Publications

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  • Food and Agricultural Commodity Consumption in the United States: Looking Ahead to 2020

    AER-820, February 03, 2003

    This report analyzes how U.S. consumption of food commodities is projected to rise through 2020. The study uses date from USDA's food intake survey to project the consumption, through 2020, of 25 food groups and 22 commodity groups.

  • Agriculture in Brazil and Argentina: Developments and Prospects for Major Field Crops

    WRS-013, December 28, 2001

    This report identifies key factors underlying the agricultural productivity growth and enhanced international competitiveness of Brazil and Argentina in the past decade. Economic and policy reforms, infrastructure development, and enhanced use of agricultural inputs that drove output growth during the 1990s are discussed. This report also compares Brazilian, Argentine, and U.S. soybean production costs and evaluates the combined impact of production, marketing, and transportation costs on the overall export competitiveness of each country's soybean producers. Finally, the outlook for continued growth in output and exports of key commodities is assessed.

  • Changing Structure of Global Food Consumption and Trade

    WRS-01-1, May 30, 2001

    Higher income, urbanization, other demographic shifts, improved transportation, and consumer perceptions regarding quality and safety are changing global food consumption patterns. Shifts in food consumption have led to increased trade and changes in the composition of world agricultural trade. Given different diets, food expenditure and food budget responses to income and price changes vary between developing and developed countries. In developing countries, higher income results in increased demand for meat products, often leading to increased import of live-stock feed. Diet diversification and increasing demand for better quality and labor-saving products have increased imports of high-value and processed food products in developed countries. Consumer groups in developed countries have also brought attention to organic production of food and the topic of animal welfare. One way in which the public and private sectors have responded to consumer demand for these quality attributes has been by developing and implementing mandatory and voluntary quality control, management, and assurance schemes.

  • America's Diverse Family Farms: Assorted Sizes, Types, and Situations

    AIB-769, May 25, 2001

    This report describes a farm typology developed by the Economic Research Service (ERS), which categorizes farms into more homogeneous groups than classifications based on sales volume alone, producing a more effective policy development tool. The typology is used to describe U.S. farm structure.

  • USDA Agricultural Baseline Projections to 2010

    WAOB-011, February 22, 2001

    This report provides long-run (10-year) baseline projections for the agricultural sector through 2010. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • USDA Agricultural Baseline Projections to 2009

    WAOB-001, February 23, 2000

    This report provides long-run baseline projections for the agricultural sector through 2009. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices. The projections are based on specific assumptions regarding macroeconomic conditions, policy, weather, and international developments. The baseline assumes that there are no shocks due to abnormal weather or other factors affecting global supply and demand. The projections assume that current agricultural law of the 1996 Farm Act remains in effect throughout the baseline. The baseline projections presented are one representative scenario for the agricultural sector for the next decade. As such, the baseline provides a point of departure for discussion of alternative farm sector outcomes that could result under different assumptions. The projections in this report were prepared in October through December 1999, reflecting a composite of model results and judgmental analysis.

  • Industrial Hemp in the United States: Status and Market Potential

    AGES-001E, January 20, 2000

    Industrial hemp has been the focus of official interest in several States. However, hemp and marijuana are different varieties of Cannabis sativa, which is classified as a controlled substance in the United States. With Canada now allowing hemp production, questions have been raised about the demand for hemp products. U.S. markets for hemp fiber (specialty textiles, paper, and composites) and seed (in food or crushed for oil) are, and will likely remain, small, thin markets. Uncertainty about longrun demand for hemp products and the potential for oversupply discounts the prospects for hemp as an economically viable alternative crop for American farmers.

