Publications

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  • Price Spikes in Global Rice Markets Benefit U.S. Growers, at Least in the Short Term

    Amber Waves, December 01, 2010

    “Thin” markets such as the global rice trade, where only a small share of global production is traded, may exhibit price volatility and large annual variations in trade levels.

  • 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

  • U.S. Food Import Patterns, 1998-2007

    FAU-125, August 06, 2009

    Using import data from the U.S. Census Bureau, this study examines patterns of U.S. food imports for fiscal years 1998-2007. Results indicate faster import growth trends for consumer-ready foods, such as fruit, vegetables, meats, seafood, and processed food products. Although the United States imported most bulk food commodities and perishable consumer-ready products, such as fruit and vegetables, from neighboring countries in the Western Hemisphere, it imported processed foods, spices, and other tropical products from more global sources, with rising import shares for many countries in Asia.

  • Emerging Issues in the U.S. Organic Industry

    EIB-55, June 03, 2009

    Consumer demand for organic products has widened over the last decade. While new producers have emerged to help meet demand, market participants report that a supply squeeze is constraining growth for both individual firms and the organic sector overall. Partly in response to shortages in organic supply, Congress in 2008 included provisions in the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act (2008 Farm Act) that, for the first time, provide financial support to farmers to convert to organic production. This report examines recent economic research on the adoption of organic farming systems, organic production costs and returns, and market conditions to gain a better understanding of the organic supply squeeze and other emerging issues in this rapidly changing industry.

  • Factors Behind the Rise in Global Rice Prices in 2008

    RCS-09D01, May 07, 2009

    Global rice prices rose to record highs in the spring of 2008, with trading prices tripling from November 2007 to late April 2008. The price increase was not due to crop failure or a particularly tight global rice supply situation. Instead, trade restrictions by major suppliers, panic buying by several large importers, a weak dollar, and record oil prices were the immediate cause of the rise in rice prices. Because rice is critical to the diet of about half the world's population, the rapid increase in global rice prices in late 2007 and early 2008 had a detrimental impact on those rice consumers' well-being. Although rice prices have dropped more than 40 percent from their April 2008 highs, they remain well above pre-2007 levels.

  • NAFTA at 15: Building on Free Trade

    WRS-09-03, March 31, 2009

    Implementation of the agricultural provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has drawn to a close. In 2008, the last of NAFTA's transitional restrictions governing U.S.-Mexico and Canada-Mexico agricultural trade were removed, concluding a 14-year project in which the member countries systematically dismantled numerous barriers to regional agricultural trade. During the implementation period, the agricultural sectors of Canada, Mexico, and the United States have become much more integrated. Agricultural trade within the free-trade area has grown dramatically, and Canadian and Mexican industries that rely on U.S. agricultural inputs have expanded. U.S. feedstuffs have facilitated a marked increase in Mexican meat production and consumption, and the importance of Canadian and Mexican produce to U.S. fruit and vegetable consumption is growing.

  • What’s Behind the Surge in Global Rice Prices?

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2008

    U.S. and global rice prices surged to record highs this spring. The rapid price increases were not due to poor harvests, a surge in demand, or a tight global supply situation, but were linked to factors not directly related to rice market fundamentals. The most important factors behind the price surge were export bans, restrictions, and taxes implemented by several major exporting countries in an attempt to assure stable prices for food staples.

  • Global Agricultural Supply and Demand: Factors Contributing to the Recent Increase in Food Commodity Prices

    WRS-0801, July 23, 2008

    World market prices for major food commodities such as grains and vegetable oils have risen sharply to historic highs of more than 60 percent above levels just 2 years ago. Many factors have contributed to the runup in food commodity prices. Some factors reflect trends of slower growth in production and more rapid growth in demand, which have contributed to a tightening of world balances of grains and oilseeds over the last decade. Recent factors that have further tightened world markets include increased global demand for biofuels feedstocks and adverse weather conditions in 2006 and 2007 in some major grain and oilseed producing areas. Other factors that have added to global food commodity price inflation include the declining value of the U.S. dollar, rising energy prices, increasing agricultural costs of production, growing foreign exchange holdings by major food importing countries, and policies adopted recently by some exporting and importing countries to mitigate their own food price inflation.

  • Dietary Assessment of Major Trends in U.S. Food Consumption, 1970-2005

    EIB-33, March 28, 2008

    ERS investigates trends in U.S. food consumption from 1970 to 2005. Results suggest many Americans still fall short of Federal dietary recommendations for whole grains, lower fat dairy products, and fruits and vegetables.

  • The 2002 Farm Bill: Provisions and Economic Implications

    AP-022, January 23, 2008

    The Farm Security Act of 2002, which governs Federal farm programs for 2002-07, was signed into law on May 13, 2002. This publication presents an overview of the Act and a side-by-side comparison of 1996-2001 farm legislation and the 2002 Act. For selected programs, information is provided to additional analyses of key changes, program overview, and economic implications.

