Publications

Sort by: Title | Date
  • USDA Agricultural Projections to 2021

    OCE-121, February 13, 2012

    This report provides longrun (10-year) projections for the agricultural sector through 2021. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices.

  • A Quarterly Econometric Model for Short-Term Forecasting of the U.S. Dairy Industry

    TB-1932, January 05, 2012

    This research evaluates the econometric approaches employed by USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) to contribute to the dairy sector forecasts published in the monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report. To generate the estimates, a quarterly model of the U.S. dairy industry is specified using data for fourth-quarter 1998 (Q4/1998) to first quarter 2009 (Q1/2009), and it is estimated and validated employing data for Q2/2009 to Q1/2010. Different forecasts are generated using a variety of single equation and system methods, and which are then evaluated in terms of forecast precision or predicting turning points in the data. Different approaches, however, more effectively forecast different variables. Vector autoregression with exogenous variables outperforms structural regression models when forecasting prices, but single and system estimations of structural models are superior to time series models when forecasting some items in farm supply and commodity balance sheets.

  • Research Investments and Market Structure in the Food Processing, Agricultural Input, and Biofuel Industries Worldwide: Executive Summary

    EIB-90, December 30, 2011

    Meeting growing global demand for food, fiber, and biofuel requires robust investment in agricultural research and development (R&D) from both public and private sectors. This report highlights the major findings of a study examining global R&D spending by private industry in seven agricultural input sectors, food manufacturing, and biofuel and describes the changing structure of these industries. For the full report, see Research Investments and Market Structure in the Food Processing, Agricultural Input, and Biofuel Industries Worldwide, ERR-130. In 2007 (the latest year for which comprehensive estimates are available), the private sector spent $19.7 billion on food and agricultural research (56 percent in food manufacturing and 44 percent in agricultural input sectors) and accounted for about half of total public and private spending on food and agricultural R&D in high-income countries. In R&D related to biofuel, annual private-sector investments are estimated to have reached $1.47 billion worldwide by 2009. Incentives to invest in R&D are influenced by market structure and other factors. Agricultural input industries have undergone significant structural change over the past two decades, with industry concentration on the rise. A relatively small number of large, multinational firms with global R&D and marketing networks account for most R&D in each input industry. Rising market concentration has not generally been associated with increased R&D investment as a percentage of industry sales.

  • Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook: December 2011

    LDPM-210, December 15, 2011

    Disproportionally large cow slaughter has kept average dressed weights lower during most of 2011 than if steers had constituted half or more of beef slaughter, as they typically do. Packer margins and high feed and feeder cattle prices are exerting downward pressure on fed cattle prices.

  • Market Potential for U.S. Distillers’ Grains Exceeds Likely Supply Growth

    Amber Waves, December 01, 2011

    U.S. production of distillers’ grains (DGs) has quadrupled since 2004/05. For the foreseeable future, however, potential feed use of DGs in the U.S. will significantly exceed projected supply.

  • On the Map: Demand for U.S. Edible Pork Byproduct Exports Is High

    Amber Waves, December 01, 2011

    U.S. pork byproduct exports totaled $700 million in 2010, almost 15 percent of the total value of U.S. pork exports.

  • Where's the (Not) Meat?-Byproducts From Beef and Pork Production

    LDPM-209-01, November 21, 2011

    The report describes the many uses for animal byproducts-both inedible and edible-and estimates the volume of production of beef and pork variety meats in the United States in addition to the proportion of value added to the live animal from the byproducts. The value added to U.S. meat trade and the role of variety meats in the global marketplace is also evaluated.

  • Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook: October 2011

    LDPM-208, October 18, 2011

    Drought-induced cow-herd liquidation has reduced average dressed weights and resulted in relatively more ground products but fewer middle cuts. Wheat pasture could be priced at a premium this winter. Cattle feeding margins remain negative despite higher fed cattle prices.

  • Trends and Developments in Hog Manure Management: 1998-2009

    EIB-81, September 14, 2011

    In the past decade, hog production has increasingly become consolidated, with larger operations producing a greater volume of hog manure on smaller areas. With less cropland for spreading the manure, hog farmers may be compensating through more effective manure management. The authors use data from 1998 to 2009 collected in three national surveys of hog farmers. Over this period, structural changes in the hog sector altered how manure is stored and handled. Changes to the Clean Water Act, State regulations, and local conflicts over air quality also affected manure management decisions. The findings further suggest that environmental policy has influenced conservation-compatible manure management practices. The authors examine how the use of nutrient management plans and of practices such as controlled manure application rates vary with scale of production and how these practices changed over the study period. This report is an update of an earlier report, Changes in Manure Management in the Hog Sector: 1998-2004.

  • Trade, the Expanding Mexican Beef Industry, and Feedlot and Stocker Cattle Production in Mexico

    LDPM-206-01, August 22, 2011

    This report characterizes Mexican feeder-calf and fed cattle production systems in the context of the imports of Mexican feeder cattle into the United States. The increase in cattle feeding in Mexico will increasingly affect U.S. feeder cattle imports and U.S. beef exports to Mexico in ambiguous ways as Mexican population and incomes increase. Cattle production also depends on geo-climatic factors, disease and pest challenges, feeding systems, and feeder cattle export patterns.

