Publications

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  • Americans at Unequal Risk for Obesity

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2004

    Obesity is rising among all U.S. population groups, but not all Americans are equally at risk of becoming overweight or obese. ERS researchers found that several socioeconomic factors, such as the level of education, marital status, and the presence of children in the household correlate with the food choices, activity levels, and health-related attitudes that affect body weight. For example, people with a college education eat a more healthful diet, watch less TV, drink fewer sugary drinks, and skip breakfast less often.

  • Americans' Dairy Consumption Below Recommendations

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2007

    Americans are consuming more dairy products than in 1970, but not enough to meet the daily recommendations for milk and milk products. The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the supporting MyPyramid Food Guidance System recommend that Americans consume 2-3 cups of milk and milk products daily, depending on their age, gender, and level of physical activity. ERS's per capita food availability data show that Americans on average consumed 1.8 cups of dairy products per person per day in 2005.

  • Americans' Eating Patterns and Time Spent on Food: The 2014 Eating & Health Module Data

    EIB-158, July 28, 2016

    ERS analyzed food and food-related time use patterns by factors such as income level and participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).

  • Americans' Whole-Grain Consumption Below Guidelines

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2005

    The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that half of all daily grain servings be whole grains. After adjusting ERS' food availability data for waste and losses, Americans were eating an average of 10 servings of grains a day in 2003, with whole grains accounting for just over 1 serving. For those consumers reporting they ate whole grain foods, the bulk of those foods consisted of whole-grain crackers, salty snacks, and ready-to-eat cereals.

  • Americans’ Food Choices at Home and Away: How Do They Compare With Recommendations?

    Amber Waves, February 21, 2013

    In grocery stores, Americans underspend on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and overspend on refined grains, fats, and sugars/sweets, compared with dietary guidance Away-from-home foods are even less consistent with dietary guidance.

  • Americans’ Seafood Consumption Below Recommendations

    Amber Waves, October 03, 2016

    According to ERS’s loss-adjusted food availability data, U.S. seafood consumption in 2014 averaged 2.7 ounces per week, about one-third of the recommended minimum of 8 ounces per week.

  • America’s Diverse Family Farms: 2017 Edition

    EIB-185, December 15, 2017

    99% of U.S. farms are family farms, accounting for 90% of production. Small family farms make up 90% of all farms and operate over half of farmland. Still, large family farms accounted for the largest share of farm production, 45%, in 2016.

  • America’s Organic Farmers Face Issues and Opportunities

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2010

    Organic agriculture has established a foothold in many U.S. farm sectors, but the overall use of organic practices lags behind that of many other countries. Emerging issues in the sector include dampened consumer demand resulting from the weaker economy and competition from new labels like the “locally grown” label.

  • Among Women Farmers, Different Specializations Dominate Farm Numbers, Farm Sales

    Amber Waves, May 06, 2013

    Most women-operated farms specialize in grazing livestock or miscellaneous crops, but these are mostly small operations that contribute relatively little to the total sales of women-operated farms. Most sales by women-operated farms come from farms specializing in poultry and eggs, specialty crops, grains and oilseeds, and dairy.

  • An Analysis of U.S. Household Dairy Demand

    TB-1928, December 13, 2010

    This report examines retail purchase data for 12 dairy products and margarine from the Nielsen 2007 Homescan retail data. Selected demographic and socioeconomic variables included in the Nielsen data are analyzed for their effects on aggregate demand and expenditure elasticities for the selected products. A censored demand system is used to derive the demand elasticities. The resulting estimates revealed that the magnitudes of 10 of the 13 own-price elasticities are greater than 1; substitute relationships are found among most dairy categories; expenditure elasticities are 1 or greater for 7 of the 13 products; and demographic and socioeconomic variables are statistically significant contributors to dairy demand.

  • An Analysis of the Limited Base Acre Provision of the 2008 Farm Act

    EIB-84, October 12, 2011

    ERS examines the effect of the 2008 Farm Act provision eliminating direct and countercyclical payments and average crop revenue election payments to farms with 10 or fewer base acres.

  • An Assessment of Product Turnover in the U.S. Food Industry and Effects on Nutrient Content

    EIB-183, November 20, 2017

    ERS researchers assess U.S. food products’ marketplace entry and exit rates in 2008-12 and break down these changes across food categories. They also examine some of the implications product turnover may hold for nutritional content.