  • U.S. Agricultural Trade Update-State Exports

    FAU-123, June 29, 2007

    U.S. agricultural exports reached a record in fiscal 2006 at $68.7 billion, some $6.2 billion higher than the record set in fiscal 2005. California, Iowa, Texas, and Illinois continued their reign as top exporting States, while Minnesota dropped to seventh position behind Nebraska and Kansas. North Carolina joined the top 10, displacing North Dakota at the number nine position. Feed grain exports moved ahead of soybean exports, with Iowa and Illinois dominating in those markets. California continued to dominate vegetables, fruits, tree nuts, seeds, and dairy.

  • Indian Wheat and Rice Sector Policies and the Implications of Reform

    ERR-41, May 03, 2007

    The pronounced market cycles and declines in per capita consumption of India's major food staples, as well as budgetary concerns, are creating pressure for Indian policymakers to adjust longstanding policies.

  • NAFTA at 13: Implementation Nears Completion

    WRS-0701, March 29, 2007

    Implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is drawing to a close. In 2008, the last of NAFTA's transitional restrictions governing U.S.-Mexico and Canada-Mexico agricultural trade will be removed, concluding a 14-year project in which the member countries systematically dismantled numerous barriers to regional agricultural trade. During the implementation period, the agricultural sectors of Canada, Mexico, and the United States have become much more integrated. Agricultural trade within the free-trade area has grown dramatically, and Canadian and Mexican industries that rely on U.S. agricultural inputs have expanded. U.S. feedstuffs have facilitated a marked increase in Mexican meat production and consumption, and the importance of Canadian and Mexican produce to U.S. fruit and vegetable consumption is growing.

  • The Changing Face of the U.S. Grain System

    ERR-35, February 28, 2007

    Specialty grains coming onto the market (e.g., fiber-enriched wheat) are requiring adjustments in the marketing system, including information documentation and management, in order to preserve their added value or prevent accidental commingling with standard grains.

  • Valuing Counter-Cyclical Payments: Implications for Producer Risk Management and Program Administration

    ERR-39, February 22, 2007

    Counter-cyclical payments supplement incomes of eligible producers enrolled in commodity programs. ERS developed a computer program that improved upon USDA's method of estimating payment rates and that producers and forecasters can use.

  • USDA Agricultural Projections to 2016

    OCE-2007-1, February 14, 2007

    This report provides longrun (10-year) projections for the agricultural sector through 2016. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices.

  • Rough Rice Exports Critical to U.S. Rice Producers

    Amber Waves, February 01, 2007

    The U.S. is the fourth largest exporter of rice, but an ever larger share of U.S. rice exports are rough, or unmilled, rice. The main markets are Mexico and Central America, which import rough rice because tariffs are lower than for milled rice. But the U.S. rice sector could be threatened by rising energy costs and reductions of support for U.S. rice producers.

  • Rice Backgrounder

    RCS-200601, December 08, 2006

    U.S. rice farming is a high-cost, large-scale production operation that depends on the global market for about half its annual sales. Government payments per acre are high compared with other program crops, as is the share of the sector's income accounted for by payments. While domestic demand for rice continues to grow, the outlook for rice farm incomes is tempered by higher production costs, modest increases in farm prices, and continued strong competition in many international markets from lower cost Asian exporters.

  • Eliminating Fruit and Vegetable Planting Restrictions: How Would Markets Be Affected?

    ERR-30, November 08, 2006

    Participants in U.S. farm programs are restricted from planting and harvesting wild rice, fruit, and most vegetables (nonprogram crops) on acreage historically used for program crops (known as base acreage). However, a recent World Trade Organization challenge to U.S. programs has created pressure to eliminate planting restrictions. Although eliminating restrictions would not lead to substantial market impacts for most fruit or vegetables, the effects on individual producers could be significant. Some producers who are already producing fruit and vegetables could find that it is no longer profitable, while others could profitably move into producing these crops. Producers with base acreage are the most likely to benefit because they would no longer face payment reductions.

  • Characteristics and Production Costs of U.S. Rice Farms

    SB-974-7, March 31, 2004

    The average cost of producing a hundred pounds (cwt) of rice was $6.00 for U.S. producers surveyed in 2000, ranging from about $2 per cwt to more than $10. Producers in the lowest quartile of production costs averaged $3.99 per cwt compared with $8.94 for producers in the highest quartile. Regional differences in production practices, farm characteristics, and growing conditions were major influences on production costs among rice producers. More than half of the low-cost farms were located in the Arkansas Non-Delta, the largest rice region. Most high-cost farms were in California and the Gulf Coast regions. Three-quarters of rice production was concentrated on large and very large farms, categories that included nearly two-thirds of all rice farms, but the link between size of enterprise and production costs for rice is weaker than for other commodities. At the marketing-year average price of $5.61 per hundredweight, 78 percent of rice farms were able to cover operating costs and 43 percent covered both their operating and ownership costs of rice production in 2000. After accounting for Government payments, nearly all rice farms (97 percent) were able to cover operating costs in 2000, and about 84 percent were able to cover both operating and ownership costs.