Publications

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  • A Look at Calorie Sources in the American Diet

    Amber Waves, December 05, 2016

    According to ERS’s loss-adjusted food availability data, total calories per person decreased by 2 percent between 2000 and 2010. In both years, grains were the primary contributor to daily calories per capita.

  • A Look at What’s Driving Lower Purchases of School Lunches

    Amber Waves, October 05, 2015

    In recent years, the share of children paying full price for their school lunches has fallen from 40 percent in fiscal 2008 to 28 percent in fiscal 2014, continuing a longer downward trend. A combination of reasons—both economic factors and policy changes—are affecting participation decisions in the Nation’s school lunch rooms.

  • A Look at the Economic Well-Being of Farm Households

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2008

    ERS researchers have developed a composite measure of economic well-being that accounts for a farm household's pretax income, accumulated marketable wealth, and family size. This relative measure of economic well-being shows that participation in government farm programs and/or off-farm work reduces the likelihood of a farm household being "lower income and lower wealth." The role of education, among other factors considered, was more important to a farm household's economic well-being if the household was located in a metro rather than a nonmetro area.

  • A Market for U.S. Distillers Dried Grains Emerges in China

    Amber Waves, December 03, 2012

    China has become a key importer of U.S. distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS), the main co-product from ethanol production. About a fourth of U.S. DDGS output is exported, and China accounted for nearly 20 percent of those exports in 2010/11.

  • A Multitude of Design Decisions Influence Conservation Program Performance

    Amber Waves, July 01, 2006

    Designing a voluntary conservation program requires several types of decision criteria to encourage farmers to apply and to determine who can participate in the program. These decisions act as a winnowing process, starting with all farmers and ranchers and resulting in a pool of program participants.

  • A Multitude of Design Decisions Influence Conservation Program Performance

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2005

    Designing a voluntary conservation program requires several types of decision criteria to encourage farmers to apply and to determine who can participate in the program. These decisions act as a winnowing process, starting with all farmers and ranchers and resulting in a pool of program participants.

  • A New Look at Where Our Food Dollars Go

    Amber Waves, June 16, 2011

    In February 2011, ERS introduced a new data product called the food dollar series that uses BLS annual input-output tables to provide a more complete accounting of U.S. food spending at both grocery stores and eating places.

  • A New Outlook for the U.S.-Mexico Sugar and Sweetener Market

    SSSM-335-01, August 11, 2016

    ERS examines the U.S. trade remedy investigations on sugar imports from Mexico and considers how the recent "suspension agreement" restrictions on these imports change the outlook for the integrated U.S.-Mexico sweetener market.

  • A New World for U.S. Cotton Producers

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2007

    The end of the MFA has brought a decline in U.S. textile production and domestic demand for U.S. cotton with the result that the U.S. cotton sector has become increasingly export dependent. The sector has been helped by yield enhancing technological advances, but U.S. cotton also faces increasing competition from abroad. An ongoing WTO dispute and possible changes in U.S. farm legislation mean further uncertainty for the sector.

  • A Pilot Program for U.S. Food Aid

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2008

    The sharp rise in food and fuel prices since 2006 has added to existing concerns about food security in developing countries. Under a pilot program for food aid in the 2008 Farm Act, the U.S. has made a commitment to provide cash of $60 million over 4 years to be used for local food purchases in recipient countries.

  • A Positive Path for Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa: Options and Challenges

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2010

    Global food security improved between 2009 and 2010, as the effects of food price spikes and the global economic downturn moderated, but projections point to deteriorating food security over the next 10 years, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa.

  • A Primer on Land Use in the United States

    Amber Waves, December 04, 2017

    Land use and land-use change have important economic and environmental implications for commodity production and trade, soil and water conservation, and other policy issues. The ERS Major Land Uses (MLU) series is the longest running, most comprehensive accounting of all major uses of public and private land in the United States. The U.S. land area totals just under 2.3 billion acres.

  • A Quarterly Econometric Model for Short-Term Forecasting of the U.S. Dairy Industry

    TB-1932, January 05, 2012

    This research evaluates the econometric approaches employed by USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) to contribute to the dairy sector forecasts published in the monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report. To generate the estimates, a quarterly model of the U.S. dairy industry is specified using data for fourth-quarter 1998 (Q4/1998) to first quarter 2009 (Q1/2009), and it is estimated and validated employing data for Q2/2009 to Q1/2010. Different forecasts are generated using a variety of single equation and system methods, and which are then evaluated in terms of forecast precision or predicting turning points in the data. Different approaches, however, more effectively forecast different variables. Vector autoregression with exogenous variables outperforms structural regression models when forecasting prices, but single and system estimations of structural models are superior to time series models when forecasting some items in farm supply and commodity balance sheets.

  • A Revised and Expanded Food Dollar Series: A Better Understanding of Our Food Costs

    ERR-114, February 24, 2011

    A new and expanded ERS food dollar series provides a more detailed answer to the question of where our food dollars go (e.g., the farm share and the share among the various supply chain industry groups)

  • A Revolution in Food Retailing Underway in the Asia-Pacific Region

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2006

    This article assesses the causes and impacts of the rapid spread of modern retail outlets in the developing Asia-Pacific region. These modern outlets are contributing to food-system modernization and efficiency, lower food costs, and higher food quality and safety standards. Enhanced food-system distribution chains needed to support these supermarkets also overcome the logistical challenges arising from rapid urbanization. Specialized suppliers are emerging to help modern supermarkets do business with small-scale producers and traditional market channels, thus being an important force for food-system modernization.

  • A Richer World Wants a Richer Diet

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2003

    A number of forces, such as income, urbanization and population growth, are changing the way the world eats. Of these forces, income—both its level and growth—has had the greatest effect.

  • A Safety Net for Farm Households

    AER-788, October 02, 2000

    Discussions in the public arena have raised fundamental questions about the ultimate goals of farm policy and the need for establishing a safety net for farm households. This report examines four scenarios for government assistance to agriculture based on the concept of ensuring some minimum standard of living. Lower income farmers would benefit relatively more from the safety net scenarios, while farmers producing selected commodities benefit relatively more from current farm programs. Farm households in the Northern Crescent, the Eastern Uplands, the Southern Seaboard, and the Fruitful Rim all would generally receive a higher level and a greater proportion of benefits than under current programs. A clear understanding of objectives and intended beneficiaries must be the starting point for discussions of future farm policy.

  • A Sampling of What’s Trending in Americans’ Fruit and Vegetable Choices

    Amber Waves, March 07, 2016

    A new infographic from USDA’s Economic Research Service spotlights some of the upward and downward trending fruits and vegetables among U.S. consumers.

  • A Short History of U.S. Agricultural Trade Negotiations

    AGES-8923, August 01, 1989

    The U.S. proposal to eliminate domestic farm subsidies worldwide, presented to the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade negotiations in 1987, is a significant break with past policies. Trade liberalization has been a U.S. goal since the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act of 1934, but, until recently, the United States and many other nations have acted to preserve their own farm subsidies. In the 1980s, slower growth in international farm trade, the threat of trade wars, and higher subsidy costs have led to a reassessment of domestic as well as export subsidies and have created a climate favorable to eliminating subsidies.

  • A Visual Primer for the Food and Agricultural Sectors

    Amber Waves, December 16, 2013

    Ag and Food Statistics: Charting the Essentials, released in September 2013, is a collection of charts and maps covering fundamental statistics and trends related to the U.S. agricultural and food sectors. This data feature highlights a few of the questions that can be answered by the Essentials.