Publications

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  • Agricultural Trade Preferences and the Developing Countries

    ERR-6, May 20, 2005

    Nonreciprocal trade preference programs originated in the 1970s as an effort by high-income developed countries to provide tariff concessions for low-income countries. This study analyzes detailed trade and tariff data for the United States and the European Union (the two largest nonreciprocal preference donors) to determine the extent to which the programs have increased exports from beneficiary countries. The analysis finds that the programs offer significant benefits for some countries, mostly the higher income developing countries. Economic benefits in the least developed countries have been modest.

  • Agricultural-Food Policy Review: Commodity Program Perspectives

    AER-530, July 01, 1985

    This review prepared for 1985 farm legislation provides an historical overview of U.S. farm policies, an evaluation of the performance of current commodity programs, a description of the general economic setting in which the legislation will operate, and a discussion of possible alternative policy tools and concepts. Particular focus is given to the purpose of commodity programs and an economic assessment of their performance.

  • Agriculture Dominates Freshwater Use in the U.S.

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2006

    Agriculture accounts for over 80 percent of the Nation's consumptive water use on the 20 percent of cropland that is irrigated. Almost all agricultural water withdrawals are for irrigation and 85 percent of these withdrawals occur in the Western States. There are environmental impacts of water use in all sectors, with the consequences depending on water source, natural supplies, and competing uses.

  • Agriculture Economy Improves in 2003

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2003

    The financial condition of U.S. farmers and other agricultural stakeholders is expected to improve in 2003. Net farm income, a measure of the sector's profitability, is forecast to be up $17 billion (49 percent) from the $35.6 billion earned in 2002 and about 10 percent above the 10-year average.

  • Agriculture Risk Coverage Program Proves More Popular Than the Supplemental Coverage Option

    Amber Waves, January 12, 2016

    The 2014 Farm Act provides eligible farmers new commodity support programs, including Agricultural Risk Coverage, Supplemental Coverage Option, and Price Loss Coverage. Findings reveal how various combinations of the programs affect producer revenues, producer well-being, and expected program costs.

  • Agriculture and European Union Enlargement

    TB-1865, February 01, 1998

    This report documents the modeling framework (European Simulation Model, ESIM) used to analyze the 1992 CAP reform and discusses possible effects of EU enlargement. Potential accession of a number of eastern and central European countries into the European Union (EU) seems destined to lead to further reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The financial costs of absorbing these countries may be extreme.

  • Agriculture and Rural Communities Are Resilient to High Energy Costs

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2006

    Higher energy costs have led agricultural producers to substitute more expensive fuels with less expensive fuels, shift to less energy-intensive crops, and employ energy-conserving production practices where possible. Energy price increases will have the biggest impact on farmers where energy represents a significant share of operating costs. Rural communities face somewhat different issues with increases in petroleum and natural gas costs. As the cost of producing goods and services rises, so will household costs for transportation and home heating. Because of higher transportation expenses, rural communities may see changes in settlement patterns, especially in more remote rural areas.

  • Agriculture and Water Quality Trading: Exploring the Possibilities

    Amber Waves, March 01, 2009

    Water quality trading is a market-based approach intended to reduce pollution at a lower cost than through traditional regulatory action. The Environmental Protection Agency and USDA are actively promoting water quality trading programs in watersheds impaired by pollutants, such as nutrients, produced by both regulated and unregulated sources, such as agriculture. Polluted runoff from agricultural fields is not regulated under the Clean Water Act, and greater use of trading might increase the number of farms willing and able to change their farming practices to reduce nutrient runoff.

  • Agriculture in Brazil and Argentina: Developments and Prospects for Major Field Crops

    WRS-013, December 28, 2001

    This report identifies key factors underlying the agricultural productivity growth and enhanced international competitiveness of Brazil and Argentina in the past decade. Economic and policy reforms, infrastructure development, and enhanced use of agricultural inputs that drove output growth during the 1990s are discussed. This report also compares Brazilian, Argentine, and U.S. soybean production costs and evaluates the combined impact of production, marketing, and transportation costs on the overall export competitiveness of each country's soybean producers. Finally, the outlook for continued growth in output and exports of key commodities is assessed.

