Publications

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  • Integrating Commodity and Conservation Programs: Design Options and Outcomes

    ERR-44, October 30, 2007

    Could a single program support farm income and encourage environmentally sound farm practices? ERS looks at some hypothetical program scenarios.

  • Integrating Conservation and Commodity Program Payments: A Look at the Tradeoffs

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2007

    A payment program that integrates characteristics of conservation and commodity programs could simultaneously support working farms and ranches while improving environmental quality, with some tradeoffs. If policymakers structure payments to focus on environmental gain, income support benefits would be more broadly distributed across the U.S. agricultural sector. If policymakers seek to preserve the existing distribution of commodity program payments within an integrated program, environmental gain would be lower and its associated per-unit costs higher than under a similar program focused on conservation.

  • Land Retirement Programs May Induce Enduring Land-Use Changes

    Amber Waves, February 01, 2008

    Temporary cropland retirement payments under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) generate land-use changes that often continue after the payments stop.

  • Limited Base Acre Provision in the 2008 Farm Act Yields Small Budgetary Savings

    Amber Waves, March 01, 2012

    The base 10 provision of the 2008 Farm Act prohibits farms with 10 or fewer base acres from receiving direct and countercyclical payments (DCP) or ACRE program payments. In 2009, payments prohibited under the provision totaled $29.1 million, compared with over $5 billion total DCP and ACRE payments.

  • Livestock Forage Disaster Program Payments Increase in 2014

    Amber Waves, February 02, 2015

    ERS’s current farm income forecast for 2014 includes $4.3 billion in Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) payments, an almost 700 percent increase from total LFP payments made during the previous 5 years combined. LFP, which is accounted for in farm income accounting under “ad hoc and disaster assistance payments,” is expected to be over 40 percent of total direct payments.

  • Livestock Gross Margin-Dairy Insurance: An Assessment of Risk Management and Potential Supply Impacts

    ERR-163, March 03, 2014

    Researchers from University of Kentucky and ERS find use of USDA's LGM-Dairy insurance reduces producers' risk but has little effect on the size of the average margin and only a modest potential to induce greater milk supplies.

  • Livestock Gross Margin-Dairy—an Effective Risk Management Tool?

    Amber Waves, March 04, 2014

    Traditional dairy policies focused largely on protecting producers from downward price fluctuations, rather than a narrowing between prices and input costs, or margins. Recent research on an existing USDA Risk Management Agency insurance program known as Livestock Gross Margin-Dairy indicates that the program is effective in reducing risks faced by milk producers.

  • Major Factors Affecting Global Soybean and Products Trade Projections

    Amber Waves, May 02, 2016

    Global soybean and products trade is projected to rise rapidly over the next 10 years according to <em>USDA Agricultural Projections to 2025</em>. The primary factors driving this increase include population and income growth, which are behind the rising world demand for livestock products, as well as policies implemented by major agricultural importers and exporters.

  • Managing Agricultural Risk Under Different Scenarios: Selected 2014 Farm Act Programs

    Amber Waves, February 06, 2017

    The 2014 Farm Act introduced several new programs for crop and livestock producers. A recent ERS study analyzed how these programs provide options for risk management under different scenarios.

  • Managing Risk With Revenue Insurance

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2006

    This Amber Waves article analyzes how crop revenue insurance offers farmers a way to manage revenue variability that results from yield and price risks. Revenue insurance has become a major part of the subsidized Federal crop insurance program but there are difficulties in using single-commodity and whole-farm revenue insurance as a farm income policy tools.

  • Managing Risk With Revenue Insurance

    Amber Waves, May 01, 2007

    This Amber Waves article analyzes how crop revenue insurance offers farmers a way to manage revenue variability that results from yield and price risks. Revenue insurance has become a major part of the subsidized Federal crop insurance program but there are difficulties in using single-commodity and whole-farm revenue insurance as a farm income policy tools.

  • Mandatory Price Reporting, Market Efficiency, and Price Discovery in Livestock Markets

    LDPM-254-01, September 03, 2015

    ERS found that the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act, up for renewal in 2015, has improved the markets' overall speed in absorbing new information and that it generally benefits livestock feeders, meatpackers, and-ultimately-consumers.

