Publications

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  • Soybean Backgrounder

    OCS-200601, April 04, 2006

    This report addresses key domestic and international market and policy developments that have affected the U.S. soybean sector in recent years. It provides an analysis of the competition between crops for domestic farmland and the international supply and demand for soybean products. Also covered are domestic and trade policy, farm program costs, and a profile of operating and financial characteristics of U.S. farms producing soybeans.

  • The Role of Policy and Industry Structure in India's Oilseed Markets

    ERR-17, April 19, 2006

    This report reviews recent developments in India's oilseed sector and assesses the implications of current and potential future policy reforms for the oilseed sector. Extensive policy intervention continues to affect oilseed production, trade, and processing in India. Findings suggest that India's current policy of high tariffs on oilseeds and oil affords little benefit to oilseed producers and imposes high costs on consumers. A reduction in oilseed barriers would encourage processors in India to boost capacity utilization using imported oilseeds, resulting in lower processing costs, and increased net revenues and employment. It would also afford U.S. soybean producers an opportunity for exports.

  • Sugar and Sweeteners Outlook: May 2006

    SSSM-246, May 30, 2006

    Mexico has been a significant producer, consumer, and exporter of sugar. Figure M1 shows trends and relationships between these variables since 1960. Sugar production has been steadily growing since 1960. Yearly production growth averaged 66,000 metric tons (mt) from 1960-74, and it averaged 81,000 mt per year from 1975-89.

  • Research Areas

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2006

    Research area charts from the June 2006 issue of Amber Waves.

  • Tobacco Production Costs and Returns in 2004

    TBS-26001, August 04, 2006

    This study focuses on factors that led to changes in the estimated residual returns to management and risk from tobacco production in 2003-04. Residual returns per acre for flue-cured tobacco declined less than those for burley tobacco in 2004 because yield increases for flue-cured tobacco helped to offset increases in economic costs. Residual returns above economic costs were calculated using data from the last tobacco surveys, conducted in 1995 for burley tobacco and 1996 for flue-cured tobacco, and updated with 2004 data on prices, yields, marketing costs, and quota levels.

  • How Low has the Farm Share of Retail Food Prices Really Fallen?

    ERR-24, August 15, 2006

    ERS estimates the share of retail food prices farmers earn on two commodity groups-fruits and vegetables. While the farm share has been shrinking, the decrease is less than previously believed.

  • Research Areas

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2006

    Research area charts from the September 2006 issue of Amber Waves.

  • Research Areas

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2006

    Research area charts from the November 2006 issue of Amber Waves.

  • Indicators

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2006

    Indicators tables from the November 2006 issue of Amber Waves.

  • Rice Backgrounder

    RCS-200601, December 08, 2006

    U.S. rice farming is a high-cost, large-scale production operation that depends on the global market for about half its annual sales. Government payments per acre are high compared with other program crops, as is the share of the sector's income accounted for by payments. While domestic demand for rice continues to grow, the outlook for rice farm incomes is tempered by higher production costs, modest increases in farm prices, and continued strong competition in many international markets from lower cost Asian exporters.

  • The Changing Face of the U.S. Grain System

    ERR-35, February 28, 2007

    Specialty grains coming onto the market (e.g., fiber-enriched wheat) are requiring adjustments in the marketing system, including information documentation and management, in order to preserve their added value or prevent accidental commingling with standard grains.

  • Vegetables and Melons Outlook: March 2007

    VGS-31901, March 06, 2007

    Carrots are one of the most popular vegetables in the United States and fresh-market carrot consumption has been increasing over the past few decades. Using a combination of ACNielsen Homescan panel data and USDA's Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals, this article examines where and how much fresh and processed carrots are eaten and links this consumption to various economic, social, and demographic characteristics of consumers. The analysis indicates that per capita carrot consumption is greatest in the East and Central regions of the country. About 80 percent of fresh-market carrots are purchased at retail and consumed at home, with the majority consisting of fresh-cut (including baby) carrots.

