Publications

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  • Vegetables and Melons Outlook: August 2011

    VGS-346, August 25, 2011

    The farm value of all mushroom (Agaricus and others) sales during the 2010/11 crop year (July-June) reached a new high of $1 billion, up 8 percent from a year earlier. Partly reflecting modest gains in the economy, mushroom sales volume rose 9 percent to 862 million pounds, the second highest level on record. In line with higher output, per capita disappearance (use) of all mushrooms grew 8 percent to 3.82 pounds in 2010/11.

  • Fruit and Vegetable Planting Restrictions: Analyzing the Processing Cucumber Market

    VGS-342-02, February 10, 2011

    This report highlights the anticipated consequences of the 2008 Farm Act's Planting Transferability Pilot Program (PTPP) on processing (pickling) cucumber plantings. PTPP allows program crop growers in seven Upper Midwestern States to reduce base acres and plant select vegetables for processing on those acres without reducing Government payments on their remaining base acres.

  • Vegetables and Melons Outlook: February 2011

    VGS-342-01, February 03, 2011

    This report presents a financial snapshot of the U.S. vegetable and melon farms by region and farm size over three 3-year periods (1999-2007).

  • Peru: An Emerging Exporter of Fruits and Vegetables

    FTS-34501, December 16, 2010

    This report provides an overview of performance, advantages, and challenges of the Peruvian fruits and vegetables export industry. Three commodity case studies-asparagus, processed artichokes, and table grapes-highlight different degrees of competition with U.S. industries and impacts on U.S. growers.

  • Labor-Intensive U.S. Fruit and Vegetable Industry Competes in a Global Market

    Amber Waves, December 01, 2010

    Reduction in the supply of workers that could make agricultural labor more expensive for the U.S. fruit and vegetable industry may impact industry competitiveness, but the effects would vary by commodity.

  • The U.S. and Mexican Dry Bean Sectors

    VGS-341-01, December 01, 2010

    This report examines the significance of dry bean trade to the member countries of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), provides a detailed understanding of supply, demand, and policy in the U.S. and Mexican dry bean sectors, and considers the outlook for these industries.

  • The U.S. Produce Industry and Labor: Facing the Future in a Global Economy

    ERR-106, November 12, 2010

    Fruit and vegetable production is a labor-intensive process, and over half of the hired workers employed by growers are believed to be unauthorized immigrants. Reforms to immigration laws, if they reduce the labor supply, may increase the cost of farm labor. The authors of this report assess how particular fruit and vegetable commodities might adjust if labor rates increased.

  • Canned Fruit and Vegetable Consumption in the United States: An Updated Report to Congress

    AP-050, November 10, 2010

    The Senate Report 111-039 accompanying S. 1406, the 2010 Agriculture Appropriations Bill, requested that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS) prepare and publish a report regarding consumer perceptions of canned fruits and vegetables. In the absence of consumer surveys, the report relies on consumption and spending estimates to reveal attitudes of the U.S. population toward canned produce. This report updates Canned Fruit and Vegetable Consumption in the United States: Report to Congress (October 2008), using more recent data through 2008, where available.

  • Marketing U.S. Organic Foods: Recent Trends From Farms to Consumers

    EIB-58, September 30, 2009

    Organic foods now occupy prominent shelf space in the produce and dairy aisles of most mainstream U.S. food retailers. The marketing boom has pushed retail sales of organic foods up to $21.1 billion in 2008 from $3.6 billion in 1997. U.S. organic-industry growth is evident in an expanding number of retailers selling a wider variety of foods, the development of private-label product lines by many supermarkets, and the widespread introduction of new products. A broader range of consumers has been buying more varieties of organic food. Organic handlers, who purchase products from farmers and often supply them to retailers, sell more organic products to conventional retailers and club stores than ever before. Only one segment has not kept pace-organic farms have struggled at times to produce sufficient supply to keep up with the rapid growth in demand, leading to periodic shortages of organic products.

  • Vegetables and Melons Outlook: August 2009

    VGS-333-01, August 19, 2009

    Growth over time in the demand for fresh vegetables for at-home consumption may slow because of differences in the behavior of younger and older birth cohorts. A birth cohort includes people born in the same year and is similar in concept to a generation. People born around the same point in history may share common behaviors that they carry throughout their lives independent of age. People born more recently are found to spend less money for fresh vegetables than older Americans do. Changes in how people purchase and consume food may help to explain these effects.

