Sort by: Title | Date
  • Weather Effects on Expected Corn and Soybean Yields

    FDS-13G-01, July 26, 2013

    Weather during the growing season is critical for corn and soybean yields. Models for U.S. corn and soybean yields provide estimates of the effects of weather on yields for those crops.

  • China’s Agricultural Productivity Growth: Strong But Uneven

    Amber Waves, June 03, 2013

    The rapid growth in China’s agricultural productivity over the past few decades may not have been sustained in recent years. Annual total factor productivity growth peaked during 1996-2000 at 5.1 percent before slowing to 3.2 percent in 2000-2005. It then declined by 3.7 percent per year in 2005-07. The significance of this slowdown remains unclear.

  • Research Raises Agricultural Productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa

    Amber Waves, May 06, 2013

    Agricultural research has been a driver of higher productivity in Sub-Saharan African agriculture. But despite making gradual gains since the 1980s, productivity growth in the region remains well below that of other developing countries.

  • Resources, Policies, and Agricultural Productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa

    ERR-145, February 20, 2013

    Is weak agricultural growth in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) due to poor natural resources? This study finds that other factors--economic, technological, and political--underlie agricultural productivity gains experienced by some SSA countries.

  • Rising Concentration in Agricultural Input Industries Influences New Farm Technologies

    Amber Waves, December 03, 2012

    The largest agricultural input firms are responsible for a large and growing share of global agricultural research and development (R&D). See the December issue of ERS’s Amber Waves magazine.

  • New Evidence Points to Robust But Uneven Productivity Growth in Global Agriculture

    Amber Waves, September 20, 2012

    Total factor productivity-–a key measure of agricultural productivity-–is showing rapid growth globally, led by improvement in China and Brazil. See this and other features in the September <i>Amber Waves</i>.

  • Agricultural Resources and Environmental Indicators, 2012

    EIB-98, August 22, 2012

    The 2012 edition provides resource-and environment-related information including farmland area, productivity, irrigation, pesticide use, adoption of genetically engineered crops, fertilizer use, conservation practices, and land retirement.

  • Policy, Technology, and Efficiency of Brazilian Agriculture

    ERR-137, July 09, 2012

    ERS focuses on the effects of Brazil's science and technology investments and other public policies on the country's growth in agricultural production—77 percent between 1985 and 2006—and its emergence as a major agricultural exporter.

  • Private Industry Investing Heavily, and Globally, in Research To Improve Agricultural Productivity

    Amber Waves, June 05, 2012

    Private sector firms becoming leaders in developing new innovations in agriculture.

  • Public Agricultural Research Investment Helps Determine Productivity Growth

    Amber Waves, March 01, 2012

    The main driver of agricultural productivity growth over the last 50 years has been the application of new technologies to farming. Robust productivity growth has allowed U.S. agriculture to hold down the cost and environmental consequences of growing more food and fiber.

  • Research Investments and Market Structure in the Food Processing, Agricultural Input, and Biofuel Industries Worldwide

    ERR-130, December 30, 2011

    ERS quantifies investment trends by for-profit companies in food manufacturing, biofuels, and agricultural input R&D and explores how the trends are affected by changes in industry structure.

  • Research Investments and Market Structure in the Food Processing, Agricultural Input, and Biofuel Industries Worldwide: Executive Summary

    EIB-90, December 30, 2011

    Meeting growing global demand for food, fiber, and biofuel requires robust investment in agricultural research and development (R&D) from both public and private sectors. This report highlights the major findings of a study examining global R&D spending by private industry in seven agricultural input sectors, food manufacturing, and biofuel and describes the changing structure of these industries. For the full report, see Research Investments and Market Structure in the Food Processing, Agricultural Input, and Biofuel Industries Worldwide, ERR-130. In 2007 (the latest year for which comprehensive estimates are available), the private sector spent $19.7 billion on food and agricultural research (56 percent in food manufacturing and 44 percent in agricultural input sectors) and accounted for about half of total public and private spending on food and agricultural R&D in high-income countries. In R&D related to biofuel, annual private-sector investments are estimated to have reached $1.47 billion worldwide by 2009. Incentives to invest in R&D are influenced by market structure and other factors. Agricultural input industries have undergone significant structural change over the past two decades, with industry concentration on the rise. A relatively small number of large, multinational firms with global R&D and marketing networks account for most R&D in each input industry. Rising market concentration has not generally been associated with increased R&D investment as a percentage of industry sales.

