Publications

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  • Sugar and Sweeteners Outlook: October 2009

    SSS-256, October 05, 2009

    The Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, as amended by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, requires that sugar marketing allotments be in effect in fiscal year (FY) 2010. The act requires that the Overall Allotment Quantity (OAQ) be set at no less than 85 percent of the estimated quantity of sugar for domestic consumption. On September 25, the Secretary of Agriculture announced that the FY 2010 OAQ is set at 9,235,250 short tons, raw value (STRV). This amount is above the minimum 85 percent level of the estimated sugar for domestic consumption.

    The report includes the special article "Tight Supplies Expected To Sustain High U.S. Sugar Prices into 2009/10."

    Listen to a podcast based on this article.

  • Beginning Farmers and Ranchers

    EIB-53, May 15, 2009

    Beginning farmers and ranchers accounted for 10 percent of the sector's total value of production in 2007. ERS provides an overview of their characteristics and the farm businesses they operate.

  • Conservation Reserve Program Acreage To Decline; Will Benefits Also Fall?

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2008

    The Conservation Reserve Program-the long-time centerpiece of U.S. agricultural conservation policy-is shrinking. The acreage cap will fall to 32 million acres beginning in October, 2009, and program acreage could fall farther without new enrollments. As CRP acreage declines, will environmental benefits decline at the same rate?

  • Effects of Marketing Loans on U.S. Dry Peas and Lentils: Supply Response and World Trade

    ERR-58, May 30, 2008

    Acreage for dry peas and lentils has increased since passage of the 2002 Farm Act. ERS examines the role of the Act's marketing loans in the increase, and the trade impacts.

  • Sugar and Sweetners Outlook: May 2008

    SSSM-252, May 27, 2008

    At the end of March 2008, the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) projected sugar beet acreage intentions for the 2008 crop year at 1.132 million acres, about 10.9 percent lower than 2007 crop year area planted. Assuming normal sucrose levels and continued improvement in productivity, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) projects fiscal year (FY) 2009 national beet sugar production at 4.400 million short tons, raw value (STRV), about 410,000 STRV less than the projection for FY 2008 (4.810 million STRV).

  • 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.

  • Sugar and Sweeteners Outlook: January 2008

    SSSM-251, January 29, 2008

    USDA requires accurate, unbiased sugar production forecasts for making the Department's monthly market forecast used to mange the domestic sugar program. Sugar production forecasts from sugar beet and sugarcane processors are compiled by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) for publication in the World Agricultural Outlook Board's World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) for sugar.

  • Commodity Payments, Farm Business Survival, and Farm Size Growth

    ERR-51, November 27, 2007

    ERS compared consumption of refined and whole grains with recommendations of the 2005 Dietary Guidelines, considering the consumers' social, economic, and demographic characteristics.

  • 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.

  • Cropland Concentrating Faster Where Payments Are Higher

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2007

    Both crop production and government commodity payments have become more concentrated on larger farms, raising questions about the role of payments in changes in concentration growth. Concentration of cropland since 1987 grew much more rapidly in areas with relatively high initial payments per acre. While causality is not established, the evidence uncovers a strong and pervasive link between high payment levels and subsequent farm size growth.

  • 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.

  • Profits, Costs, and the Changing Structure of Dairy Farming

    ERR-47, September 04, 2007

    ERS examines economic factors in the dramatic decline in the number of dairy farms over the past 15 years and the increasing concentration in the industry.

  • Sugar Backgrounder

    SSSM-249-01, July 17, 2007

    This report on the U.S. sugar sector places into context the challenges facing sugar producers, users, and policymakers in the United States, including description and analysis of farm-level production of U.S. sugar crops, cane and beet sugar processing and refining industries, imports and exports of sugar, sugar consumption, and U.S. sugar policy issues likely to be important in the 2007 Farm Bill.

  • Sugar and Sweeteners Outlook: June 2007

    SSSM-249, June 04, 2007

    Rising ethanol demand in global markets is driving the growth of Brazil's sugar/ethanol complex with new investments in infrastructure and technology. The recent rise in crude oil prices, paired with a global effort for renewable energy development and a growing domestic demand for ethanol have been the key factors driving the recent expansion of Brazil's sugar and ethanol industries.

  • Can Commodity Program Payments Encourage Better Nutrient Management?

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2007

    Can commodity program payments be further leveraged to obtain better nutrient management on land in crop production? The answer depends on the extent to which areas receiving these payments coincide with the location of nutrient runoff problems and whether payments are large enough to offset the cost of reducing runoff.

  • 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.

  • On The Map

    Amber Waves, May 01, 2007

    Geographic distribution of government payments as a proportion of gross cash income from farming. A substantial proportion of government payments to farmers is based on historical production of specific commodities, such as corn, oilseeds, wheat, rice, and cotton.

  • Relaxing Fruit and Vegetable Planting Restrictions

    Amber Waves, May 01, 2007

    A recent World Trade Organization challenge to U.S. commodity programs has created pressure to eliminate fruit and vegetable planting restrictions on farms that plant program crops. If planting restrictions were relaxed, overall market effects would likely be limited, with the greatest effects in California, the Southeast and the upper Midwest. Some producers with base acreage would likely benefit while others without base acres may find that production of fruit and vegetables would be less profitable than production of program crops.

  • How Do Decoupled Payments Affect Resource Allocations Within the Farm Sector?

    Amber Waves, May 01, 2007

    Most industrialized nations subsidize producers of certain farm commodities with payments linked to commodity prices and production levels. In the U.S., interest in market liberalization and obligations under multilateral trade agreements have prompted policymakers to design and implement less distorting government commodity programs. One step in that direction is to use "decoupled" payments to directly change the income and wealth of farm households without distorting relative commodity prices. Recent analyses indicate how land tenure arrangements influence the amount farm households receive from decoupled payments, and how decoupled payments influence markets for agricultural capital and labor.

  • On The Map

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2007

    The legislated payment rates are commodity dependent, averaging about $1 per acre for oats and close to $100 per acre for rice. Payments are concentrated in the major producing areas.