  • An Economic Analysis of Electron Accelerators and Cobalt-60 for Irradiating Food

    TB-1762, June 01, 1989

    ERS estimated the installation and operating costs for two types of irradiation: an electron beam system or a Cobalt-60 gamma ray system. The capital costs of food irradiation equipment depend primarily on the irradiation source, food product, plant volume, and facility design. Economics of scale were estimated for plants processing different volumes.

  • An Economic Assessment of Policy Options To Reduce Agricultural Pollutants in the Chesapeake Bay

    ERR-166, June 04, 2014

    ERS researchers use data on agriculture in the Chesapeake Bay watershed to assess the effectiveness of different policies for achieving nutrient and sediment reduction goals, ranging from voluntary financial incentives to regulation.

  • An Economic Chronology of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy in North America

    LDPM-14301, June 09, 2006

    The first confirmed cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in Canada and the United States had significant effects on trade and prices of U.S. cattle and beef. However, these incidents occurred during a period of low U.S. beef supplies, near-record beef prices, and strong domestic demand for beef that was largely unshaken by the BSE announcement. Also, U.S. reliance on beef and cattle exports, roughly 10 percent of production, was not so great as to cause burdensome increases in domestic supplies. Increased regulations, however, imposed additional costs on beef production and processing sectors.

  • An Economic Model of WIC, the Infant Formula Rebate Program, and the Retail Price of Infant Formula

    FANRR-39-2, January 03, 2005

    This report develops an economic model that provides the theoretical framework for the econometric analyses presented in the report's companion volume, WIC and the Retail Price of Infant Formula (FANRR-39-1). The model examines supermarket retail prices for infant formula in a local market area, and identifies the theoretical effects of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and its infant formula rebate program. Special attention is given to the rebate program's sole-source procurement system by which a single manufacturer becomes a State's "contract brand" -the State's one supplier of formula to WIC infants-in exchange for paying rebates to WIC. When a manufacturer's brand is designated a State's contract brand, the model predicts that supermarkets increase that brand's retail price. The model also predicts that an increase in the ratio of WIC to non-WIC formula-fed infants in a local market results in an increase in the price of the contract brand and, through demand substitution, a relatively small price increase for noncontract brands.

  • An Economic Perspective on Soil Health

    Amber Waves, September 06, 2016

    Soil health builds upon soil conservation by encouraging farmers to manage soil as a living ecosystem, in addition to reducing soil erosion. Healthy soils can have benefits to society and to farmers. USDA incentivizes farmers to adopt soil health practices through programs such as EQIP and CSP.

  • An Illustrated Guide to Research Findings from USDA's Economic Research Service

    EIB-48, April 01, 2009

    This book contains a sampling of recent ERS research illustrating the breadth of the Agency's research on current policy issues: from biofuels to food consumption to land conservation to patterns of trade for agricultural products.

  • An Initial Assessment of the Payment-in-Kind Program

    AP-039, April 29, 1983

    Weak domestic demand, the first drop in exports in more than a decade, and large farm surpluses placed significant downward pressure on commodity prices and farm incomes and created the potential for large government outlays. The payment-in-kind (PIK) program was designed to idle substantial acreage without increasing government program costs. This report provides an assessment of the PIK program on production, prices, and incomes.

  • An Online Cost Calculator for Estimating the Economic Cost of Illness Due to Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli (STEC) O157 Infections

    EIB-28, September 13, 2007

    Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) O157 is a significant cause of foodborne illness in the United States. ERS estimated the economic cost of illness due to this pathogen-$405.2 million (in 2003 dollars)-using the most recent estimate (1997) of the annual number of STEC O157 cases by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and medical and cost data from the Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network. CDC is currently updating its estimate of annual cases. As new information becomes available, the ERS online Foodborne Illness Cost Calculator enables users to review and modify the assumptions underlying the STEC O157 cost estimate, such as the number of cases, and then recalculate the cost, adjusted for inflation for any year from 1997 to 2006. The potential utility of the calculator was demonstrated by assuming that the incidence of STEC O157 had declined and then estimating the cost for a smaller number of cases.