  • Market-Oriented Agriculture: The Declining Role of Government Commodity Programs in Agricultural Production Decisions

    AER-671, June 01, 1993

    The portion of U.S. agricultural production covered by government income support payments has declined over the span of the last two 5-year farm acts. Consequently, nongovernmental supply and demand factors (market forces) are becoming more important in influencing farmers' production decisions. This report illustrates how agricultural supply has moved toward greater reliance on market forces (market orientation) by examining the declining role of government commodity programs in production decisions for corn, wheat, rice, and upland cotton. Payment coverage ratios, which measure the percentage of expected production covered by deficiency payments (income support payments made by the Federal Government to producers of certain agricultural commodities), have decreased. Thus, the role of government commodity programs in influencing farmers' production decisions at both the individual farm and national (aggregate) levels has declined. As a result, the share of US. cropland on which planting decisions are made based on market signals has increased, a trend toward market orientation that began with the 1985 farm act and continued with 1990 farm legislation.

  • Measuring the Indirect Land-Use Change Associated With Increased Biofuel Feedstock Production: A Review of Modeling Efforts: Report to Congress

    AP-054, February 10, 2011

    The House Report 111-181 accompanying H.R. 2997, the 2010 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, requested the USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) in conjunction with the Office of the Chief Economist, to conduct a study of land-use changes for renewable fuels and feedstocks used to produce them. This report summarizes the current state of knowledge of the drivers of land-use change and describes the analytic methods used to estimate the impact of biofuel feedstock production on land use. The models used to assess policy impacts have incorporated some of the major uncertainties inherent in making projections of future conditions, but some uncertainties will continue exist. The larger the impact of domestic biofuels feedstock production on commodity prices and the availability of exports, the larger the international land-use effects of likely to be. The amount of pressure placed on land internationally will depend in part on how much of the land needed for biofuel production is met through an expansion of agricultural land in the United States. If crop yield per acre increases through more intensive management or new crop varieties, then less land is needed to grow a particular amount of that crop.

  • Oats: Background for 1990 Farm Legislation

    AGES-8946, September 01, 1989

    This report address considerations in the 1990 farm bill debate for oats, including market conditions, policy proposals, trade agreements, and the interactions between policy and markets for selected commodities. Oats acreage has trended downward since the 1950s. Domestic production has not met domestic needs, thereby spurring imports. Production has declined due, in part, to current Government programs. Oats have rapidly become a specialty feed mostly for race and pleasure horses. Human food consumption of oats, once a stable component of disappearance, has begun to grow. Exports have become very small. Price support loans have been available to oats producers since 1945. However, deficiency and diversion payments were not made to them until 1983. Program costs in fiscal year 1989 are estimated at $40 million, about 5 percent of the 1988 crop value.

  • Oil Crops Outlook: April 2013

    OCS-13D, April 12, 2013

    Prices ease after USDA reports larger than expected soybean stocks.

  • Oil Crops Outlook: August 2012

    OCS-12H, August 13, 2012

    ERS -- working closely with the World Agricultural Outlook Board, the Foreign Agricultural Service, and other USDA agencies -- conducts market analysis and provides short- and long-term projections of U.S. and world agricultural production, consumption, and trade

  • Oil Crops Outlook: December 2012

    OCS-12L, December 12, 2012

    ERS -- working closely with the World Agricultural Outlook Board, the Foreign Agricultural Service, and other USDA agencies -- conducts market analysis and provides short- and long-term projections of U.S. and world agricultural production, consumption, and trade.

  • Oil Crops Outlook: February 2013

    OCS-13B, February 12, 2013

    Each month,the Oil Crops Outlook analyzes the major changes and events in the world market for oilseeds and oilseed products.

  • Oil Crops Outlook: January 2013

    OCS-13A, January 15, 2013

    Each month, the Oil Crops Outlook analyzes the major changes and events in the world market for oilseeds and oilseed products.