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  • Supply Response Under the 1996 Farm Act and Implications for the U.S. Field Crops Sector

    TB-1888, September 21, 2000

    The 1996 Farm Act gives farmers almost complete planting flexibility, allowing producers to respond to price changes to a greater extent than they had under previous legislation. This study measures supply responsiveness for major field crops to changes in their own prices and in prices for competing crops and indicates significant increases in responsiveness. Relative to 1986-90, the percentage increases in the responsiveness of U.S. plantings of major field crops to a 1-percent change in their own prices are: wheat (1.2 percent), corn (41.6 percent), soybeans (13.5 percent), and cotton (7.9 percent). In percentage terms, the increases in the responsiveness generally become greater with respect to competing crops' price changes. The 1996 legislation has the least effect on U.S. wheat acreage, whereas the law may lead to an average increase of 2 million acres during 1996-2005 in soybean acreage, a decline of 1-2 million acres in corn acreage, and an increase of 0.7 million acres in cotton acreage. Overall, the effect of the farm legislation on regional production patterns of major field crops appears to be modest. Corn acreage expansion in the Central and Northern Plains, a long-term trend in this important wheat production region, will slow under the 1996 legislation, while soybean acreage expansion in this region will accelerate. The authors used the Policy Analysis System-Economic Research Service (POLYSYS-ERS) model that was jointly developed by USDA's Economic Research Service and the University of Tennessee's Agricultural Policy Analysis Center to estimate the effects of the 1996 legislation.

  • Sweetener Consumption in the United States: Distribution by Demographic and Product Characteristics

    SSS-243-01, August 19, 2005

    U.S. consumption of sugars added to food items increased by 23 percent between 1985 and 1999. Although USDA data have documented the overall growth trend, not much has been inferred from USDA survey data. This article helps fill a gap by reporting findings for sweetener consumption by income and demographic characteristics. Among the conclusions: per capita sweetener consumption is highest in the Midwest and lowest in the Northeast and sweetener consumption tends to rise with increased income up to a certain level and then fall.

  • The 2008/2009 World Economic Crisis: What It Means for U.S. Agriculture

    WRS-09-02, March 30, 2009

    The world economic crisis that began in 2008 has major consequences for U.S. agriculture. The weakening of global demand because of emerging recessions and declining economic growth result in reduced export demand and lower agricultural commodity prices, compared with those in 2008. These, in turn, reduce U.S. farm income and place downward pressures on farm real estate values. So far, the overall impact on U.S. agriculture is not as severe as on the broader U.S. economy because the record-high agricultural exports, prices, and farm income in 2007 and 2008 put U.S. farmers on solid financial ground. Moreover, the debt equity ratios in agriculture tend to be more conservative than those in most other sectors of the economy. There is much uncertainty concerning the depth and extent of the crisis. The outcomes for U.S. agriculture are dependent on whether or not there is a global realignment of exchange rates to correct current macroeconomic imbalances.

  • The Adoption of Genetically Engineered Alfalfa, Canola and Sugarbeets in the United States

    EIB-163, November 28, 2016

    ERS analyzes adoption rates of genetically engineered U.S. alfalfa, canola, and sugarbeets using data from the Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS), and discusses legal and/or regulatory issues regarding these GE crops.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Three Decades of Consolidation in U.S. Agriculture

    EIB-189, March 14, 2018

    Consolidation has been widespread, persistent, and pronounced in crop production, and dramatic in some livestock sectors. Little consolidation has occurred in pasture/grazing land, and in the cow-calf sector.

  • 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.