Publications

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  • 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.

  • New Traders in Corn, Soybean, and Wheat Futures Markets Scrutinized

    Amber Waves, December 01, 2009

    The growing participation of nontraditional traders in futures markets, such as index funds and swap dealers, has coincided with increasing volatility in commodity markets and a weakening of the usual correlation between futures and cash prices. ERS research, however, finds no link between these trends and the growing presence of nontraditional traders.

  • Feed Outlook: December 2009

    FDS-09K-01, December 14, 2009

    China's corn imports are minimal, even though it is using a growing proportion of its corn to produce starch, ethanol, and other industrial products. The corn-processing industry's growth was encouraged by Chinese government policy, but the industry now has excess capacity. Many of the corn-based industrial products are exported. China's price support for corn during 2008/09 increased raw material costs for the industry and slowed its growth.

  • Factors Influencing ACRE Program Enrollment

    ERR-84, December 29, 2009

    ERS applied requirements of the new Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program to eligible crops from 1996 to 2008 and analyzed whether farmers would have benefited more from ACRE than from the programs available during that time

  • Peanut Outlook: Impacts of the 2008-09 Foodborne Illness Outbreak Linked to Salmonella in Peanuts

    OCS-10A-01, February 01, 2010

    The 2009 foodborne illness outbreak linked to Salmonella in peanut products resulted in one of the largest food safety recalls ever in the United States. The source of the outbreak handled a small share of the U.S. peanut supply, but the scope of the recalls was magnified because the peanut products were used as ingredients in more than 3,900 products. Consumer purchases of peanut-containing products initially slowed during the recalls, but retail purchases soon returned to normal and peanut processing held steady. The recalls do not appear to have had a lasting impact on peanut demand and production.

  • Sugar and Sweeteners Outlook: February 2010

    SSSM-258, February 10, 2010

    In the February 2010 World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE), projected fiscal year (FY) 2010 production for Mexico is reduced 200,000 metric tons, raw value (MTRV) from last month based on weather-reduced sugar yields to date. Exports are reduced by the same amount. Projected FY 2010 U.S. sugar supply is decreased by 85,000 short tons, raw value (STRV) from last month due to lower imports from Mexico, more than offsetting higher sugar production. Imports from Mexico are reduced by 220,000 STRV.

  • Indicators

    Amber Waves, March 01, 2010

    Selected statistics on agriculture and trade, diet and health, natural resources, and rural America.

  • 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.

  • Next-Generation Biofuels: Near-Term Challenges and Implications for Agriculture

    BIO-01-01, May 14, 2010

    This report assesses the short-term outlook for production of next-generation biofuels and the near-term challenges facing the sector. Next-generation U.S. biofuel capacity should reach about 88 million gallons in 2010, thanks in large measure to one plant becoming commercially operational in 2010, using noncellulosic animal fat to produce green diesel. U.S. production capacity for cellulosic biofuels is estimated to be 10 million gallons for 2010, much less than the 100 million gallons originally mandated by the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act. Near-term sector challenges include reducing high capital and production costs, acquiring financial resources for precommercial development, developing new biomass supply arrangements, many of which will be with U.S. farmers, and overcoming the constraints of ethanol's current 10-percent blending limit with gasoline.

  • Indicators

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2010

    Indicators tables from the September 2010 issue of Amber Waves magazine.

  • ACRE Program Payments and Risk Reduction: An Analysis Based on Simulations of Crop Revenue Variability

    ERR-101, September 17, 2010

    ERS analyzes the distribution, by crop and region, of potential farm payments and risk reduction in the revenue-based Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program. The report focuses on corn, soybeans, wheat, and cotton.

  • Canned Fruit and Vegetable Consumption in the United States: An Updated Report to Congress

    AP-050, November 10, 2010

    The Senate Report 111-039 accompanying S. 1406, the 2010 Agriculture Appropriations Bill, requested that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS) prepare and publish a report regarding consumer perceptions of canned fruits and vegetables. In the absence of consumer surveys, the report relies on consumption and spending estimates to reveal attitudes of the U.S. population toward canned produce. This report updates Canned Fruit and Vegetable Consumption in the United States: Report to Congress (October 2008), using more recent data through 2008, where available.