  • Beef Cow-Calf Production a Lifestyle Choice Among Many Farmers

    Amber Waves, June 16, 2011

    The beef cow-calf industry is characterized by a large number of small farms on which beef cattle production is a secondary source of farm household income. This suggests that beef cow-calf production as a lifestyle choice is at least as important as earning a profit on many farms.

  • In the Long Run: Fewer Cows But More Milk Through 2020

    Amber Waves, June 16, 2011

    After a 4-year increase during 2005-08, milk cow numbers fell in 2009 and 2010 and are projected to continue year-to-year declines in 2012-20.

  • Cattle Sector Production Practices and Regional Price Differences

    LDPM-202-1, April 26, 2011

    This report outlines the tendency for fed cattle from the Southern Plains to typically sell at a premium over cattle from the Northern Central Plains, describing the nuances in regional production and marketing practices that underlie the price relationship referred to as "the North-South spread."

  • NAFTA at 17: Full Implementation Leads to Increased Trade and Integration

    WRS-1101, March 31, 2011

    This report is the last in USDA's series of Congressionally mandated biennial reports on the impacts of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on U.S. agriculture and the rural economy. The report responds to a mandate in the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act of 1993.

  • The Diverse Structure and Organization of U.S. Beef Cow-Calf Farms

    EIB-73, March 28, 2011

    The beef cow-calf industry is characterized by large numbers of small farms, although large farms account for most of the production. Operators of beef cow-calf farms have varying goals for their cattle enterprises.

  • Carbon Prices and the Adoption of Methane Digesters on Dairy and Hog Farms

    EB-16, February 07, 2011

    Biogas recovery systems collect methane from manure and burn it to generate electricity or heat. Burning methane reduces its global warming potential, thereby reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Climate change mitigation policies that effectively put a price on GHG emissions could allow livestock producers to "sell" these reductions to other greenhouse gas emitters who face emissions caps or who voluntarily wish to offset their own emissions. Depending on the direction and scope of future climate change legislation, income from carbon off set sales could make methane digesters profitable for many livestock producers. By modeling the main determinants of producers' decisions to adopt biogas recovery systems, we illustrate how the price of carbon influences this decision and the potential supply of carbon offsets from the livestock sector.

  • Climate Change Policy and the Adoption of Methane Digesters on Livestock Operations

    ERR-111, February 07, 2011

    Methane digesters-biogas recovery systems that use methane from manure to generate electricity-have not been widely adopted in the United States because costs have exceeded benefits to operators. Burning methane in a digester reduces greenhouse gas emissions from manure management. A policy or program that pays producers for these emission reductions-through a carbon offset market or directly with payments-could increase the number of livestock producers who would profit from adopting a methane digester. We developed an economic model that illustrates how dairy and hog operation size, location, and manure management methods, along with electricity and carbon prices, could influence methane digester profits. The model shows that a relatively moderate increase in the price of carbon could induce significantly more dairy and hog operations, particularly large ones, to adopt a methane digester, thereby substantially lowering emissions of greenhouse gases.

  • Consumer-Level Food Loss Estimates and Their Use in the ERS Loss-Adjusted Food Availability Data

    TB-1927, January 03, 2011

    The Food Availability (per capita) Data System developed by USDA's Economic Research Service tracks annual food and nutrient availability for many commodities. The Food Availability data series in this system overstates actual consumption, so ERS has included an additional series, the Loss-Adjusted Food Availability data, to adjust the Food Availability data for nonedible food parts and food losses, including losses from farm to retail, at retail, and at the consumer level. In this report, we propose new consumer-level loss estimates for "cooking loss and uneaten food" of the edible share to replace those currently used in the Loss-Adjusted Food Availability data and propose their adoption for the entire data span (1970 to the most recent year in the series). The proposed loss percentages are calculated by subtracting food consumption estimates from food purchase or availability estimates for each food. These calculations are adjusted with information from an expert panel experienced in analyzing food consumption data. In general, the proposed food loss estimates for individual foods indicate substantial differences from the currently used estimates. Although some estimates indicate smaller loss percentages than the currently used estimates, many are larger. Overall, if the proposed loss estimates are used in the ERS loss-adjusted series, the average American would consume 17.3 pounds less each year, or 41.9 fewer calories per day, than suggested by the currently used loss estimates.

  • Cow-Calf Beef Production in Mexico

    LDPM-196-01, November 18, 2010

    This report characterizes Mexican beef cow-calf production systems in the context of the many issues affecting Mexican beef and cattle markets, including geo-climatic factors, disease and pest challenges, patterns of landownership, changes in export regions, and changes in domestic consumption as they relate to cow-calf production.

  • Indicators

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2010

    Indicators tables from the September 2010 issue of Amber Waves magazine.