  • Economics of Water Quality Protection From Nonpoint Sources: Theory and Practice

    AER-782, November 30, 1999

    Water quality is a major environmental issue. Pollution from nonpoint sources is the single largest remaining source of water quality impairments in the United States. Agriculture is a major source of several nonpoint-source pollutants, including nutrients, sediment, pesticides, and salts. Agricultural nonpoint pollution reduction policies can be designed to induce producers to change their production practices in ways that improve the environmental and related economic consequences of production. The information necessary to design economically efficient pollution control policies is almost always lacking. Instead, policies can be designed to achieve specific environmental or other similarly related goals at least cost, given transaction costs and any other political, legal, or informational constraints that may exist. This report outlines the economic characteristics of five instruments that can be used to reduce agricultural nonpoint source pollution (economic incentives, standards, education, liability, and research) and discusses empirical research related to the use of these instruments.

  • USDA Agricultural Baseline Projections to 2007

    WAOB-981, February 02, 1998

    This report provides long-run baseline projections for the agricultural sector through 2007. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices. The baseline assumes no shocks and is based on specific assumptions regarding macroeconomic conditions, policy, weather, and international developments. The projections assume that current agricultural law of the 1996 Farm Act remains in effect throughout the baseline. Also, the baseline assumes that the Southeast Asian currency devaluations and related economic slowdowns are confined to that region, affecting growth through 2000, with policy reforms and international financial support leading to a recovery of economic growth in subsequent years. Despite the near-term slowdown in Southeast Asian economies, generally favorable global economic growth is projected in the baseline which, combined with liberalized trade associated with both the GATT agreement and unilateral policy reforms, supports strong growth in global trade and U.S. agricultural exports. Greater market orientation in the domestic agricultural sector under the 1996 Farm Act puts U.S. farmers in a favorable position for competing in the global marketplace. A tightening of the balance between productive capacity and projected demands results in rising nominal market prices, increasing farm income, and stability in the financial condition of the agricultural sector. Management of risk will be important for farmers, reflecting the reduced role of the Government in the sector under the 1996 Farm Act. Consumer food prices are projected to continue a long term trend of rising less than the general inflation rate. The baseline projections presented are one representative scenario for the agricultural sector for the next decade. As such, the baseline provides a point of departure for discussion of alternative farm sector outcomes that could result under different assumptions. The projections in this report were prepared in October through December 1997, reflecting a composite of model results and judgmental analysis.

  • Agricultural Baseline Projections to 2005, Reflecting the 1996 Farm Act

    WAOB-971, April 23, 1997

    This report provides long-run baseline projections for the agricultural sector through 2005 that incorporate provisions of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (1996 Farm Act). The baseline assumes that the new farm legislation remains in effect through 2005. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices. Generally favorable global economic growth is projected in the baseline which, combined with liberalized trade associated with both the GATT agreement and unilateral policy reforms, supports strong growth in global trade and U.S. agricultural exports. Greater market orientation in the domestic agricultural sector under the 1996 Farm Act puts U.S. farmers in a favorable position for competing in the global marketplace. A tightening of the balance between productive capacity and demands results in rising nominal market prices, increasing farm income, and stability in the financial condition of the agricultural sector. However, management of risk will be important for farmers. With the reduced role of the Government in the sector under the 1996 Farm Act, farmers in general face greater risk of income volatility due to price variation, reflecting market price variability more directly. Consumer food prices are projected to continue a long term trend of rising less than the general inflation rate. The baseline projections presented are one representative scenario for the agricultural sector through the middle of the next decade, assuming no shocks and based on specific assumptions regarding macroeconomic conditions, policy, weather, and international developments. As such, the baseline provides a point of departure for discussion of alternative farm sector outcomes that could result under different assumptions. The projections in this report were prepared in October through December 1996, reflecting a composite of model results and judgmental analysis.

  • Ethanol and Agriculture: Effect of Increased Production on Crop and Livestock Sectors

    AER-667, May 03, 1993

    Expanded ethanol production could increase U.S. farm income by as much as $1 billion (1.4 percent) by 2000. Because corn is the primary feedstock for ethanol, growers in the Corn Belt would benefit most from improved ethanol technology and heightened demand. Coproducts from the conversion process (corn gluten meal, corn gluten feed, and others) compete with soybean meal, so soybean growers in the South may see revenues decline. The U.S. balance of trade would improve with increased ethanol production as oil import needs decline.

  • 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.

  • 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.