Publications

Sort by: Title | Date
  • Economics of Water Quality Protection From Nonpoint Sources: Theory and Practice

    AER-782, November 30, 1999

    Water quality is a major environmental issue. Pollution from nonpoint sources is the single largest remaining source of water quality impairments in the United States. Agriculture is a major source of several nonpoint-source pollutants, including nutrients, sediment, pesticides, and salts. Agricultural nonpoint pollution reduction policies can be designed to induce producers to change their production practices in ways that improve the environmental and related economic consequences of production. The information necessary to design economically efficient pollution control policies is almost always lacking. Instead, policies can be designed to achieve specific environmental or other similarly related goals at least cost, given transaction costs and any other political, legal, or informational constraints that may exist. This report outlines the economic characteristics of five instruments that can be used to reduce agricultural nonpoint source pollution (economic incentives, standards, education, liability, and research) and discusses empirical research related to the use of these instruments.

  • USDA Agricultural Baseline Projections to 2007

    WAOB-981, February 02, 1998

    This report provides long-run baseline projections for the agricultural sector through 2007. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices. The baseline assumes no shocks and is based on specific assumptions regarding macroeconomic conditions, policy, weather, and international developments. The projections assume that current agricultural law of the 1996 Farm Act remains in effect throughout the baseline. Also, the baseline assumes that the Southeast Asian currency devaluations and related economic slowdowns are confined to that region, affecting growth through 2000, with policy reforms and international financial support leading to a recovery of economic growth in subsequent years. Despite the near-term slowdown in Southeast Asian economies, generally favorable global economic growth is projected in the baseline which, combined with liberalized trade associated with both the GATT agreement and unilateral policy reforms, supports strong growth in global trade and U.S. agricultural exports. Greater market orientation in the domestic agricultural sector under the 1996 Farm Act puts U.S. farmers in a favorable position for competing in the global marketplace. A tightening of the balance between productive capacity and projected demands results in rising nominal market prices, increasing farm income, and stability in the financial condition of the agricultural sector. Management of risk will be important for farmers, reflecting the reduced role of the Government in the sector under the 1996 Farm Act. Consumer food prices are projected to continue a long term trend of rising less than the general inflation rate. The baseline projections presented are one representative scenario for the agricultural sector for the next decade. As such, the baseline provides a point of departure for discussion of alternative farm sector outcomes that could result under different assumptions. The projections in this report were prepared in October through December 1997, reflecting a composite of model results and judgmental analysis.

  • Agricultural Baseline Projections to 2005, Reflecting the 1996 Farm Act

    WAOB-971, April 23, 1997

    This report provides long-run baseline projections for the agricultural sector through 2005 that incorporate provisions of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (1996 Farm Act). The baseline assumes that the new farm legislation remains in effect through 2005. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices. Generally favorable global economic growth is projected in the baseline which, combined with liberalized trade associated with both the GATT agreement and unilateral policy reforms, supports strong growth in global trade and U.S. agricultural exports. Greater market orientation in the domestic agricultural sector under the 1996 Farm Act puts U.S. farmers in a favorable position for competing in the global marketplace. A tightening of the balance between productive capacity and demands results in rising nominal market prices, increasing farm income, and stability in the financial condition of the agricultural sector. However, management of risk will be important for farmers. With the reduced role of the Government in the sector under the 1996 Farm Act, farmers in general face greater risk of income volatility due to price variation, reflecting market price variability more directly. Consumer food prices are projected to continue a long term trend of rising less than the general inflation rate. The baseline projections presented are one representative scenario for the agricultural sector through the middle of the next decade, assuming no shocks and based on specific assumptions regarding macroeconomic conditions, policy, weather, and international developments. As such, the baseline provides a point of departure for discussion of alternative farm sector outcomes that could result under different assumptions. The projections in this report were prepared in October through December 1996, reflecting a composite of model results and judgmental analysis.

  • Characteristics and Risk Management Needs of Limited-Resource and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers

    AIB-733, April 01, 1997

    Small U.S. farms and those run by socially disadvantaged minority operators tend not to purchase insurance or to participate in insurance-type programs operated by USDA. This report traces the lack of use of such risk management measures to several characteristics of such farmers, who include females, blacks, American Indians, Asian/Pacific Islanders, and operators of Spanish origin. These farmers tend, more than the typical U.S. farm, to raise livestock rather than crops, and there are no government-sponsored insurance-type programs for livestock.

  • World Agriculture and Climate Change: Economic Adaptations

    AER-703, June 01, 1995

    Recent studies suggest that possible global increases in temperature and changes in precipitation patterns during the next century will affect world agriculture. Because of the ability of farmers to adapt , however, these changes are not likely to imperil world food production. Nevertheless, world production of all goods and services may decline, if climate change is severe enough or if cropland expansion is hindered. Impacts are not equally distributed around the world.

  • Ethanol and Agriculture: Effect of Increased Production on Crop and Livestock Sectors

    AER-667, May 03, 1993

    Expanded ethanol production could increase U.S. farm income by as much as $1 billion (1.4 percent) by 2000. Because corn is the primary feedstock for ethanol, growers in the Corn Belt would benefit most from improved ethanol technology and heightened demand. Coproducts from the conversion process (corn gluten meal, corn gluten feed, and others) compete with soybean meal, so soybean growers in the South may see revenues decline. The U.S. balance of trade would improve with increased ethanol production as oil import needs decline.

  • Sorghum: Background for 1990 Farm Legislation

    AGES-8967, December 01, 1989

    This report address considerations in the 1990 farm bill debate for grain sorghum, including market conditions, policy proposals, trade agreements, and the interactions between policy and markets for selected commodities. U.S. sorghum acreage and use have trended down slightly since the early 1970s. Large sorghum harvests, greater corn and wheat feed use, and high foreign currency prices of sorghum helped raise U.S sorghum stocks in the early 1980s. Sorghum stocks buildup (especially CCC stocks) became more pronounced in the mid-1980s as a result of high yields and large harvests. Government payments to sorghum producers climbed from one-seventh of total sorghum returns above cash expenses in 1980 to three fourths by 1987. Growth in U.S. sorghum demand will likely come from exports, mainly determined by U.S. and foreign government policies, growth in foreign incomes and livestock output, and export credit availability. Policy issues for 1990 legislation include the level and flexibility of price and income supports relative to corn, the buildup of sorghum CCC stocks, and policy effects on trade, the livestock sector, resources, consumers, and taxpayers. Corn and wheat policies usually have been major factors affecting the consequences of sorghum policy.

  • Tobacco Background for 1990 Farm Legislation

    AGES-8948, October 02, 1989

    This report address considerations in the 1990 farm bill debate for tobacco, including market conditions, policy proposals, trade agreements, and the interactions between policy and markets for selected commodities. Tobacco is grown in 21 States on about 137,000 farms. Several types and kinds are grown, but flue-cured and burley account for about 94 percent of total production. After steadily declining from 1975 to 1986, tobacco production has risen the last 3 years. Supply and demand are in balance because excess stocks have been used. After declining for several years, cigarette production rose in 1987 and 1988 because of growing exports. Legislation enacted in 1986 lowered support prices, moved loan stocks into the trade, and changed quota setting to a more market-oriented approach. Still, major problems exist. Domestic tobacco product consumption continues to decline and the United States continues to face stiff competition in world markets, even with lower prices.