Publications

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  • Local Meat and Poultry Processing: The Importance of Business Commitments for Long-Term Viability

    ERR-150, June 18, 2013

    Consumer demand for local local meat has risen in recent years. Farmers contend that limited processing capacity restricts supply, while processors often lack the consistent business required to make a profit.

  • Making Sense of Recent Cost-of-Foodborne-Illness Estimates

    EIB-118, September 30, 2013

    ERS examines estimates of the cost of foodborne illness, focusing on factors that result in different estimates. Factors include the number of pathogens included in estimates and the method of assigning monetary value to the impacts.

  • Managing the Costs of Reducing Agriculture’s Footprint on the Chesapeake Bay

    Amber Waves, July 07, 2014

    Runoff from agricultural activity and other nonpoint sources contributes to adverse environmental conditions in the Chesapeake Bay, interfering with fish and shellfish production and compromising recreational opportunities. In order to meet Environmental Protection Agency goals for the Chesapeake Bay, loadings of nutrients and sediments from agricultural activity must be reduced.

  • Mandatory Price Reporting, Market Efficiency, and Price Discovery in Livestock Markets

    LDPM-254-01, September 03, 2015

    ERS found that the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act, up for renewal in 2015, has improved the markets' overall speed in absorbing new information and that it generally benefits livestock feeders, meatpackers, and-ultimately-consumers.

  • Manure Use for Fertilizer and for Energy: Report to Congress

    AP-037, June 25, 2009

    The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 directed the U.S. Department of Agriculture to evaluate the role of animal manure as a source of fertilizer, and its other uses. About 5 percent of all U.S. cropland is currently fertilized with livestock manure, and corn accounts for over half of the acreage to which manure is applied. Expanded environmental regulation through nutrient management plans will likely lead to wider use of manure on cropland, at higher production costs, but with only modest impacts on production costs, commodity demand, or farm structure. There is widespread interest in using manure as a feedstock for energy production. While current use is quite limited, expanded government support, either direct or indirectly, could lead to a substantial increase in manure use as a feedstock. However, current energy processes are unlikely to compete with fertilizer uses of manure, because they leave fertilizer nutrients as residues, in more marketable form, and because manure-to-energy projects will be most profitable in regions where raw manure is in excess supply, with the least value as fertilizer.

  • Market Integration in the North American Hog Industries

    LDPM-12501, November 24, 2004

    About 8 percent of the hogs slaughtered in the United States in 2004 will originate in Canada-many more than 10 years ago. Canadian hogs have flowed into the United States in response to significant structural changes in the U.S. pork industry, concurrent with policy changes in Canada. This, combined with a strong U.S./Canadian dollar exchange rate, created incentives to expand hog operations in Ontario and to start production in Manitoba. In 15 years, an open border and pronounced breeding herd efficiencies helped to increase Canadian hog exports to the United States by more than eight-fold.

  • Market Integration of the North American Animal Products Complex

    LDPM-13101, May 26, 2005

    The beef, pork, and poultry industries of Mexico, Canada, and the United States have tended to become more economically integrated over the past two decades. Sanitary barriers, which are designed to protect people and animals from diseases, are some of the most significant barriers to fuller integration of meat and animal markets. In addition, diseases such as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), also known as mad cow disease, have caused major disruptions to beef and cattle trade.

  • NAFTA at 13: Implementation Nears Completion

    WRS-0701, March 29, 2007

    Implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is drawing to a close. In 2008, the last of NAFTA's transitional restrictions governing U.S.-Mexico and Canada-Mexico agricultural trade will be removed, concluding a 14-year project in which the member countries systematically dismantled numerous barriers to regional agricultural trade. During the implementation period, the agricultural sectors of Canada, Mexico, and the United States have become much more integrated. Agricultural trade within the free-trade area has grown dramatically, and Canadian and Mexican industries that rely on U.S. agricultural inputs have expanded. U.S. feedstuffs have facilitated a marked increase in Mexican meat production and consumption, and the importance of Canadian and Mexican produce to U.S. fruit and vegetable consumption is growing.

