Publications

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  • Characteristics and Risk Management Needs of Limited-Resource and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers

    AIB-733, April 01, 1997

    Small U.S. farms and those run by socially disadvantaged minority operators tend not to purchase insurance or to participate in insurance-type programs operated by USDA. This report traces the lack of use of such risk management measures to several characteristics of such farmers, who include females, blacks, American Indians, Asian/Pacific Islanders, and operators of Spanish origin. These farmers tend, more than the typical U.S. farm, to raise livestock rather than crops, and there are no government-sponsored insurance-type programs for livestock.

  • Partial Interests in Land: Policy Tools for Resource Use and Conservation

    AER-744, November 29, 1996

    Property rights arise out of law, custom, and the operation of private markets, with important implications for how land and other natural resources are used and conserved. Over the past several years, debate about the nature and scope of property rights has combined with budget concerns and reauthorization of the Farm Bill, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act to focus public attention on Federal natural resource policy. This report examines the nature of land ownership and the evolving Federal role in land use and conservation, with particular attention to the voluntary acquisition and conveyance of conservation easements and other partial interests in land.

  • Economic Implications of Cleaning Barley in the United States

    AER-745, November 01, 1996

    The costs of cleaning barley beyond the current level of cleanliness would outweigh the potential benefits. There is little commercial interest in the cleaning of barley moving into domestic malting and feed barley markets. The export market demand is primarily for feed barley.

  • Agricultural Research and Development: Public and Private Investments Under Alternative Markets and Institutions

    AER-735, May 01, 1996

    Empirical studies indicate high economic returns from the public's investment in agricultural research. Yet, even as society is placing broader demands on the research system, taxpayer support for public agricultural research is unlikely to increase. Stronger ownership rights for intellectual property have increased incentives for private investment in agricultural research, but key elements still require direct public support. The USDA is developing new mechanisms to build a more effective public-private partnership in agricultural research.

  • Agricultural Resources and Environmental Indicators, 1994

    AH-705, December 01, 1994

    This report identifies trends in land, water, and commercial input use, reports on the condition of natural resources used in the agricultural sector, and describes and assesses public policies that affect conservation and environmental quality in agriculture. Combining data and information, this report examines the complex connections among farming practices, conservation, and the environment, which are increasingly important components in U.S. agriculture and farm policy. The report examines the economic factors that affect resource use and, when data permit, estimates the costs and benefits (to farmers, consumers, and the government) of meeting conservation and environmental goals. The report takes stock of how natural resources (land and water) and commercial inputs (energy, nutrients, pesticides, and machinery) are used in the agricultural sector; shows how they contribute to environmental quality; and links use and quality to technological change, production practices, and farm programs.

  • Agricultural Export Programs: Background for 1990 Farm Legislation

    AGES-9033, May 01, 1990

    Lawmakers authorized several new export programs under the Food Security Act of 1985 in an attempt to increase agricultural exports. U.S. agricultural exports began to recover in fiscal 1987 and, in fiscal 1989, climbed to $39.6 billion, their highest level since 1981. Since 1986, U.S. agricultural export programs, a depreciating dollar, lower domestic commodity prices relative to world prices, and increased demand from importers have contributed to improved agricultural export sales. However, competition for world agricultural markets also has increased. Export programs help U.S. exporters meet subsidized competition, provide humanitarian relief, assist credit-seeking importers, and may help develop new overseas markets for U.S. agricultural products. Issues which could affect export programs in 1990 legislation include tightened U.S. and global grain stocks, potential budget exposure for increased loan guarantees, and the outcome of trade negotiations under the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

  • Fibers: Background for 1990 Farm Legislation

    AIB-591, March 01, 1990

    This report provides an overview of the cotton, wool, and mohair sectors and addresses considerations in the 1990 farm bill debate, including market conditions, policy proposals, trade agreements, and the interactions between policy and markets for selected commodities. Cotton acreage, production, and prices have been influenced by Government programs since the 1930s in an attempt to meet market needs, with varying degrees of success. The Food Security Act of 1985 is generally considered successful in dealing with the cotton sector despite several problems. While the general preference for 1990 legislation for cotton will likely be for stability, the combination of budget, trade, environment, and flexibility issues may result in more than fine tuning of the current act. Wool and mohair have been declining industries. Sheep inventories are a fifth of their World War II level; goat numbers are a third of their mid-1960s level. Policymakers have had limited control over wool program costs given the formula-based Government support price, the trend of declining textile market share, rising raw wool textile imports, stagnant lamb and mutton consumption, and the dominance of Australia and New Zealand in the world wool market. Issues for 1990 include whether to continue the program and, if so, the level and method of determining support prices.

  • Program Provisions for Program Crops: A Database for 1961-90

    AGES-9010, March 01, 1990

    This report opens with a look at legislation which provided the foundation for commodity support programs and highlights legislation which revised and supplemented the basic structure of these programs. However, the main body of this report is devoted to program provisions for 1961-90 crops of corn, sorghum, barley, oats, wheat, rice, upland cotton, and extra-long staple cotton which are presented in tables with extensive footnotes clarifying the program specifics.

  • Possible Economic Consequences of Reverting to Permanent Legislation or Eliminating Price and Income Supports

    AER-526, January 01, 1985

    If the agricultural legislation expiring in 1985 is not replaced, farm price and income supports will revert from the programs provided for in the Agriculture and Food Act of 1981 and subsequent legislation to the programs provided for in the permanent support statutes. Reverting to the permanent support programs, dating back in some cases to the 1930s, would raise price and income support levels significantly and greatly reduce the role of market forces in determining farm returns. Conversely, if all price and income supports were eliminated in 1985, Government intervention in the market would end and supply and demand forces would determine farm returns. Adopting either of these two outerbound policy alternatives would have significant and far-reaching impacts on farm operations, the agribusiness sector, the general economy, and ultimately the world market for farm products.