Publications

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  • Farm Payments: Decoupled Payments Increase Households' Well-Being, Not Production

    Amber Waves, February 03, 2003

    Although decoupled payments do not distort price incentives for producers, they can still alter production decisions because payments increase farm operators' income, and the expectation of fixed, future payments increases their wealth. Increased income and wealth from decoupled payments, as from any other source of income, has lasting effects on households' decisions about how much to spend, save, and work.

  • Farm Poverty Lowest in U.S. History

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2005

    Fifty years ago, half of all U.S. farm families were poor. Today, however, farm poverty is at its lowest level in the Nation's history due to the availability of remunerative off-farm employment coupled with onfarm gains in labor productivity.

  • Farm Size and the Organization of U.S. Crop Farming

    ERR-152, August 05, 2013

    Crop production and land have shifted to larger operations. ERS details the changes by region and commodity sector, and evaluates driving factors such as technologies, business organization and finances, land attributes, and policy.

  • Farmland Owners Designate Base Acres to Maximize Payments

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2005

    The 2002 Farm Act provided farmland owners the opportunity to designate commodity program base acres and payment yields, program parameters that are used to determine direct and countercyclical payments. Farmland owners generally chose the alternative that provided the highest direct and countercyclical payments, a distinctly different economic decision than that underlying year-to-year planting decisions.

  • Federal Crop Insurance Is Associated With Higher Levels of Short-Term Farm Debt

    Amber Waves, October 05, 2015

    Federal crop insurance (FCI) has become a key component of U.S. farm policy. FCI provides farmers with subsidized insurance against unanticipated declines in market prices or yields. U.S. farm businesses that use FCI use more short-term debt (or operating loans) than farms without insurance, and this pattern holds even after accounting for other farm characteristics.

  • Federal Crop Insurance Options for Upland Cotton Farmers and Their Revenue Effects

    ERR-218, October 27, 2016

    ERS explains the mechanics of two “shallow loss” insurance options offered to upland cotton producers under the 2014 Farm Act, provides estimates of their potential for reducing producers’ revenue risk, and examines enrollment levels.

  • Feed Outlook: June 2015

    FDS-15F, June 12, 2015

    The June 2015 Feed Outlook report contains projections for the 2015/16 and 2014/15 U.S. and global feed markets based on the most current World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.

  • Few Farms Participate in the Vegetable Planting Pilot Program

    Amber Waves, March 14, 2011

    ERS estimates that 10,000 acres were planted under PTPP in 2009--about 14 percent of the total allowable acres by statute and 2 percent of total processing vegetable acreage in the seven States participating in the program.

  • Fruit and Tree Nut Outlook: March 2013

    FTS-355, March 29, 2013

    Total U.S. citrus production reduced in 2012/13 due to warm, dry winter. Forecast production at 11.4 million tons. The domestic all-orange crop is forecast 4 percent less than previous season at 8.7 million tons.

  • Gathering Experimental Evidence To Improve the Design of Agricultural Programs

    Amber Waves, August 17, 2017

    Policymakers considering new programs, or novel ways of delivering program services, often have limited information on how actual or potential participants will react to the changes. Economic experiments can offer evidence to help inform these design decisions, and may lead to improvements in existing programs or policies that benefit farmers and others.

  • Government Commodity Payments Continue To Shift to Larger Farms, Higher Income Households

    Amber Waves, March 01, 2012

    As agricultural production has shifted to farms with larger sales, so, too, has the distribution of commodity-related program payments. Unless the design of commodity programs changes substantially, current payment trends are likely to continue.

  • Greening Income Support and Supporting Green

    EB-1, March 14, 2006

    A multitude of design decisions influence the performance of voluntary conservation programs. This Economic Brief is one of a set of five exploring the implications of decisions policymakers and program managers must make about who is eligible to receive payments, how much can be received, for what action, and the means by which applicants are selected. In particular, this Brief focuses on potential tradeoffs in combining income support and environmental objectives in a single program.

  • Growth of U.S. Dairy Exports

    LDPM-270-01, November 29, 2016

    The United States, as a top producer and exporter of dairy products, has a pivotal role to play, but will have to compete with large dairy exporters such as New Zealand, the EU, and Australia to increase export market share in the future.

  • Historical Analysis of MPP-Dairy Suggests Limited Impact on Average Margins but Considerable Potential for Risk Reduction

    Amber Waves, February 06, 2017

    The 2014 Farm Act implemented a change in U.S. dairy policy by establishing the Margin Protection Program for Dairy Producers. Researchers evaluated the impacts of the program on dairy producers across 13 regions by comparing actual margins and risk levels during 2002-13 with what producers would have experienced had the program been in existence over the same period.

  • How Do Decoupled Payments Affect Resource Allocations Within the Farm Sector?

    Amber Waves, May 01, 2007

    Most industrialized nations subsidize producers of certain farm commodities with payments linked to commodity prices and production levels. In the U.S., interest in market liberalization and obligations under multilateral trade agreements have prompted policymakers to design and implement less distorting government commodity programs. One step in that direction is to use "decoupled" payments to directly change the income and wealth of farm households without distorting relative commodity prices. Recent analyses indicate how land tenure arrangements influence the amount farm households receive from decoupled payments, and how decoupled payments influence markets for agricultural capital and labor.

  • How Do Time and Money Affect Agricultural Insurance Uptake? A New Approach to Farm Risk Management Analysis

    ERR-212, August 01, 2016

    Over multiple years, demand for crop insurance is driven more by farmers' financial wealth than attitude toward risk, as wealthier farmers self-insure with savings while limited-resource farmers may use additional savings to buy insurance.

  • Identifying Federal Farm Programs’ Potential Overlaps

    Amber Waves, March 01, 2012

    Because farm program designs and purposes vary, producers may participate in, and receive benefits from, multiple programs on the same farm, increasing the potential for overlap.

  • Identifying Overlap in the Farm Safety Net

    EIB-87, November 22, 2011

    ERS offers a conceptual framework for identifying overlap in farm safety net programs, including how to define and measure overlap. The study also suggests a direction for further analysis.

  • In the Long Run: Despite Legislative Changes, Peanut Availability Remains Within Historical Range

    Amber Waves, December 01, 2009

    The 2002 Farm Act removed longstanding regulatory quotas on peanuts that limited supplies by issuing annual marketing rights to farmers. Following the policy change, the availability of peanuts grew over the next several years but remained below the historical high of 1989.

  • Indian Sugar Sector Cycles Down, Poised To Rebound

    SSSM-260-01, April 22, 2010

    This report describes and analyses the current situation and outlook for supply, demand, and trade of sugar by India, the world's second largest sugar producer. A decline in sugar production has shifted India from net exporter to net importer during 2009/10, contributing to a runup in global sugar prices. A key finding is that the production decline is primarily due to a policy-induced cycle that is becoming increasingly pronounced. While output is poised to rebound in 2010/11, moderating future cyclical swings in output and trade may hinge on the success of a dialogue on policy reform between the government and the sugar industry.