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  • Changing the Definition of a “Farm” Can Affect Federal Funding

    Amber Waves, December 01, 2009

    The Federal Government's definition of a farm affects farm statistics and influences the design and delivery of Federal farm programs. The definition also has implications for States because each State’s share of the national farm population is used to help allocate some Federal funding.

  • China's New Farm Policies Have Modest Impact

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2005

    New farm policies introduced by the Chinese Government in 2004 are intended to address the country’s widening urban-rural income gap and boost grain production. So far, the changes have had limited impact.

  • Classifying and Measuring Agricultural Support: Identifying Differences Between the WTO and OECD Systems

    EIB-74, March 31, 2011

    Measures of countries' support to their farm sectors can be highly contested in trade negotiations. ERS presents a framework for analyzing differences between the two key systems (WTO and OECD) used to measure support levels.

  • Commodity Payments, Farm Business Survival, and Farm Size Growth

    ERR-51, November 27, 2007

    ERS compared consumption of refined and whole grains with recommendations of the 2005 Dietary Guidelines, considering the consumers' social, economic, and demographic characteristics.

  • Conservation Reserve Program Acreage To Decline; Will Benefits Also Fall?

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2008

    The Conservation Reserve Program-the long-time centerpiece of U.S. agricultural conservation policy-is shrinking. The acreage cap will fall to 32 million acres beginning in October, 2009, and program acreage could fall farther without new enrollments. As CRP acreage declines, will environmental benefits decline at the same rate?

  • Conservation-Practice Adoption Rates Vary Widely by Crop and Region

    EIB-147, December 21, 2015

    U.S. farmers' adoption of no till, strip till, cover crops and nutrient management varies by crop and region. In addition, many farmers are "partial" adopters, implementing conservation practices on some but not all acres of their farms.

  • Corn: Background for 1990 Farm Legislation

    AGES-8947, September 01, 1989

    This report address considerations in the 1990 farm bill debate for corn, including market conditions, policy proposals, trade agreements, and the interactions between policy and markets for selected commodities. Corn is the leading U.S. crop, both in volume and in value. In 1987, farmers planted about 65 million acres and harvested 7.1 billion bushels. The farm value of production totaled about $13 billion, about 36 percent of farm receipts from crops. Rising corn yields and market prices strengthened corn farmers' cash flow positions in the late 1970s; however, per bushel real returns above cash expenses declined in recent years. Lower loan rates, the issuance and exchange of generic certificates, and devaluation of the U.S. dollar relative to the mid-1980s all contributed to the growth of U.S. corn exports in recent years. Government program costs for corn averaged more than $4.6 billion a year during the 1984-88 crop years, or 30 percent of the 15.7 billion corn crop value. Higher feed grain prices stemming from the programs comprise an additional cost to the livestock sector and consumers.

  • Cotton Backgrounder

    CWS-07B01, March 30, 2007

    U.S. cotton growers, like producers of other agricultural commodities in recent years, have confronted pressures from market forces and the impacts of policy developments, both domestic and international. Most notably, the ending of the Multifiber Arrangement (MFA) sent a ripple effect throughout the global cotton industry. While adjustments in the textile and apparel sectors of many countries, including the United States, continue to evolve, dramatic changes have already been seen for some. World cotton mill use has accelerated along with economic growth since 1999, particularly in China, and U.S. cotton producers have benefited as foreign import demand has reached new heights. Government payments contribute a considerable portion of total revenue to the cotton sector, and adjustments to this program or any other commodity program in the 2007 farm legislation will be driven by factors such as domestic market conditions, multilateral trade negotiations, and the Federal budget deficit.

  • Cropland Concentrating Faster Where Payments Are Higher

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2007

    Both crop production and government commodity payments have become more concentrated on larger farms, raising questions about the role of payments in changes in concentration growth. Concentration of cropland since 1987 grew much more rapidly in areas with relatively high initial payments per acre. While causality is not established, the evidence uncovers a strong and pervasive link between high payment levels and subsequent farm size growth.

  • Data Feature

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2005

    U.S. agriculture underwent a tremendous transformation during the 20th century--the structure of farming and rural life barely today resembles that of the early 1900s. A comparison of data across the century reveals trends of increasing farm size, falling farm population, increasing specialization of farms, and the growing importance of new stakeholders.

  • Devolution of Farm Programs Could Broaden States' Role in Ag Policy

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2004

    U.S. farms vary greatly in size, specialty, and household characteristics. U.S. regions differ markedly in natural resource endowments. And States themselves are widely divergent in terms of their preferences as to how funds from agricultural programs should be spent. Given this diversity, can the delivery of agricultural programs be better tailored to distinct State and local circumstances? Devolution, or the transfer to States of Federal funds and/or control of those funds, is one way of adapting national policies to suit local preferences more closely and of recognizing that program delivery costs can vary geographically.

  • Direct Payments Can Influence Farmers’ Production Decisions

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2010

    ERS has identified multiple avenues through which Production Flexibility Contract payments could influence agricultural production, including providing easier access to capital markets, changing farmers’ risk preferences, or affecting land values, labor markets, and/or farmers’ expectations about future payments.

  • 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.

  • Economic Effects of U.S. Dairy Policy and Alternative Approaches to Milk Pricing

    AP-076, May 11, 2017

    This report examines the effects of national dairy policy and its component programs as defined in the 2002 Act on milk and dairy product markets, farm households, nutrition programs, and the rural economy.

    Reissued May 2017; original publication July 2004. For questions, contact Jerry Cessna.

  • Economic Experiments for Policy Analysis and Program Design: A Guide for Agricultural Decisionmakers

    ERR-236, August 17, 2017

    To illustrate the use of experimental approaches and highlight key experimental design features, this report reviews five case studies where experiments were used to investigate issues pertinent to agricultural policy design

  • Effects of Marketing Loans on U.S. Dry Peas and Lentils: Supply Response and World Trade

    ERR-58, May 30, 2008

    Acreage for dry peas and lentils has increased since passage of the 2002 Farm Act. ERS examines the role of the Act's marketing loans in the increase, and the trade impacts.

  • Emphasis Shifts in U.S. Agri-Environmental Policy

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2003

    With the passage of the 2002 Farm Act, policymakers have substantially increased conservation funding and made changes in program emphasis. The goals are to expand the amount of U.S. land and the number of farmers covered by conservation programs.

  • European Union Adopts Significant Farm Reform

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2004

    In 2003 and 2004, the European Union adopted major reforms to its agricultural policy. The changes will have important implications for the way the EU supports its farm sector, for its obligations under current WTO agreements, and for its position in ongoing WTO agricultural negotiations.

  • Farm Act’s Regional Equity Provision May Entail Conservation Tradeoffs

    Amber Waves, December 01, 2010

    Analysis of data from 2004-06 (when the 2002 Farm Act was in effect) on USDA’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program—the largest program covered by the Regional Equity provision—reveals that the funding shift reduced the number of acres receiving treatment for many resource problems.

  • Farm Household Income Volatility: An Analysis Using Panel Data From a National Survey

    ERR-226, February 22, 2017

    Income of commercial farm households is generally more volatile than for nonfarm households. Farm size, commodities raised, operator characteristics, and reliance on Federal programs all play roles in farm household income volatility.