetables, fruits, tree nuts, seeds, and dairy.

  • U.S. Agricultural Trade in 2016: Major Commodities and Trends

    Amber Waves, May 01, 2017

    Trade is an important component of the U.S. agricultural sector. ERS tracks U.S. agricultural trade through the Foreign Agricultural Trade of the United States (FATUS) data set and through commodity-specific data like the Livestock and Meat International Trade data set.

  • U.S. Corn and Soybean Farmers Apply a Wide Variety of Glyphosate Resistance Management Practices

    Amber Waves, April 04, 2016

    In 2015, ERS found that the percentage of soybean acres treated with glyphosate, by itself or in combination with other herbicides, increased from approximately 25 percent in 1996 to 95 percent in 2006. Farms also increased use of glyphosate-resistance management practices, including herbicide rotation, tillage, scouting for weeds, crop rotation, and other weed control methods.