Publications

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  • Climate Change, Heat Stress, and U.S. Dairy Production

    ERR-175, September 30, 2014

    In 2010, heat stress lowered annual milk production for the average dairy by about $39,000, or $1.2 billion for the sector. In 2030, additional heat stress from climate change may lower milk production by an estimated 0.6 to 1.35 percent.

  • Confined Livestock Operations Account For a Majority of the Chesapeake Bay Area’s Farmland With Applied Manure

    Amber Waves, April 07, 2014

    Excessive flows of nutrients into the Chesapeake Bay can damage the bay’s environment, yielding coastal dead zones, fish kills, and impaired drinking water supplies. Agriculture is a main contributor to nutrient run-off, responsible for 38 percent of the bay’s nitrogen and 45 percent of phosphorus loadings.

  • Consumer-Level Food Loss Estimates and Their Use in the ERS Loss-Adjusted Food Availability Data

    TB-1927, January 03, 2011

    The Food Availability (per capita) Data System developed by USDA's Economic Research Service tracks annual food and nutrient availability for many commodities. The Food Availability data series in this system overstates actual consumption, so ERS has included an additional series, the Loss-Adjusted Food Availability data, to adjust the Food Availability data for nonedible food parts and food losses, including losses from farm to retail, at retail, and at the consumer level. In this report, we propose new consumer-level loss estimates for "cooking loss and uneaten food" of the edible share to replace those currently used in the Loss-Adjusted Food Availability data and propose their adoption for the entire data span (1970 to the most recent year in the series). The proposed loss percentages are calculated by subtracting food consumption estimates from food purchase or availability estimates for each food. These calculations are adjusted with information from an expert panel experienced in analyzing food consumption data. In general, the proposed food loss estimates for individual foods indicate substantial differences from the currently used estimates. Although some estimates indicate smaller loss percentages than the currently used estimates, many are larger. Overall, if the proposed loss estimates are used in the ERS loss-adjusted series, the average American would consume 17.3 pounds less each year, or 41.9 fewer calories per day, than suggested by the currently used loss estimates.

  • 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.

  • Country-of-Origin Labeling: Theory and Observation

    WRS-0402, January 23, 2004

    This report examines the economic rationale behind the various claims about the effects of mandatory country-of-origin labeling, thereby identifying the most likely outcomes. Profits motivate firms to innovate and introduce thousands of new food products each year to satisfy consumers' demand. Yet, food suppliers have generally not emphasized, advertised, or labeled food with U.S. country of origin. The infrequency of "Made in USA" labels on food suggests suppliers do not believe domestic origin is an attribute that can attract much consumer interest. We find little evidence that suppliers would have difficulty supplying such labels if there were sufficient consumer interest.

  • Cow-Calf Beef Production in Mexico

    LDPM-196-01, November 18, 2010

    This report characterizes Mexican beef cow-calf production systems in the context of the many issues affecting Mexican beef and cattle markets, including geo-climatic factors, disease and pest challenges, patterns of landownership, changes in export regions, and changes in domestic consumption as they relate to cow-calf production.

  • Dairy Backgrounder

    LDPM-14501, July 24, 2006

    Over time, shifts in consumer demands, in the location and structure of milk production, in industry concentration, in international markets, and in trade agreements have dramatically altered the U.S. dairy industry and changed the context for dairy policies and the sector as a whole. In the future, the U.S. dairy industry is likely to become more fully integrated with international markets. At the same time, dairy products such as fluid milk, butter, and cheese are likely to continue to be increasingly used as ingredients for restaurants and in processed foods while still being sold in their traditional forms.

  • Dairy Policies in Japan

    LDPM-134-01, August 24, 2005

    This report provides a detailed description and analysis of Japan's policies that support its milk producers and regulate dairy markets. Domestic supply controls boost the milk price, and government subsidies for producing manufacturing milk, for environmental improvements, and for hazard insurance provide additional support to farms. Regulations about milk labeling have affected milk powder use. At the border, tariff-rate quotas offer limited opportunities to private firms within the quota amounts, and impose very high tariffs on imports of dairy products outside the quota. If Japan's policies were liberalized, prices and production in Japan would fall, but sizable milk production would remain.

  • Declines in Pollinator Forage Suitability Were Concentrated in the Midwest, the Over-Summering Grounds for Many Honeybees

    Amber Waves, July 03, 2017

    While most agricultural commodities are wind-pollinated, about one-third of total U.S. food consumption either require or benefit from insect pollination. Managed honeybees alone provide over $350 million worth of pollination services each year. Recently, however, the health of pollinators has suffered.

