Publications

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  • Indicators

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2008

    Indicators tables from the April 2008 issue of Amber Waves.

  • Program of Research on the Economics of Invasive Species Management, Fiscal 2008, Competitive Award Program: Description and Application Process

    AP-026, March 10, 2008

    Under the Program of Research on the Economics of Invasive Species Management (PREISM), ERS supports and conducts research to improve the economic basis of decisionmaking concerning invasive issues, policies, and programs. Program themes have included international dimensions of invasive species prevention and management; development and application of methods to analyze important invasive species issues, policies, and programs; and analysis of economic, institutional, and behavioral factors affecting decisions to prevent or manage invasive species. This document describes the application process for submitting research proposals to be considered for fiscal 2008 competitive awards. The deadline for submission is April 25, 2008.

  • Equilibrium Displacement Mathematical Programming Models: Methodology and a Model of the U.S. Agricultural Sector

    TB-1918, February 11, 2008

    The objective of this research is to extend and generalize the equilibrium displacement methodology by combining it with mathematical programming methods and existing knowledge of farm sector relationships to develop sectoral adjustment models that can operate in pure competition, monopoly/monopsony, or mixed-competition. A model of the U.S. agricultural sector at the national aggregate level is presented to illustrate the methods. An appendix contains a user's manual describing the operation of the model. Further appendices contain documentation of the structure of the spreadsheets, the programming tableau, and the SAS solution program.

  • Farm-Based Recreation: A Statistical Profile

    ERR-53, December 31, 2007

    Farm-based recreation provides an important niche market for farmers, but limited empirical information is available on the topic. Access to two USDA databases, the 2004 Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) and the 2000 National Survey on Recreation and the Environment, provided researchers with a deeper understanding of who operates farm-based recreation enterprises, such as hunting and fishing operations, horseback riding businesses, on-farm rodeos, and petting zoos. Regression analysis identified the importance of various farmer and farm characteristics, as well as local and regional factors associated with farmer operation of, and income derived from, farm-based recreation.

  • The Changing Economics of U.S. Hog Production

    ERR-52, December 27, 2007

    ERS examines the economic factors that underlie the dramatic decline in number of hog operations over the past 15 years and the increasing concentration of production on large, specialized hog farms.

  • Indicators

    Amber Waves, September 03, 2007

    Indicators tables from the September 2007 issue of Amber Waves.

  • Program of Research on the Economics of Invasive Species Management Fiscal 2003-2006 Activities

    AP-021, July 16, 2007

    Under the Program of Research on the Economics of Invasive Species Management (PREISM), ERS supports and conducts research to improve the economic basis of decisionmaking concerning invasive issues, policies, and programs. Program themes have included international dimensions of invasive species prevention and management; development and application of methods to analyze important invasive species issues, policies, and programs; and analysis of economic, institutional, and behavioral factors affecting decisions to prevent or manage invasive species. This report reviews PREISM funding and activities for the 2003-2006 fiscal years.

  • On The Map

    Amber Waves, May 01, 2007

    USDA's Conservation Compliance Program was designed to ensure that Federal farm programs did not encourage crop production on highly erodible land (HEL) in the absence of measures to protect against soil erosion. Under this program, farmers who grow crops on HEL must apply an approved soil conservation system or risk losing eligibility for Federal income support, conservation, and other payments.

  • In The Long Run

    Amber Waves, May 01, 2007

    Until well into the 20th century, conversion of wetlands to agricultural and other uses was encouraged by policy incentives for drainage and westward expansion. Starting in the 1930s, conservation laws began to slow wetland conversion, and this momentum was reinforced by other measures over the last 30 years. Today, about half of the original wetlands area in the 48 contiguous States has been converted to other uses, mostly agriculture, but urbanization and other uses now account for most wetland conversion. Currently, the rate of net wetland loss from agriculture has been reduced to almost zero.

  • Bidding Enhances Conservation Program Cost Effectiveness

    Amber Waves, May 01, 2007

    To manage Conservation Program dollars cost-effectively, program managers must motivate farmers to offer to participate and then select those applicants who offer the greatest environmental benefit per dollar spent. Bidding is one way to do that; allowing farmers to "bid" for the activity they will undertake and the level of payment they would receive for it provides program managers with the information they need to compare the costs and benefits of contract offers. This could ensure that final program participants are those who will maximize taxpayers' investment in conservation effort.

  • Green Payments: Can Income and Conservation Payments Be Combined?

    Amber Waves, May 01, 2007

    Green payments would merge farm income support and conservation payments. If income support and conservation payments go to different farms, policymakers will face tradeoffs between the two objectives when designing a green payments program.

  • Environmental Credit Trading: Can Farming Benefit?

    Amber Waves, May 01, 2007

    Environmental credit trading is a market-based approach to complying with regulations with the potential to achieve pollution abatement goals at least cost to society. Agriculture can contribute to credit trading programs by generating pollution-reduction credits through the adoption of environmentally preferred practices and selling the credits to regulated firms.

  • Model Captures the Interaction Between Agriculture and the Environment

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2007

    The Regional Environment and Agriculture Programming Model (REAP) was developed to help researchers analyze the potential effects of agri-environmental policies by taking into account the interactions between product prices, production practices, and the environment. Formerly named the U.S. Mathematical Programming Agricultural Sector Model (USMP), REAP was originally developed in the mid-1980s and has been used to analyze a wide variety of agricultural policy issues.

  • Indicators

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2007

    Indicators tables from the April 2007 issue of Amber Waves.

  • Regional Environment and Agriculture Programming Model (REAP)

    TB-1916, March 30, 2007

    The Regional Environment and Agriculture Programming Model (REAP), facilitates scenario-or "what if"-analyses by showing how changes in technology, commodity supply or demand, or farm, resource, environmental, or trade policy could affect a host of performance indicators important to decisionmakers and stakeholders. This report describes its theoretical and modeling system specification and the data used by REAP, and serves as a user guide for setting up and running model simulations.

  • Targeting Conservation Funds Increases Environmental Benefits

    Amber Waves, February 01, 2007

    To best serve the public's interest, conservation program funds should be allocated to address the most pressing environmental concerns. Targeting is an efficient means of achieving this goal because it directs funds to conservation program participants based on the expected environmental benefits.

  • On The Map

    Amber Waves, February 01, 2007

    About $2.5 billion has been obligated under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) from its inception in fiscal 1997 through the end of fiscal 2004. EQIP is the Nation’s largest program that pays farmers for conservation efforts on working lands, in terms of obligated funds.

  • Irrigated Acres Up, Water Application Rate Trending Down

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2006

    Irrigated acreage has increased by over 40 percent in the last 35 years, while total water applied increased by only 11 percent because of reduced per-acre water applications. Irrigated agriculture will remain an important land cultivation practice for the foreseeable future, but continued changes in the location and use of irrigation water are likely.

  • 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.

  • Agricultural Policy Affects Land Use and the Environment

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2006

    Economic forces and policy changes encourage producers to shift less productive, or 'marginal,' cropland in and out of production. Because marginal lands are also environmentally sensitive along several dimensions, cropland shifts have environmental, as well as economic, effects. Thus, agricultural and conservation programs that affect land use likely have more profound effects on erosion and some other environmental factors than on production.