Publications

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  • How Low has the Farm Share of Retail Food Prices Really Fallen?

    ERR-24, August 15, 2006

    ERS estimates the share of retail food prices farmers earn on two commodity groups-fruits and vegetables. While the farm share has been shrinking, the decrease is less than previously believed.

  • 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.

  • Research Areas

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2006

    Research area charts from the June 2006 issue of Amber Waves.

  • Sugar and Sweeteners Outlook: May 2006

    SSSM-246, May 30, 2006

    Mexico has been a significant producer, consumer, and exporter of sugar. Figure M1 shows trends and relationships between these variables since 1960. Sugar production has been steadily growing since 1960. Yearly production growth averaged 66,000 metric tons (mt) from 1960-74, and it averaged 81,000 mt per year from 1975-89.

  • 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.

  • Soybean Backgrounder

    OCS-200601, April 04, 2006

    This report addresses key domestic and international market and policy developments that have affected the U.S. soybean sector in recent years. It provides an analysis of the competition between crops for domestic farmland and the international supply and demand for soybean products. Also covered are domestic and trade policy, farm program costs, and a profile of operating and financial characteristics of U.S. farms producing soybeans.

  • U.S. Tobacco Sector Regroups

    Amber Waves, February 01, 2006

    The 2005/06 crop year is the first year that tobacco growers have faced without the previous tobacco program. This year has been marked by a 25 percent decline in area and production. But there have also been shifts in geographical distribution and varieties grown. Growers in the Southeast, Pennsylvania, and Maryland are increasing their output of burley at the expense of other varieties.

  • Sugar and Sweeteners Outlook: January 2006

    SSSM-245, January 31, 2006

    The European Union's (EU-25) sugar program has been scheduled for reform every five years for the last 40 years. However, its success in making sugar one of the most profitable crops in many EU countries has succeeded in delaying reform proposals until recently.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Production Costs and Returns for Tobacco in 2003

    TBS-258-01, May 13, 2005

    Average net returns per acre were estimated to be negative for burley and flue-cured tobacco in 2003. Total economic costs for burley and flue-cured tobacco production likely rose in 2003 from 2002 due to higher costs for energy, labor, and quota rental rates. Cost estimates are computed using production data from the last tobacco surveys, conducted in 1995 for burley tobacco and 1996 for flue-cured tobacco, and 2003 data on prices, yields, marketing costs, and quota levels.

  • USDA Agricultural Baseline Projections to 2014

    OCE-2005-1, February 11, 2005

    This report provides longrun (10-year) baseline projections for the agricultural sector through 2014. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices.

  • Long-Lived Tobacco Program to End

    Amber Waves, February 01, 2005

    In October 2004, Congress passed legislation that eliminates tobacco quota and price support programs at the end of the 2004 crop year. Quota holders and producers will be compensated for the quota they own and produce. The buyout will be financed by assessments on tobacco product manufacturers and importers. With the elimination of quota and price support, tobacco production is likely to move to regions amenable to mechanization and where adequate economies of scale can be achieved and U.S. prices could fall 30-40 percent.

  • U.S. Sugar Beet Farming—How “Sweet” Is It?

    Amber Waves, February 01, 2005

    The United States is the world's fourth-largest producer of sugar and more than half of U.S. sugar production comes from sugar beets. U.S. sugar beet production has grown significantly over the past decade, tied primarily to expanded processing capacity among sugar beet factories. U.S. farmers produced 33 million tons of sugar beets on 1.6 million acres in 2000, versus 28 million tons of sugar beets on 1.4 million acres in 1990.

  • Market Access for High-Value Foods

    AER-840, February 01, 2005

    This report examines global food trade patterns and the role of WTO market access rules in shaping the composition of global food trade.

  • 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.

  • Contracts, Markets, and Prices: Organizing the Production and Use of Agricultural Commodities

    AER-837, November 01, 2004

    Demand for specific product attributes is making contracts the choice over traditional spot markets for many livestock commodities and some major crops-e.g., sugar beets, fruit, tomatoes.

  • U.S. Peanut Sector Adapts to Major Policy Changes

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2004

    "U.S. Peanut Sector Adapts to Major Policy Changes" examines the experience of the peanut sector following the 2002 Farm Act's elimination of the marketing quota system, and identifies factors affecting the transition to a more market-oriented system. Although peanut prices and acreage declined following passage of the 2002 Farm Act, it appears that producers are taking advantage of increased planting flexibility to expand production in higher yielding areas, and the transition has been cushioned by rising demand, and additional sources of revenue from government payments and other sources of farm and off-farm income.

  • Genetically Engineered Crop Varieties Gain Further Acreage Share in 2004

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2004

    GE varieties of soybeans, corn, and cotton have been available commercially since 1996. Since then, their rate of use by U.S. farmers has climbed most years, including 2004.

  • How Much Do Americans Pay for Fruits and Vegetables?

    AIB-790, July 20, 2004

    This analysis uses ACNielsen Homescan data on 1999 household food purchases from all types of retail outlets to estimate an annual retail price per pound and per serving for 69 forms of fruits and 85 forms of vegetables. Among the forms we priced, more than half were estimated to cost 25 cents or less per serving. Consumers can meet the recommendation of three servings of fruits and four servings of vegetables daily for 64 cents.