Publications

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  • Afghanistan's Wheat Flour Market: Policies and Prospects

    WHS-13I-01, October 23, 2013

    Afghanistan's milling industry has been slow to rebuild, due to highly variable domestic wheat supplies and competition from imported flour, largely from Pakistan where wheat producers and flour millers receive Government support.

  • After Leaving Welfare: Food Stamps or Not?

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2005

    USDA's Food Stamp Program can ease the transition from welfare to independence by supplementing the resources of the working poor. However, many individuals who leave cash welfare drop off the food stamp rolls, even though they appear to be eligible.

  • After a Sharp Rise Between 1990 and 2005, Supercenters’ Share of At-Home-Food Spending Has Leveled Off

    Amber Waves, April 04, 2016

    The relative importance of various outlets comprising the U.S. food retailing sector has shifted during the last 25 years. Supermarkets’ share of total at-home-food expenditures has fallen, while the share for warehouse club stores and supercenters has grown from 2.4 percent in 1990 to 16.8 percent in 2014.

  • Ag Biotech Patents on the Move

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2005

    Although small agbiotech companies and seed companies originated 37 percent of a sample of patents issued between 1976 and 2000, large chemical, multinational, and European companies owned 99 percent of the total by 2002. Mergers and acquisitions will probably continue to affect intellectual property ownership and industry structure.

  • Ag Biotech Patents: Who Is Doing What?

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2003

    To better analyze the economic effects of the upward trend in ag biotech patents, ERS researchers and collaborators have assembled comprehensive data on patents and other intellectual property.

  • Ag Productivity Drives Output Growth

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2005

    Productivity has been the engine of economic growth in U.S. agriculture, averaging 1.8 percent per year from 1949 to 2002. This rate (compounded annually) caused output to grow significantly so that by 2002, output was 2.6 times as high as it was in 1948.

  • Agri-Environmental Policy at the Crossroads: Guideposts on a Changing Landscape

    AER-794, January 25, 2001

    Agri-environmental policy is at a crossroads. Over the past 20 years, a wide range of policies addressing the environmental implications of agricultural production have been implemented at the Federal level. Those policies have played an important role in reducing soil erosion, protecting and restoring wetlands, and creating wildlife habitat. However, emerging agri-environmental issues, evolution of farm income support policies, and limits imposed by trade agreements may point toward a rethinking of agri-environmental policy. This report identifies the types of policy tools available and the design features that have improved the effectiveness of current programs. It provides an indepth analysis of one policy tool that may be an important component of a future policy package-agri-environmental payments. The analysis focuses on issues and tradeoffs that policymakers would face in designing a program of agri-environmental payments.

  • Agricultural Adaptation to Climate Change: Issues of Longrun Sustainability

    AER-740, June 01, 1996

    Early evaluations of the effects of climate change on agriculture, which did not account for economic adjustments or consider the broader economic and environmental implications of such changes, overestimated the negative effects of climate change. This report, which highlights ERS research, focuses on economic adaptation and concludes there is considerably more sectoral flexibility and adaptability than found in other analyses. The report frames the discussion of economic adjustments within the context of global agricultural environmental sustainability.

  • Agricultural Adaptation to a Changing Climate: Economic and Environmental Implications Vary by U.S. Region

    ERR-136, July 06, 2012

    ERS models the farm sector's ability to adapt to a changing climate with current practices and technology, and explores economic and environmental implications of adaptation under a range of climate change scenarios.

  • Agricultural Baseline Projections to 2005, Reflecting the 1996 Farm Act

    WAOB-971, April 23, 1997

    This report provides long-run baseline projections for the agricultural sector through 2005 that incorporate provisions of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (1996 Farm Act). The baseline assumes that the new farm legislation remains in effect through 2005. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices. Generally favorable global economic growth is projected in the baseline which, combined with liberalized trade associated with both the GATT agreement and unilateral policy reforms, supports strong growth in global trade and U.S. agricultural exports. Greater market orientation in the domestic agricultural sector under the 1996 Farm Act puts U.S. farmers in a favorable position for competing in the global marketplace. A tightening of the balance between productive capacity and demands results in rising nominal market prices, increasing farm income, and stability in the financial condition of the agricultural sector. However, management of risk will be important for farmers. With the reduced role of the Government in the sector under the 1996 Farm Act, farmers in general face greater risk of income volatility due to price variation, reflecting market price variability more directly. Consumer food prices are projected to continue a long term trend of rising less than the general inflation rate. The baseline projections presented are one representative scenario for the agricultural sector through the middle of the next decade, assuming no shocks and based on specific assumptions regarding macroeconomic conditions, policy, weather, and international developments. As such, the baseline provides a point of departure for discussion of alternative farm sector outcomes that could result under different assumptions. The projections in this report were prepared in October through December 1996, reflecting a composite of model results and judgmental analysis.