  • Emerging Issues in the U.S. Organic Industry

    EIB-55, June 03, 2009

    Consumer demand for organic products has widened over the last decade. While new producers have emerged to help meet demand, market participants report that a supply squeeze is constraining growth for both individual firms and the organic sector overall. Partly in response to shortages in organic supply, Congress in 2008 included provisions in the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act (2008 Farm Act) that, for the first time, provide financial support to farmers to convert to organic production. This report examines recent economic research on the adoption of organic farming systems, organic production costs and returns, and market conditions to gain a better understanding of the organic supply squeeze and other emerging issues in this rapidly changing industry.

  • NAFTA at 15: Building on Free Trade

    WRS-09-03, March 31, 2009

    Implementation of the agricultural provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has drawn to a close. In 2008, the last of NAFTA's transitional restrictions governing U.S.-Mexico and Canada-Mexico agricultural trade were removed, concluding a 14-year project in which the member countries systematically dismantled numerous barriers to regional agricultural trade. During the implementation period, the agricultural sectors of Canada, Mexico, and the United States have become much more integrated. Agricultural trade within the free-trade area has grown dramatically, and Canadian and Mexican industries that rely on U.S. agricultural inputs have expanded. U.S. feedstuffs have facilitated a marked increase in Mexican meat production and consumption, and the importance of Canadian and Mexican produce to U.S. fruit and vegetable consumption is growing.

  • Supermarket Loss Estimates for Fresh Fruit, Vegetables, Meat, Poultry, and Seafood and Their Use in the ERS Loss-Adjusted Food Availability Data

    EIB-44, March 20, 2009

    Using new national estimates of supermarket food loss, ERS updates each fresh fruit, vegetable, meat, and poultry commodity in its Loss-Adjusted Food Availability data series.

  • Vegetables and Melons Outlook: October 2008

    VGS-329-01, October 27, 2008

    Rapid growth in the organic foods market has placed great pressure on farmers and handlers in the U.S. organic sector. Handlers are firms that produce, process, and distribute organic food. As the middlemen in the supply chain, organic handlers have been unable at times to provide as much of their final product as the market wants and have also found needed ingredients in short supply. A survey of certified organic handlers in the United States reveals that handlers widely use contracts as a means to not only procure needed ingredients but also to develop and maintain strong working relationships with their suppliers. Only a few organic handlers, however, have worked to assist farmers directly with farmers' transition to organic production.

  • Canned Fruit and Vegetable Consumption in the United States: A Report to the United States Congress

    AP-032, September 12, 2008

    In response to Senate Report 110-134, accompanying S. 1859, the 2008 the Agriculture Appropriations Bill, ERS researchers published a report about consumer perceptions and consumption of canned fruits and vegetables using USDA's food consumption survey data, Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Expenditure Survey data, and the ERS Food Availability Data System. If current trends prevail, total fruit and vegetable availability will continue to increase but canned fruits and vegetables will account for a declining share of that total. However, there are several divergent and offsetting forces that make it difficult to predict the future demand for canned produce.

  • Vegetables and Melons Outlook: September 2009

    VGS-328-01, September 09, 2008

    Vegetable and melon production requires a substantial investment in production inputs. Using data from USDA's Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS), this article presents and explores the major expense components of specialized U.S. and regional vegetable and melon farms during 1998-2006. Total cash expenses per acre for specialized U.S. vegetable and melon farms increased 32 percent between 1998-2000 and 2004-06 and were highest in the West and lowest in the Midwest. Labor accounted for 30 percent of U.S. cash expenses, followed by fertilizer and agricultural chemicals at 18 percent.

  • Profile of Hired Farmworkers, A 2008 Update

    ERR-60, July 11, 2008

    ERS examines the size, importance, and composition of the hired farmworker force, updating information published in 2000. These workers make up a third of the farm labor

  • 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.

  • Carrot Consumption Varies With Age, Income, and Race

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2008

    People choose which vegetables to eat based on vegetable prices and individual incomes and preferences, which reflect certain demographic characteristics, such as people’s age, education, race/ethnicity, and where they live. These demographically shaped preferences are noticeable in the consumption patterns for one long-time American favorite—the carrot.

  • Dietary Assessment of Major Trends in U.S. Food Consumption, 1970-2005

    EIB-33, March 28, 2008

    ERS investigates trends in U.S. food consumption from 1970 to 2005. Results suggest many Americans still fall short of Federal dietary recommendations for whole grains, lower fat dairy products, and fruits and vegetables.