  • Agriculture in the Trans-Pacific Partnership

    ERR-176, October 28, 2014

    The proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership is expected to increase the value of intraregional agricultural trade by about 6 percent in 2025, and increase U.S. agricultural exports to the region by 5 percent, compared with the baseline.

  • Agriculture in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: Tariffs, Tariff-Rate Quotas, and Non-Tariff Measures

    ERR-198, November 10, 2015

    Model results under three possible scenarios suggest the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the United States and the European Union could lead to higher ag exports for both, particularly for the United States.

  • Agriculture in the WTO International Agriculture and Trade Report

    WRS-98-4, December 01, 1998

    The Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations continued the process of reducing trade barriers achieved in seven previous rounds of negotiations. Among the Uruguay Round's most significant accomplishments were the adoption of new rules governing agricultural trade policy, the establishment of disciplines on the use of sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures, and agreement on a new process for settling trade disputes. The latest round also created the World Trade Organization (WTO) to replace the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) as an institutional framework for overseeing trade negotiations and adjudicating trade disputes. Agricultural trade concerns that have come to the fore since the Uruguay Round, including the use of genetically engineered products in agricultural trade, state trading, and a large number of potential new members, illustrate the wide range of issues a new round may face.

  • Agriculture's Supply and Demand for Energy and Energy Products

    EIB-112, May 13, 2013

    Farmers have adapted to rising energy prices and evolving policies by adjusting their use of energy-based agricultural inputs, altering energy-intensive production practices, and growing more energy-feedstock crops.

  • Agritourism Farms Are More Diverse Than Other U.S. Farms

    Amber Waves, October 06, 2014

    Agritourism involves attracting paying visitors to farms by offering farm tours, harvest festivals, hospitality services (such as bed and breakfast), petting zoos, and other attractions. Farms that provide agritourism services also typically produce agricultural commodities and may provide a variety of other goods and services.

  • Agritourism Offers Opportunities For Farm Operators

    Amber Waves, February 01, 2008

    Farm-based recreation provides an important niche market for farmers, but limited empirical information is available on the topic. A recent ERS study found that both farm-based and place-based factors are associated with farm-to-farm variation in agritourism, as well as the amount of income farmers earn from operating a farm-based recreation business.

  • Aiming for Targets, Saving on Arrows: Recent Insights from Two USDA Food Assistance Programs

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2003

    In USDA's food assistance programs, taxpayer dollars are the inputs. The outputs are the programs' goals: to provide needy persons with access to a more nutritious diet, to improve the eating habits of the Nation's children, and to help America' farmers by providing an outlet for the distribution of food purchased under farmer assistance authorities. Both farmers and USDA strive to operate efficiently.

  • Alleviating Poverty in the United States: The Critical Role of SNAP Benefits

    ERR-132, April 09, 2012

    ERS calculated the anti-poverty effects of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP - formerly called Food Stamps) using three measures: prevalence, depth, and severity of poverty. Get Report Summary and blog posting

  • Almonds Lead Increase in Tree Nut Consumption

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2008

    Americans increased their consumption of tree nuts by 45 percent between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s. During 2001-2006, nut availability was sufficient to provide each American with an average of 1 pound of almonds per year, 1 pound of "other nuts," a half pound each of walnuts and pecans, a third pound of hazelnuts, and a fifth pound of pistachios.

  • Alternative Beef Production Systems: Issues and Implications

    LDPM-21801, April 04, 2013

    U.S. beef markets are undergoing rapid change as alternative production systems evolve in response to consumer demands and compete with conventional grain-fed beef production.

  • Alternative Policies To Promote Anaerobic Digesters Produce Positive Net Benefits

    Amber Waves, December 03, 2012

    Rising fuel prices and the public’s desire for new sources of renewable energy and reduced carbon emissions have led to government policies that support the adoption of anaerobic digesters by livestock producers. ERS research finds that the design of such policies can affect farmer adoption rates of digesters, farm incomes, and environmental benefits from use of the technology.