  • Did You Know?

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2007

    Did You Know? page from November 2007 issue of Amber Waves

  • 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.

  • Disease-Related Trade Restrictions Shaped Animal Product Markets in 2004 and Stamp Imprints on 2005 Forecasts

    LDPM-133-01, August 03, 2005

    Disease outbreaks and related trade restrictions that affected U.S. animal product markets and exports in 2003 continued to constrain markets in 2004. U.S. cattle and beef markets were most affected. Pork, dairy, and lamb markets did not face any direct disease issues but both U.S. and international outbreaks of Avian Influenza buffeted poultry markets. Forecasts of 2005 U.S. animal-products trade reflect expected market responses given the uncertainties surrounding cattle and beef markets in the United States.

  • Dynamic PEATSim Model Documenting Its Use in Analyzing Global Commodity Markets

    TB-1933, July 18, 2012

    This report documents the updated version of the Partial Equilibrium Agricultural Trade Simulation (PEATSim) model developed by USDA's Economic Research Service. PEATSim is a global model, covering 31 commodities and 27 countries/regions. The model, consistent with economic theory, provides a flexible country and commodity aggregation and accounts for cross-commodity linkages and interactions. The report includes a presentation and discussion of the structure and specific features of the revamped model, along with the theoretical underpinnings. It also documents an application of the model to illustrate its dynamic structure and to demonstrate the differential behavior.

  • ERS Tracks Meat Prices at the Retail, Wholesale, and Farm Levels

    Amber Waves, October 05, 2015

    Each month the Economic Research Service calculates farm-to-wholesale and wholesale-to-retail price spreads for beef, pork, and broilers. These price spreads show the difference between what consumers pay for a certain type of meat at the retail store and what producers actually receive for that meat.

  • Economic Assessment of Food Safety Regulations: The New Approach to Meat and Poultry Inspection

    AER-755, July 01, 1997

    USDA is now requiring all Federally inspected meat and poultry processing and slaughter plants to implement a new system called Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) to reduce potentially harmful microbial pathogens in the food supply. This report finds that the benefits of the new regulations, which are the medical costs and productivity losses that are prevented when foodborne illnesses are averted, will likely exceed the costs, which include spending by firms on sanitation, temperature control, planning and training, and testing. Other, nonregulatory approaches can also improve food safety, such as providing market incentives for pathogen reduction, irradiation, and education and labeling to promote safe food handling and thorough cooking.

  • Economic Impacts of Feed-Related Regulatory Responses to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy

    LDPM-170-01, September 04, 2008

    Animal and poultry disease outbreaks often lead to new or amended policies and regulations. The economic effects induced by these policies can be much greater and much longer lasting than the immediate effect of the disease outbreak alone. Using Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) as an example, this paper demonstrates the pervasiveness of the effects of restrictive feed policies and regulations, particularly as they relate to meat and bone meal and other protein feeds. Costs evaluated include those assumed by consumers via changes in supplies of secondary and final products; environmental costs associated with disposal of hazardous materials; lost value of products to the rendering industry, including a decline in value of meat and bone meal; and supply disruptions and substitutions within the feed market sector increase the total costs of disease mitigation regulations. Benefits from new or amended policies accrue but are not easily measured.

  • 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.

  • Effect of Food Industry Mergers and Acquisitions on Employment and Wages

    ERR-13, December 09, 2005

    Empirical analysis of mergers and acquisitions in eight important food industries suggests that workers in acquired plants realized modest increases in employment and wages relative to other workers. Results also show that mergers and acquisitions reduced the likelihood of plant closures while high relative labor costs encouraged plant shutdowns. These results differ from commonly held views that mergers and acquisitions lead to fewer jobs, wage cuts, and plant shutdowns.

  • Effect of Media on Consumer Demand for Lean Finely Textured Beef Muted

    Amber Waves, February 02, 2015

    This study highlights the effect of heightened media coverage on consumer demand for lean finely textured beef based products. The study found that consumers initially responded to the perceived food scare by making changes to their meat and beef consumption, but their behavioral response was temporary.

  • Egg Price Impacts of the 2014-15 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Outbreak

    Amber Waves, April 02, 2018

    Between December 2014 and June 2015, more than 50 million chickens and turkeys in the United States died of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) or were destroyed to stop the spread of the disease. ERS researchers recently analyzed the outbreak's impact on egg prices.