Publications

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  • Oil Crops Outlook: September 2015

    OCS-15I, September 15, 2015

    Lower U.S. beginning stocks of soybeans offsets higher crop.

  • Oil Crops Outlook: September 2016

    OCS-16I, September 14, 2016

    Record U.S. soybean use may not keep pace with big production gains.

  • On the Doorstep of the Information Age: Recent Adoption of Precision Agriculture

    EIB-80, August 24, 2011

    The adoption of precision agriculture, which encompasses a suite of farm-level information technologies, can improve the efficiency of input use and reduce environmental harm from the overapplication of inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides. Still, the adoption of precision agricultural technologies and practices has been less rapid than envisioned a decade ago. Using Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) data collected over the past 10 years, this report examines trends in the adoption of four key information technologies-yield monitors, variable-rate application technologies, guidance systems, and GPS maps-in the production of major field crops. While yield monitoring is now used on over 40 percent of U.S. grain crop acres, very few producers have adopted GPS maps or variable-rate input application technologies.

  • Possible Implications for U.S. Agriculture From Adoption of Select Dietary Guidelines

    ERR-31, November 20, 2006

    To help Americans meet nutritional requirements while staying within caloric recommendations, the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourage consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole-grain products, and fat-free or low-fat milk or milk products. This report provides one view of the potential implications for U.S. agriculture if Americans changed their current consumption patterns to meet some of those guidelines. For Americans to meet the fruit, vegetable, and whole-grain recommendations, domestic crop acreage would need to increase by an estimated 7.4 million harvested acres, or 1.7 percent of total U.S. cropland in 2002. To meet the dairy guidelines, consumption of milk and milk products would have to increase by 66 percent; an increase of that magnitude would likely require an increase in the number of dairy cows as well as increased feed grains and, possibly, increased acreage devoted to dairy production.

  • Potential Farm-Level Effects of Eliminating Direct Payments

    EIB-103, November 16, 2012

    A number of Farm Act proposals call for ending the direct payment program. ERS analysis suggests that for the majority of farms receiving direct payments, this would not result in substantial decline in financial well-being.

  • Price Determination for Corn and Wheat: The Role of Market Factors and Government Programs

    TB-1878, August 02, 1999

    Annual models for U.S. farm prices for corn and wheat are developed based on market factors as well as government agricultural commodity programs. The pricing relationships utilize a stocks-to-use modeling framework to capture the effects of market supply and demand factors on price determination. This formulation is augmented by factors that represent the changing role of agricultural policies, particularly government price support and stockholding programs. For wheat, international market effects as well as wheat feed use and related cross-commodity pricing considerations also are included. Model properties and model performance measures are presented. Additionally, recent price-forecasting applications of the models are discussed. The relatively simple structure of the estimated price models and their small data requirements lend themselves to use in price-forecasting applications in conjunction with market analysis of supply and demand conditions. In particular, the models have been implemented into USDA's short-term market analysis and long-term baseline projections. In these applications, the models provide an analytical framework to forecast prices and a vehicle for making consistency checks among the Department's supply, demand, and price forecasts.

  • Price Premiums Behind Organic Field Crop Profitability

    Amber Waves, September 25, 2015

    Organic corn and soybeans have been profitable, primarily due to the significant price premiums paid for certified organic crops that more than offset the additional economic costs. Organic wheat has been less profitable.

  • Provisions of the Food Security Act of 1985

    AIB-498, April 01, 1986

    The Food Security Act of 1985 (P.L. 99-198) establishes a comprehensive framework within which the Secretary of Agriculture will administer agriculture and food programs from 1986 through 1990. This report describes the Act's provisions for dairy, wool and mohair, wheat, feed grains, cotton, rice, peanuts, soybeans, and sugar (including income and price supports, disaster payments, and acreage reductions); other general commodity provisions; trade; conservation; credit; research, extension, and teaching; food stamps; and marketings. These provisions are compared with earlier legislation.

  • Recent Convergence Performance of Futures and Cash Prices for Corn, Soybeans, and Wheat

    FDS-13L-01, December 30, 2013

    From 2005 to 2011, there were growing discrepancies between expiring futures prices and cash prices for wheat, corn, and soybeans--a problem known as non-convergence. Changes to futures contracts have improved convergence since 2011.