  • Feed Grains Backgrounder

    FDS-07C01, March 30, 2007

    The U.S. feed grain sector, largest of the major U.S. field crops, faces unprecedented demand conditions. The size and speed of the expanding use of corn by the ethanol industry is raising widespread issues throughout U.S. agriculture. Debate is ongoing over the use of grain for fuel instead of for food or feed and the adequacy of future grain supplies. Increased productivity (yield) and additional area from land planted to competing crops, land enrolled in conservation programs, or idled land is expected to provide an increased supply of feed grains. The outlook is for higher feed grain prices, in part, as a result of renewable energy policies and high energy prices, with feed grain prices rising above farm program support levels. During the ongoing farm policy debate, the U.S. feed grain sector faces uncertainty about the future level and type of government support.

  • 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.

  • Indian Wheat and Rice Sector Policies and the Implications of Reform

    ERR-41, May 03, 2007

    The pronounced market cycles and declines in per capita consumption of India's major food staples, as well as budgetary concerns, are creating pressure for Indian policymakers to adjust longstanding policies.

  • U. S. Tobacco Import Update 2005/06

    TBS-26201, May 11, 2007

    U.S. tobacco product manufacturers use foreign-produced leaf in items such as cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, and pipe tobacco. Imports peaked in the mid-1990s but remain at historically high levels. The popularity of generic cigarettes, which use cheaper imported leaf, along with increases in domestic leaf prices, were the chief reasons for heightened dependence on tobacco imports. Disappearance (use) of foreign-grown tobacco followed a similar upward trend. As tobacco exports and domestic sales of generic cigarettes advanced, imported leaf use rose. The proportion of imported leaf remained high even after exports declined. During the 2005/06 crop year, use of imported tobacco slipped 6 percent. Imported flue-cured and burley use slipped, and Oriental leaf use advanced. Foreign-grown cigar leaf use advanced as domestic cigar production rose. Imports of flue-cured and burley tobacco continue to be regulated by a tariff-rate quota.

  • Sugar and Sweeteners Outlook: June 2007

    SSSM-249, June 04, 2007

    Rising ethanol demand in global markets is driving the growth of Brazil's sugar/ethanol complex with new investments in infrastructure and technology. The recent rise in crude oil prices, paired with a global effort for renewable energy development and a growing domestic demand for ethanol have been the key factors driving the recent expansion of Brazil's sugar and ethanol industries.

  • U.S. Agricultural Trade Update-State Exports

    FAU-123, June 29, 2007

    U.S. agricultural exports reached a record in fiscal 2006 at $68.7 billion, some $6.2 billion higher than the record set in fiscal 2005. California, Iowa, Texas, and Illinois continued their reign as top exporting States, while Minnesota dropped to seventh position behind Nebraska and Kansas. North Carolina joined the top 10, displacing North Dakota at the number nine position. Feed grain exports moved ahead of soybean exports, with Iowa and Illinois dominating in those markets. California continued to dominate vegetables, fruits, tree nuts, seeds, and dairy.

  • Sugar Backgrounder

    SSSM-249-01, July 17, 2007

    This report on the U.S. sugar sector places into context the challenges facing sugar producers, users, and policymakers in the United States, including description and analysis of farm-level production of U.S. sugar crops, cane and beet sugar processing and refining industries, imports and exports of sugar, sugar consumption, and U.S. sugar policy issues likely to be important in the 2007 Farm Bill.

  • Impact of Rising Natural Gas Prices on U.S. Ammonia Supply

    WRS-0702, August 06, 2007

    The volatile and upward trend in U.S. natural gas prices from 2000-06 has led to a 17-percent decline in the Nation's annual aggregate supply of ammonia. During the period, U.S. ammonia production declined 44 percent, while U.S. ammonia imports increased 115 percent. Also, the share of U.S.-produced ammonia in the U.S. aggregate supply of ammonia dropped from 80 to 55 percent, while the share from imports increased from 15 percent to 42 percent. Meanwhile, ammonia prices paid by farmers increased from $227 per ton in 2000 to $521 per ton in 2006, an increase of 130 percent. Natural gas is the main input used to produce ammonia. Additional increases in U.S. natural gas prices could lead to a further decline in domestic ammonia production and an even greater rise in ammonia imports.