  • Agricultural Biotechnology: An Economic Perspective

    AER-687, May 01, 1994

    The development of agricultural biotechnology offers the opportunity to increase crop production, lower farming costs, improve food quality and safety, and enhance environmental quality. This report describes the economic, scientific, and social factors that will influence the future of biotechnology in agriculture. The supply of biotechnology innovations and products will be affected by public policies and by expectations of producer and consumer demand for the products. The demand for biotechnology by farmers and food processors is derived from the expected profitability of using the technology as an input to production. Ultimately, the use of biotechnology in the farm sector will depend on consumer demand for the biotechnology-derived agricultural product.

  • Agricultural Commodity Price Spikes in the 1970s and 1990s: Valuable Lessons for Today

    Amber Waves, March 01, 2009

    The rapid increase in crop prices between 2006 and mid-2008, while unprecedented in magnitude, was not unique. Two other periods of major rapid runups in prices occurred in 1971-74 and 1994-96. Each price surge resulted from a combination of factors, including depreciation of the U.S. dollar, strong worldwide demand for agricultural products, supply shocks, and policy responses by major trading countries. In the past, market adjustments eventually brought prices back down. Similarly, the high prices seen in 2008 have dropped to lower levels; however, these adjustments are occurring in a more volatile environment.

  • Agricultural Contracting Update, 2005

    EIB-35, April 01, 2008

    Over half of all transactions for U.S. farm products involved commodities bought and sold in open markets. But formal contractual arrangements cover a growing share of production.

  • Agricultural Contracting Update: Contracts in 2003

    EIB-9, January 04, 2006

    Marketing and production contracts covered 39 percent of the value of U.S. agricultural production in 2003, up from 36 percent in 2001 and a substantial increase over estimated values of 28 percent for 1991 and 11 percent in 1969. Large farms are far more likely to contract than small farms; in fact, contracts cover over half of the value of production from farms with at least $1 million in sales. Although use of both production and marketing contracts has grown over time, growth is more rapid for production contracts, which are largely used for livestock.

  • Agricultural Contracting Update: Contracts in 2008

    EIB-72, February 14, 2011

    ERS examines the effects of current Federal tax provisions regarding low- and moderate-income households in rural America, focusing on the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC).

  • Agricultural Contracting: Trading Autonomy for Risk Reduction

    Amber Waves, February 01, 2006

    Farm production is shifting from smaller to larger family farms and from spot (or cash) markets to contracts. Technological developments may underlie much of the shift to larger farms, but expanded use of production and marketing contracts supports that shift by reducing financial risks for farm operators. For farm operators, contracts provide benefits from reduced risks, but also result in loss of managerial control and reduced autonomy.

  • Agricultural Energy Use and the Proposed Clean Power Plan

    Amber Waves, September 08, 2014

    The EPA’s Clean Power Plan aims to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants, the largest source of carbon pollution in the United States, by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. To better understand how the agricultural sector might be affected, its current direct use of electric power, as well as the sector’s direct and indirect use of natural gas—is examined.

  • Agricultural Export Programs: Background for 1990 Farm Legislation

    AGES-9033, May 01, 1990

    Lawmakers authorized several new export programs under the Food Security Act of 1985 in an attempt to increase agricultural exports. U.S. agricultural exports began to recover in fiscal 1987 and, in fiscal 1989, climbed to $39.6 billion, their highest level since 1981. Since 1986, U.S. agricultural export programs, a depreciating dollar, lower domestic commodity prices relative to world prices, and increased demand from importers have contributed to improved agricultural export sales. However, competition for world agricultural markets also has increased. Export programs help U.S. exporters meet subsidized competition, provide humanitarian relief, assist credit-seeking importers, and may help develop new overseas markets for U.S. agricultural products. Issues which could affect export programs in 1990 legislation include tightened U.S. and global grain stocks, potential budget exposure for increased loan guarantees, and the outcome of trade negotiations under the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

  • Agricultural Export Programs: Background for 1995 Farm Legislation

    AER-716, June 01, 1995

    Since 1985, the United States has heavily supported agricultural exports with an array of programs. A central issue related to those programs is how best to support farm exports, and farm income, with lower price subsidies under the Uruguay Round Agreement of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and with U.S. budget constraints.

  • Agricultural Exports From Grain and Soybean Producing States Rose in Fiscal 2002

    FAU-78-01, June 30, 2003

    Fiscal 2002 U.S. agricultural exports rose slightly from 2001. Most of the gain occurred in soybeans, feed grains, and wheat, as prices of those commodities increased. As a result, soybean and feed grain or wheat exporting States, such as Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, and Indiana, increased exports in 2002. North Dakota particularly benefited from increased wheat exports. California, which produces and exports primarily fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, and other agricultural products had slightly reduced exports in 2002, even though it remained by far the largest agricultural exporting State.