  • Rising Grain Exports by the Former Soviet Union Region

    WHS-13A01, February 04, 2013

    The three major grain-producing countries of the former Soviet Union--Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine--have become a large grain-exporting region. This report examines the causes and provides the 10-year outlook for the region's exports.

  • Rising Wheat Prices Outpace Input Costs

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2009

    Because wheat prices in 2009 remain well above historical levels, 90 percent of U.S. wheat producers are expected to have covered their production costs during 2009/09, despite rising prices of fuel, fertilizer and other inputs.

  • Specialized Wheat Farms Earn Less than Other Farms

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2006

    The U.S. wheat sector is facing decreased demand as consumer preferences have changed and increased competition in export markets. Specialized wheat farms--farms that depend upon wheat for over half of their receipts--are concentrated in the Great Plains and the Pacific Northwest and account for over 40 percent of total wheat production. The long-term viability of specialized wheat farms depends heavily on government payments. Without government payments, fewer than 20 percent of the specialized wheat farms would have had farm revenue greater than economic costs. With government payments, nearly a third of the farms were financially viable.

  • Supply Disruptions Cause Price Spikes in Afghanistan’s Wheat Market

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2010

    Growing conditions in Afghanistan suggest a record 2009/10 wheat harvest and a favorable shortrun outlook. Nevertheless, Afghanistan will remain subject to supply disruptions and price spikes as long as its domestic production is highly variable and weak transportation links limit its ability to diversify sources of imported grain.

  • Support for the Organic Sector Expands in the 2014 Farm Act

    Amber Waves, July 07, 2014

    Organic program provisions in the 2014 Farm Act cover a broad set of objectives—assisting with organic certification costs, expanding organic research and data collection, improving technical assistance and crop insurance, strengthening enforcement of organic regulations, and expanding market opportunities for producers.

  • Taxes on Imports Subsidize Wheat Production in Japan

    Amber Waves, February 01, 2005

    Despite high costs and poor milling quality, tens of thousands of Japan's farms grow wheat, usually on small fields, and production is rising. Farmers receive high prices for wheat because of government subsidies that are financed by import taxes. The result is that millers, processors, retailers, and consumers pay high prices.

  • The 2002 Farm Bill: Provisions and Economic Implications

    AP-022, January 23, 2008

    The Farm Security Act of 2002, which governs Federal farm programs for 2002-07, was signed into law on May 13, 2002. This publication presents an overview of the Act and a side-by-side comparison of 1996-2001 farm legislation and the 2002 Act. For selected programs, information is provided to additional analyses of key changes, program overview, and economic implications.

  • The 2014 Farm Act Agriculture Risk Coverage, Price Loss Coverage, and Supplemental Coverage Option Programs' Effects on Crop Revenue

    ERR-204, January 12, 2016

    ERS examines the underlying mechanics of the Agriculture Risk Coverage, the Price Loss Coverage, and the Supplemental Coverage Option programs to see how they affect producer revenues and risk as well as expected program costs.

  • The Changing Face of the U.S. Grain System

    ERR-35, February 28, 2007

    Specialty grains coming onto the market (e.g., fiber-enriched wheat) are requiring adjustments in the marketing system, including information documentation and management, in order to preserve their added value or prevent accidental commingling with standard grains.

  • The Effects of Premium Subsidies on Demand for Crop Insurance

    ERR-169, July 07, 2014

    Increases to premium subsidies can induce farmers to enroll more land in the crop insurance program, but they primarily encourage them to adopt higher levels of coverage on land already enrolled. Effects vary by region and crop type.

  • The Estimated Amount, Value, and Calories of Postharvest Food Losses at the Retail and Consumer Levels in the United States

    EIB-121, February 20, 2014

    In the United States, 31 percent-or 133 billion pounds-of the 430 billion pounds of the available food supply at the retail and consumer levels in 2010 went uneaten. The estimated value of this food loss was $161.6 billion using retail prices. For the first time, ERS estimated the calories associated with food loss: 141 trillion in 2010, or 1,249 calories per capita per day. Errata: On June 27, 2014, Tables 2, 3, and 5 were updated to correct some incorrect values. The errors did not affect summary totals in the tables or report findings.