Publications

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  • 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.

  • Supermarket Loss Estimates for Fresh Fruit, Vegetables, Meat, Poultry, and Seafood and Their Use in the ERS Loss-Adjusted Food Availability Data

    EIB-44, March 20, 2009

    Using new national estimates of supermarket food loss, ERS updates each fresh fruit, vegetable, meat, and poultry commodity in its Loss-Adjusted Food Availability data series.

  • The Transformation of U.S. Livestock Agriculture: Scale, Efficiency, and Risks

    EIB-43, January 23, 2009

    ERS details the nature, causes, and effects of structural changes in U.S. livestock production as it shifts to larger, more specialized, and more tightly integrated enterprises.

  • Small Farms Still Important in Broiler Production

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2008

    In contrast to many other agricultural commodities, most broiler production is still carried out by small farms. Growers make substantial investments in broiler houses, and receive chicks and feed from large integrators who pay them to grow broilers to market weight. Most grower households have diversified sources of income, drawn from off-farm employment and other farming activities as well as broiler production.

  • The Effects of Avian Influenza News on Consumer Purchasing Behavior: A Case Study of Italian Consumers' Retail Purchases

    ERR-65, August 29, 2008

    To better understand how information about potential health hazards influences food demand, this case study examines consumers' responses to newspaper articles on avian influenza, informally referred to as bird flu. The focus here is on the response to bird flu information in Italy as news about highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza (HPAI H5N1) unfolded in the period October 2004 through October 2006, beginning after reports of the first outbreaks in Southeast Asia, and extending beyond the point at which outbreaks were reported in Western Europe. Estimated poultry demand, as influenced by the volume of newspaper reports on bird flu, reveals the magnitude and duration of newspaper articles' impacts on consumers' food choices. Larger numbers of bird flu news reports led to larger reductions in poultry purchases. Most impacts were of limited duration, and all began to diminish within 5 weeks.

  • The Economic Organization of U.S. Broiler Production

    EIB-38, June 30, 2008

    ERS describes the boiler industry's organization, use of production contracts, animal housing features, enterprise cost structures, and farm household finances.

  • Economic Impacts of Foreign Animal Disease

    ERR-57, May 28, 2008

    As more is learned about the impacts of foreign animal-disease outbreaks, questions arise regarding the efficacy of existing animal disease-impact models for capturing the array of effects across many economic sectors and time. Previous models lacked adequate treatment of either the economic components or the epidemiological components, and, in some cases, both. This report presents a quarterly livestock and crop modeling framework in which epidemiological model results are integrated with an economic model of the U.S. agricultural sector to estimate the economic impacts of outbreaks of foreign-source livestock diseases. The framework can be applied to many livestock diseases and this study uses the model to assess the results of a hypothetical outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). Model results show large trade-related losses for beef, beef cattle, hogs, and pork, even though relatively few animals are destroyed. The best control strategies prove to be those that reduce the duration of the outbreak.

  • Dietary Assessment of Major Trends in U.S. Food Consumption, 1970-2005

    EIB-33, March 28, 2008

    ERS investigates trends in U.S. food consumption from 1970 to 2005. Results suggest many Americans still fall short of Federal dietary recommendations for whole grains, lower fat dairy products, and fruits and vegetables.

  • How Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (H5N1) Has Affected World Poultry-Meat Trade

    LDPM-15902, October 05, 2007

    In 2003, outbreaks of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 virus had a major negative impact on the global poultry industry. Initially, import demand for both uncooked and cooked poultry declined substantially, due to consumers' fear of contracting avian influenza by eating poultry meat. Consumer fears adversely affected poultry consumption in many countries, leading to lower domestic prices, decreased production, and lower poultry-meat exports. These reductions proved to be short-lived, as prices, consumption, production, and exports returned to preoutbreak levels in a relatively short time. As consumers gained confidence that poultry was safe if properly handled and cooked, world demand for cooked poultry increased. The cooked-poultry share of total cooked and uncooked global exports nearly doubled from 2004 to 2006. In 2006, the world poultry industry was again under pressure due to HPAI H5N1 outbreaks, this time in Europe. By the end of the year, however, world poultry-meat output had reached a new high, although, for some European countries, it was slightly below the 2005 level.