  • The Changing Organization of U.S. Farming

    EIB-88, December 02, 2011

    Using survey and census data, ERS examines how changes in farm input use, business arrangements, structure, and production practices since the 1980s combined to expand output without increasing the total use of inputs.

  • On the Doorstep of the Information Age: Recent Adoption of Precision Agriculture

    EIB-80, August 24, 2011

    The adoption of precision agriculture, which encompasses a suite of farm-level information technologies, can improve the efficiency of input use and reduce environmental harm from the overapplication of inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides. Still, the adoption of precision agricultural technologies and practices has been less rapid than envisioned a decade ago. Using Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) data collected over the past 10 years, this report examines trends in the adoption of four key information technologies-yield monitors, variable-rate application technologies, guidance systems, and GPS maps-in the production of major field crops. While yield monitoring is now used on over 40 percent of U.S. grain crop acres, very few producers have adopted GPS maps or variable-rate input application technologies.

  • Public Agriculture Research Spending and Future U.S. Agricultural Productivity Growth: Scenarios for 2010-2050

    EB-17, July 25, 2011

    By 2050, global agricultural demand is projected to grow by 70-100 percent due to population growth, energy demands, and higher incomes in developing countries. Meeting this demand from existing agricultural resources will require raising global agricultural total factor productivity (TFP) by a similar level. The rate of TFP growth of U.S. agriculture has averaged about 1.5 percent annually over the past 50 years, but stagnant (inflation-adjusted) funding for public agricultural research since the 1980s may be causing agricultural TFP growth to slow down. ERS simulations indicate that if U.S. public agricultural R&D spending remains constant (in nominal terms) until 2050, the annual rate of agricultural TFP growth will fall to under 0.75 percent and U.S. agricultural output will increase by only 40 percent by 2050. Under this scenario, raising output beyond this level would require bringing more land, labor, capital, materials, and other resources into production.

  • International Food Security Assessment, 2011-21

    GFA-22, July 15, 2011

    ERS assesses the food security situation in 77 developing countries, including estimates for 2011 and projections for the next decade. The report is the latest in an annual series.

  • Accelerated Productivity Growth Offsets Decline in Resource Expansion in Global Agriculture

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2010

    The rate of growth in global agricultural productivity has accelerated in recent decades and accounts for an increasing share of expanding agricultural production.

  • Is U.S. Agricultural Productivity Growth Slowing?

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2010

    Long-term agricultural productivity is driven by innovations in animal and crop genetics, chemicals, equipment, and farm organization. Public agricultural research funding, which historically has driven innovation, faces budgetary pressure in the U.S., therefore raising concerns about current and future U.S. productivity growth.

  • Indonesian Agricultural Growth Leads to Increased Trade and Food Security

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2010

    Indonesian policy changes in the mid-1980s and mid-1990s provided incentives for agricultural producers to exploit the country’s comparative advantage in perennial crops and led to an increase in agricultural exports and per capita incomes. As a result, food insecurity in Indonesia declined by nearly half from 1981 to 2007.

  • Assessing the Benefits of Public Research Within an Economic Framework: The Case of USDA's Agricultural Research Service

    ERR-95, May 07, 2010

    Evaluation of publicly funded research can help provide accountability and prioritize programs. In addition, Federal intramural research planning generally involves an institutional assessment of the appropriate Federal role, if any, and whether the research should be left to others, such as universities or the private sector. Many methods of evaluation are available, peer review-used primarily for establishing scientific merit-being the most common. Economic analysis focuses on quantifying ultimate research outcomes, whether measured in goods with market prices or in nonmarket goods such as environmental quality or human health. However, standard economic techniques may not be amenable for evaluating some important public research priorities or for institutional assessments. This report reviews quantitative methods and applies qualitative economic reasoning and stakeholder interviewing methods to the evaluation of economic benefits of Federal intramural research using three case studies of research conducted by USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS). Differences among the case studies highlight the need to select suitable assessment techniques from available methodologies, the limited scope for comparing assessment results across programs, and the inherent difficulty in quantifying benefits in some research areas. When measurement and attribution issues make it difficult to quantify these benefits, the report discusses how qualitative insights based on economic concepts can help research prioritization.