Publications

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  • Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade: May 2017

    AES-99, May 25, 2017

    This report discusses May 2017 USDA forecasts for U.S. agricultural trade in FY2017. Exports are forecast at $137.0 billion in FY2017 and imports are expected to reach $114.5 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $22.5 billion.

  • Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade: November 2016

    AES-97, November 30, 2016

    This report discusses November 2016 USDA forecasts for U.S. agricultural trade in FY2017. Exports are forecast at $134.0 billion in FY2017 and imports are expected to reach $112.5 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $21.5 billion.

  • Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade: November 2017

    AES-102, November 30, 2017

    This report discusses November 2017 USDA forecasts for U.S. agricultural trade in FY2018. Exports are forecast at $140.0 billion in FY2018 and imports are expected to reach $117.0 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $23.0 billion.

  • Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008

    EIB-124, May 16, 2014

    Pesticide use on 21 selected crops more than tripled from 1960 to 1981, but has since declined from 632 million pounds to 516 million pounds in 2008, partly due to more efficient active ingredients, Integrated Pest Management, and GE seeds.

  • Potential Farm-Level Effects of Eliminating Direct Payments

    EIB-103, November 16, 2012

    A number of Farm Act proposals call for ending the direct payment program. ERS analysis suggests that for the majority of farms receiving direct payments, this would not result in substantial decline in financial well-being.

  • Precision Agriculture Technologies and Factors Affecting Their Adoption

    Amber Waves, December 05, 2016

    Three common precision agricultural information technologies are global positioning system (GPS) guidance systems, GPS yield and soil monitors/maps, and variable-rate input application technologies (VRT). Research shows these technologies had similar positive, but small, impacts on corn profits of between 1 and 3 percent in 2010.

  • 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.

  • Price Premiums Behind Organic Field Crop Profitability

    Amber Waves, September 25, 2015

    Organic corn and soybeans have been profitable, primarily due to the significant price premiums paid for certified organic crops that more than offset the additional economic costs. Organic wheat has been less profitable.

  • Production, Transportation, and Policy Factors Determine U.S. Export Competitiveness in World Corn and Soybean Markets

    Amber Waves, July 05, 2016

    A new infographic looks at export competitiveness of soybeans and corn in the U.S., Argentina, and Brazil by comparing farm-level production costs, the costs of internal transportation and handling, and the costs of shipping to a common export destination.

  • Prospects for China's Corn Yield Growth and Imports

    FDS-14D-01, April 28, 2014

    The pace of growth in China's corn yield is a key determinant of its future corn imports. Yields are growing, but more slowly than U.S. yields. Trends suggest China's corn consumption, driven by feed demand, will outpace production growth.

  • Provisions of the Food Security Act of 1985

    AIB-498, April 01, 1986

    The Food Security Act of 1985 (P.L. 99-198) establishes a comprehensive framework within which the Secretary of Agriculture will administer agriculture and food programs from 1986 through 1990. This report describes the Act's provisions for dairy, wool and mohair, wheat, feed grains, cotton, rice, peanuts, soybeans, and sugar (including income and price supports, disaster payments, and acreage reductions); other general commodity provisions; trade; conservation; credit; research, extension, and teaching; food stamps; and marketings. These provisions are compared with earlier legislation.

  • Recent Convergence Performance of Futures and Cash Prices for Corn, Soybeans, and Wheat

    FDS-13L-01, December 30, 2013

    From 2005 to 2011, there were growing discrepancies between expiring futures prices and cash prices for wheat, corn, and soybeans--a problem known as non-convergence. Changes to futures contracts have improved convergence since 2011.

  • Returns to Organic Corn Production Were Higher Than Conventional in 2010

    Amber Waves, December 01, 2014

    The returns and production practices for organic and conventional corn production are compared for 2010. The returns from organic corn production exceeded those from conventional production due mainly to higher organic prices that more than offset lower organic yields. Total operating and ownership costs per acre were not significantly different.

  • Rising Grain Exports by the Former Soviet Union Region

    WHS-13A01, February 04, 2013

    The three major grain-producing countries of the former Soviet Union--Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine--have become a large grain-exporting region. This report examines the causes and provides the 10-year outlook for the region's exports.

  • Science, Technology, and Prospects for Growth in U.S. Corn Yields

    Amber Waves, December 01, 2009

    Recent increases in inflation-adjusted crop prices have sparked renewed interest in the potential for continued increases in crop yields. Investment in scientific research is key for boosting corn yields, making productivity, environmental, and bioenergy goals easier to attain.

  • Selected Trade Agreements and Implications for U.S. Agriculture

    ERR-115, April 15, 2011

    ERS examines possible impacts of recently implemented free trade agreements (FTAs) where the United States is not a partner, and potential effects of pending U.S. agreements with Korea, Colombia, and Panama.

  • Study Finds Crop Insurance Has Small Effect on Environmental Quality

    Amber Waves, September 05, 2017

    Crop insurance can help protect farmers from large losses resulting from crop failure or unusually large drops in crop prices. Subsidized crop insurance makes crop production less risky and more profitable. Recent ERS research suggests that crop insurance has small effects on environmental quality in the Corn Belt region.

  • Summer Weather Most Important for Corn and Soybean Yields

    Amber Waves, October 24, 2013

    To measure the impact of weather on crops, ERS developed statistical models for corn and soybean yields based on 25 years of historical data. July tends to be the most important month for determining corn yields since many of the critical stages of crop development, particularly pollination, typically occur during that month. Weather in both July and August are important for soybean yields.

  • Support for the Organic Sector Expands in the 2014 Farm Act

    Amber Waves, July 07, 2014

    Organic program provisions in the 2014 Farm Act cover a broad set of objectives—assisting with organic certification costs, expanding organic research and data collection, improving technical assistance and crop insurance, strengthening enforcement of organic regulations, and expanding market opportunities for producers.

  • The 2002 Farm Bill: Provisions and Economic Implications

    AP-022, January 23, 2008

    The Farm Security Act of 2002, which governs Federal farm programs for 2002-07, was signed into law on May 13, 2002. This publication presents an overview of the Act and a side-by-side comparison of 1996-2001 farm legislation and the 2002 Act. For selected programs, information is provided to additional analyses of key changes, program overview, and economic implications.