  • U.S. Agricultural Trade Update-State Exports

    FAU-123, June 29, 2007

    U.S. agricultural exports reached a record in fiscal 2006 at $68.7 billion, some $6.2 billion higher than the record set in fiscal 2005. California, Iowa, Texas, and Illinois continued their reign as top exporting States, while Minnesota dropped to seventh position behind Nebraska and Kansas. North Carolina joined the top 10, displacing North Dakota at the number nine position. Feed grain exports moved ahead of soybean exports, with Iowa and Illinois dominating in those markets. California continued to dominate vegetables, fruits, tree nuts, seeds, and dairy.

  • 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.

  • USDA Agricultural Projections to 2016

    OCE-2007-1, February 14, 2007

    This report provides longrun (10-year) projections for the agricultural sector through 2016. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices.

  • Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook: December 2006

    LDPM-15001, December 27, 2006

    Organic poultry and egg markets in the United States are expanding rapidly. Statistics for the sector, especially the number of organic broilers, also signal expanding domestic supply. This report examines trends in markets, animal numbers, and prices for organic poultry and eggs. Price comparisons between organic and conventional show significant organic price premiums for both broilers and eggs.

  • Animal Products Markets in 2005 and Forecasts for 2006

    LDPM-14601, September 08, 2006

    Uncertainty continues to shape the forecasts for animal products markets in 2006. Potential and actual animal disease outbreaks, consumer sensitivities, volatile exchange rates, and growing competition from producers in other countries cloud U.S. trade prospects for major meats. Loss of U.S. trade market share, partly caused by disease outbreaks and related trade restrictions that have affected animal product exports since 2003, compounds the problem. The outlook for U.S. meat, poultry, and dairy markets in 2006 depends on how well domestic production adjusts to changes in input costs, the effect of exchange rates on trade, the continuing effects of disease and trade restrictions on exports, and the increasing competitiveness of emerging animal products exporters.

  • Effect of Food Industry Mergers and Acquisitions on Employment and Wages

    ERR-13, December 09, 2005

    Empirical analysis of mergers and acquisitions in eight important food industries suggests that workers in acquired plants realized modest increases in employment and wages relative to other workers. Results also show that mergers and acquisitions reduced the likelihood of plant closures while high relative labor costs encouraged plant shutdowns. These results differ from commonly held views that mergers and acquisitions lead to fewer jobs, wage cuts, and plant shutdowns.

  • Disease-Related Trade Restrictions Shaped Animal Product Markets in 2004 and Stamp Imprints on 2005 Forecasts

    LDPM-133-01, August 03, 2005

    Disease outbreaks and related trade restrictions that affected U.S. animal product markets and exports in 2003 continued to constrain markets in 2004. U.S. cattle and beef markets were most affected. Pork, dairy, and lamb markets did not face any direct disease issues but both U.S. and international outbreaks of Avian Influenza buffeted poultry markets. Forecasts of 2005 U.S. animal-products trade reflect expected market responses given the uncertainties surrounding cattle and beef markets in the United States.

  • 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.

  • U.S. 2003 and 2004 Livestock and Poultry Trade Influenced by Animal Disease and Trade Restrictions

    LDPM-12001, July 01, 2004

    Disease outbreaks and related trade restrictions have slowed previously expected high growth in many U.S. animal product exports, with U.S. beef exports most affected. This report discusses how animal diseases and disease-related trade restrictions have influenced trade in animal products in the past few years, with an emphasis on 2003 and forecasts for 2004. The most important animal diseases that have affected trade in animal products in recent years have been bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), Avian Influenza (AI), and Exotic Newcastle Disease (END).

  • Beef and Pork Values and Price Spreads Explained

    LDPM-11801, May 10, 2004

    Livestock and meat prices vary more in the short run than costs of production, processing, and marketing. ERS research shows that month-to-month changes in livestock and meat prices are driven by dynamic adjustment. It takes time for prices to adjust, and they tend to adjust more rapidly when they are increasing than when they are decreasing. When rates depend on direction, price adjustment is called asymmetric. The slow and asymmetric adjustment of prices does not appear to work against livestock producers. This report examines these price transmission issues and also explains price spread calculations and analyzes the relationship between marketing costs and livestock prices in the long run.

  • India's Poultry Sector: Development and Prospects

    WRS-0403, February 02, 2004

    Poultry meat is the fastest growing component of global meat demand, and India, the world's second largest developing country, is experiencing rapid growth in its poultry sector. In India, poultry sector growth is being driven by rising incomes and a rapidly expanding middle class, together with the emergence of vertically integrated poultry producers that have reduced consumer prices by lowering production and marketing costs. Integrated production, market transition from live birds to chilled and frozen products, and policies that ensure supplies of competitively priced domestic or imported corn and soybeans are keys to future poultry industry growth in India.