Publications

Sort by: Title | Date
  • In The Long Run

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2006

    Government payments peaked twice at $24 billion, measured in 2003 dollars. The first peak occurred in 1987, just after the end of the farm financial crisis. The second peak occurred in 2000, due to payments enacted by Congress in response to falling export demand and regional crop failures. Payments also spiked at $14 billion in 1993, due largely to high feed grain production and disaster payments for droughts and floods.

  • America's Diverse Family Farms: Structure and Finances

    EIB-13, May 15, 2006

    American farms vary widely in size and other characteristics, but farming is still an industry of family businesses. Ninety-eight percent of farms are family farms, and they account for 86 percent of farm production. Very small farms are growing in number, and small family farms continue to own most farmland. But production is shifting toward very large family farms. Because small-farm households receive most of their income from off-farm work, general economic policies-such as tax policy or economic development policy-can be as important to them as traditional farm policy.

  • Structure and Finances of U.S. Farms: 2005 Family Farm Report

    EIB-12, May 15, 2006

    Most farms in the United States-98 percent in 2003-are family farms. They are organized as proprietorships, partnerships, or family corporations. Even the largest farms tend to be family farms. Very large family farms account for a small share of farms but a large-and growing-share of farm sales. Small family farms account for most farms but produce a modest share of farm output. Median income for farm households is 10 percent greater than the median for all U.S. households. Small-farm households also receive substantial off-farm income.

  • Research Areas

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2006

    Research Areas: Markets and Trade, Diet and Health, Farms Firms and Households and Rural America - April 2006

  • Indicators

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2006

    Farm, Rural, Natural Resources and Food and Fiber Sector Indicators section - April 2006

  • Growing Farm Size and the Distribution of Farm Payments

    EB-6, March 14, 2006

    Crop production is shifting to much larger farms. Since government commodity payments reflect production volumes for program commodities, payments are also shifting to larger farms. In turn, the operators of very large farms have substantially higher household incomes than other farm households, and as a result government commodity payments are also shifting to much higher-income households. Since the changes in farm structure appear to be ongoing, commodity payments will likely, under current policies, continue to shift to higher income households. This brief uses 2003 Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) data to detail the shifts.

  • Greening Income Support and Supporting Green

    EB-1, March 14, 2006

    A multitude of design decisions influence the performance of voluntary conservation programs. This Economic Brief is one of a set of five exploring the implications of decisions policymakers and program managers must make about who is eligible to receive payments, how much can be received, for what action, and the means by which applicants are selected. In particular, this Brief focuses on potential tradeoffs in combining income support and environmental objectives in a single program.

  • Indicators

    Amber Waves, February 01, 2006

    Farm, Rural, Natural Resources and Food and Fiber Sector Indicators section - February 2006

  • Agricultural Contracting Update: Contracts in 2003

    EIB-9, January 04, 2006

    Marketing and production contracts covered 39 percent of the value of U.S. agricultural production in 2003, up from 36 percent in 2001 and a substantial increase over estimated values of 28 percent for 1991 and 11 percent in 1969. Large farms are far more likely to contract than small farms; in fact, contracts cover over half of the value of production from farms with at least $1 million in sales. Although use of both production and marketing contracts has grown over time, growth is more rapid for production contracts, which are largely used for livestock.

  • Indicators

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2005

    Farm, Rural, Natural Resources and Food and Fiber Sector Indicators section - November 2005

  • Economic Analysis of Base Acre and Payment Yield Designations Under the 2002 U.S. Farm Act

    ERR-12, September 19, 2005

    The 2002 Farm Act provided farmland owners the opportunity to update commodity program base acres and payment yields used for calculating selected program benefits. Findings in this report suggest that farmland owners responded to economic incentives in these decisions, selecting those options for designating base acres that resulted in the greatest expected flow of program payments. Farmland owners with high-payment base acres, such as rice and cotton, held on to these base acres and, whenever possible, expanded them. Analogously, farmland owners with low-payment commodity base acres, such as oats and barley, switched to higher payment commodities whenever possible.

  • Did the Mandatory Requirement Aid the Market? Impact of the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act

    LDPM-135-01, September 16, 2005

    This study focuses on fed cattle markets to compare the mandatory price reporting system developed by USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service in 2001 with the previous voluntary reporting system. The study also evaluates whether the mandatory system has improved the amount and quality of information available to the market. Results show that mandatory reporting has given the market additional information about prices for different kinds of sales transactions. The trend toward formula purchases has slowed since mandatory price reporting was implemented, and the volume of cattle moving under negotiated purchases has increased.

  • Farmland Owners Designate Base Acres to Maximize Payments

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2005

    The 2002 Farm Act provided farmland owners the opportunity to designate commodity program base acres and payment yields, program parameters that are used to determine direct and countercyclical payments. Farmland owners generally chose the alternative that provided the highest direct and countercyclical payments, a distinctly different economic decision than that underlying year-to-year planting decisions.

  • Crop Genetic Resources: An Economic Appraisal

    EIB-2, May 24, 2005

    Crop genetic resources are the basis of agricultural production. However, crop genetic resources are largely public goods, so private incentives for genetic resource conservation may fall short of achieving public objectives. Within the U.S. germplasm system, certain crop collections lack sufficient diversity to reduce vulnerability to pests and diseases. This report examines the role of genetic resources, genetic diversity, and efforts to value genetic resources.

  • Structural and Financial Characteristics of U.S. Farms: 2004 Family Farm Report

    AIB-797, March 09, 2005

    This report presents comprehensive information on family and nonfamily farms and important trends in farming, operator household income, farm performance, and contracting. Most farms are family farms. Even the largest farms tend to be family farms. Small family farms account for most of the farms in the U.S. but produce a modest share of farm output. Average farm household income has been at or above the average for all U.S. households in recent years, with farm households receiving most of their income from off-farm sources.

  • 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.

  • Decoupled Payments in a Changing Policy Setting

    AER-838, October 29, 2004

    This report analyzes the U.S. experience with decoupled payments in the Production Flexibility Contracts program from 1996 to 2002. The studies in this report consider the effects of decoupled payments on recipient households, and assess land, labor, risk management, and capital market conditions that can lead to links between decoupled payments and production choices. Each study contributes a different perspective to understanding the response of U.S. farm households and production to decoupled income transfers.

  • Rural America At A Glance, 2004

    AIB-793, September 30, 2004

    Rural America At A Glance, 2004 is a six-page brochure that highlights the most recent indicators of social and economic conditions in rural areas for use in developing policies and programs to assist rural areas. The brochure is the third in a series of reports that uses current social and economic data to highlight population, labor market, income, and poverty trends in rural areas. This brochure provides information on key rural conditions and trends for use by public and private decisionmakers and others in efforts to enhance the economic opportunities and quality of life for rural people and their communities.

  • Research Areas

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2004

    Research Areas page from the June 2004 issue of Amber Waves

  • Data Feature

    Amber Waves, February 01, 2004

    The U.S. food and fiber system (FFS) is a source of jobs and earnings for millions of American workers and a supplier of products worldwide. Food and fiber gross domestic product (GDP) and employment increased almost every year between 1972 and 2001. Because the rest of the economy grew at a relatively faster pace, however, the food and fiber share of national GDP and employment declined.