  • The U.S. Produce Industry and Labor: Facing the Future in a Global Economy

    ERR-106, November 12, 2010

    Fruit and vegetable production is a labor-intensive process, and over half of the hired workers employed by growers are believed to be unauthorized immigrants. Reforms to immigration laws, if they reduce the labor supply, may increase the cost of farm labor. The authors of this report assess how particular fruit and vegetable commodities might adjust if labor rates increased.

  • The U.S. and Mexican Dry Bean Sectors

    VGS-341-01, December 01, 2010

    This report examines the significance of dry bean trade to the member countries of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), provides a detailed understanding of supply, demand, and policy in the U.S. and Mexican dry bean sectors, and considers the outlook for these industries.

  • Market Issues and Prospects for U.S. Distillers' Grains Supply, Use, and Price Relationships

    FDS-10K-01, December 09, 2010

    Growth in corn dry-mill ethanol production has surged in the past several years, simultaneously creating a coproduct-distillers' grains (DDGS). Many in the U.S. feed industry were concerned about the size of this new feed source and whether it could be used entirely by the feed industry, but they also worried about the price discovery process for the product. The authors of this report provide a transparent methodology to estimate U.S. supply and consumption of DDGS. Potential domestic and export use of U.S. DDGS exceeds current production and is likely to exceed future production as ethanol production continues to grow. The authors identify the DDGS price discovery process along with the price relationships of distillers' grains, corn, and soybean meal.

  • Peru: An Emerging Exporter of Fruits and Vegetables

    FTS-34501, December 16, 2010

    This report provides an overview of performance, advantages, and challenges of the Peruvian fruits and vegetables export industry. Three commodity case studies-asparagus, processed artichokes, and table grapes-highlight different degrees of competition with U.S. industries and impacts on U.S. growers.

  • Consumer-Level Food Loss Estimates and Their Use in the ERS Loss-Adjusted Food Availability Data

    TB-1927, January 03, 2011

    The Food Availability (per capita) Data System developed by USDA's Economic Research Service tracks annual food and nutrient availability for many commodities. The Food Availability data series in this system overstates actual consumption, so ERS has included an additional series, the Loss-Adjusted Food Availability data, to adjust the Food Availability data for nonedible food parts and food losses, including losses from farm to retail, at retail, and at the consumer level. In this report, we propose new consumer-level loss estimates for "cooking loss and uneaten food" of the edible share to replace those currently used in the Loss-Adjusted Food Availability data and propose their adoption for the entire data span (1970 to the most recent year in the series). The proposed loss percentages are calculated by subtracting food consumption estimates from food purchase or availability estimates for each food. These calculations are adjusted with information from an expert panel experienced in analyzing food consumption data. In general, the proposed food loss estimates for individual foods indicate substantial differences from the currently used estimates. Although some estimates indicate smaller loss percentages than the currently used estimates, many are larger. Overall, if the proposed loss estimates are used in the ERS loss-adjusted series, the average American would consume 17.3 pounds less each year, or 41.9 fewer calories per day, than suggested by the currently used loss estimates.

  • Sugar and Sweeteners Outlook: January 2011

    SSSM-269, January 18, 2011

    In the World Agricultural Demand and Supply Estimates (WASDE) released on January 12, 2011, projected U.S. sugar supply for fiscal year (FY) 2011 is decreased 88,000 short tons, raw value (STRV) from last month. Cane sugar production in Florida is reduced 100,000 STRV to 1.6 million STRV, based on processor forecasts. In mid-December, the Florida sugarcane-producing area experienced a severe freeze. According to processor reports, this freeze resulted in widespread damage to existing sugarcane crops awaiting harvest and recently planted sugarcane meant for harvest next year.

  • Fruit and Vegetable Planting Restrictions: Analyzing the Processing Cucumber Market

    VGS-342-02, February 10, 2011

    This report highlights the anticipated consequences of the 2008 Farm Act's Planting Transferability Pilot Program (PTPP) on processing (pickling) cucumber plantings. PTPP allows program crop growers in seven Upper Midwestern States to reduce base acres and plant select vegetables for processing on those acres without reducing Government payments on their remaining base acres.

  • 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.