  • NAFTA at 15: Building on Free Trade

    WRS-09-03, March 31, 2009

    Implementation of the agricultural provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has drawn to a close. In 2008, the last of NAFTA's transitional restrictions governing U.S.-Mexico and Canada-Mexico agricultural trade were removed, concluding a 14-year project in which the member countries systematically dismantled numerous barriers to regional agricultural trade. During the implementation period, the agricultural sectors of Canada, Mexico, and the United States have become much more integrated. Agricultural trade within the free-trade area has grown dramatically, and Canadian and Mexican industries that rely on U.S. agricultural inputs have expanded. U.S. feedstuffs have facilitated a marked increase in Mexican meat production and consumption, and the importance of Canadian and Mexican produce to U.S. fruit and vegetable consumption is growing.

  • 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.

  • NAFTA at 20: With Regional Trade Liberalization Complete, Focus Shifts to Other Methods of Deepening Economic Integration

    Amber Waves, April 06, 2015

    The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)—implemented in 1994 by Canada, Mexico, and the United States—has resulted in expanded flows of intraregional agricultural trade and substantial levels of foreign direct investment in the processed food sector. A more integrated North American market in oilseeds, grains is one the more important impacts of NAFTA in the agricultural sector.

  • 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.

  • Pork Quality and the Role of Market Organization

    AER-835, November 08, 2004

    This study addresses changes in the organization of the U.S. pork industry, most notably marketing contracts between packers and producers, by exploring their function in addressing pork quality concerns. A number of developments brought quality concerns to the forefront. These include health concerns and corresponding preferences for lean pork, growing incidence of undesirable quality attributes (e.g., pale, soft, and exudative (PSE) meat, a result of breeding for leanness), heightened concerns over food safety and related regulatory programs, and expansion into global markets. Organizational arrangements can facilitate industry efforts to address pork quality needs by reducing measuring costs, controlling quality attributes that are difficult to measure, facilitating adaptations to changing quality standards, and reducing transaction costs associated with relationship-specific investments in branding programs.

  • Production Contracts May Help Small Hog Farms Grow in Size

    Amber Waves, February 03, 2014

    In the U.S. hog sector, production contracts—under which farm operators agree to raise hogs owned by contractors—are becoming increasingly common: the share of market hogs grown under a production contract increased from 5 percent in 1992 to over 70 percent in 2009. The growth in the use of production contracts has been accompanied by pronounced increases in the size of farms producing hogs.

  • Productivity Growth Slows for Specialized Hog Finishing Operations

    Amber Waves, February 03, 2014

    U.S. hog farm numbers dropped by 70 percent over 1991-2009 while hog inventories remained stable. The result has been an industry with larger hog enterprises, increased specialization in a single phase of production, greater reliance on purchased rather than homegrown feed, and greater use of production contracts. This structural change has led to higher productivity and lower pork prices.

  • Restrictions on Antibiotic Use for Production Purposes in U.S. Livestock Industries Likely To Have Small Effects on Prices and Quantities

    Amber Waves, November 24, 2015

    Antibiotics are used widely in livestock production for control, prevention, and treatment of disease, and for “production purposes” such as growth promotion. The most recent estimates suggest that approximately 40 percent of finishing hogs in 2009 and up to about half of broilers in 2011 received antibiotics for production purposes.

  • Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures and Tariff-Rate Quotas for U.S. Meat Exports to the European Union

    LDPM-245-01, December 02, 2014

    The EU is one of the world's largest producers and consumers of beef, pork, and poultry, but EU tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) policies continue to limit imports of U.S. meats.

  • Selected Trade Agreements and Implications for U.S. Agriculture

    ERR-115, April 15, 2011

    ERS examines possible impacts of recently implemented free trade agreements (FTAs) where the United States is not a partner, and potential effects of pending U.S. agreements with Korea, Colombia, and Panama.

  • Slaughter and Processing Options and Issues for Locally Sourced Meat

    LDPM-216-01, June 19, 2012

    ERS evaluates slaughter and processing capacity for local meat production, and the options available to livestock producers selling to local markets. Local demand is still a small share of total demand.

  • Slow Price Adjustments Benefit Beef and Pork Producers

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2004

    The slow and asymmetric adjustment of cattle prices to changes in supply-and-demand conditions keeps them about 4 percent higher on average than they would be under complete adjustment. Hog prices average around 1 percent higher.