Publications

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  • Indicators

    Amber Waves, February 01, 2006

    Farm, Rural, Natural Resources and Food and Fiber Sector Indicators section - February 2006

  • Indicators

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2007

    Indicators tables from the April 2007 issue of Amber Waves.

  • Indicators

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2006

    Farm, Rural, Natural Resources and Food and Fiber Sector Indicators section - April 2006

  • Indicators

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2010

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

  • Indicators

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2008

    Amber Waves presents the broad scope of ERS's research and analysis. The magazine covers the economics of agriculture, food and nutrition, the food industry, trade, rural America, and farm-related environmental topics. Available on the Internet and in print, Amber Waves is issued in print five times a year (February, April, June, September, and November). The Internet edition, or "eZine," includes links to web-only resources.

  • Is U.S. Agricultural Productivity Growth Slowing?

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2010

    Long-term agricultural productivity is driven by innovations in animal and crop genetics, chemicals, equipment, and farm organization. Public agricultural research funding, which historically has driven innovation, faces budgetary pressure in the U.S., therefore raising concerns about current and future U.S. productivity growth.

  • Issues and Prospects in Corn, Soybeans, and Wheat Futures Markets

    FDS-09G-01, August 05, 2009

    The past 5 years have seen large increases in trading of corn, soybean, and wheat futures contracts by nontraditional traders, a trend that coincided with historic price increases for these commodities. These events have raised questions about whether changes in the composition of traders participating have contributed to movements in commodity prices beyond the effects of market fundamentals. Evidence suggests the link between futures and cash prices for some commodity markets may have weakened (poor convergence), making it more difficult for traditional traders to use futures markets to manage risk. This report discusses the role and objective of new futures traders compared with those of traditional futures traders and seeks to determine if the composition of traders in futures markets has contributed to convergence problems. Market activity is analyzed by focusing on positions of both traditional and new market traders, price levels, price volatility, and volume and open interest trends. Convergence of futures and cash prices is examined, along with implications and prospects for risk management by market participants. The report also discusses the implications for market performance and the regulatory response of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

  • Land Acquisition and Transfer in U.S. Agriculture

    Amber Waves, August 25, 2016

  • Large Family Farms Continue To Dominate U.S. Agricultural Production

    Amber Waves, March 06, 2017

    Large-scale family farms—those with at least $1 million in annual sales—made up only 2.9 percent of all U.S. farms in 2015 but contributed 42 percent of total production.

  • Latest Indicators Point to Continued Strength of Farm Finances

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2007

    U.S. agriculture relied entirely on growth in total factor productivity (TFP) rather than input accumulation to expand output between 1948 and 2004. TFP growth in agriculture accounted for 12 percent of all TFP growth in the U.S. private economy between 1960 and 2004.

  • Livestock Forage Disaster Program Payments Increase in 2014

    Amber Waves, February 02, 2015

    ERS’s current farm income forecast for 2014 includes $4.3 billion in Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) payments, an almost 700 percent increase from total LFP payments made during the previous 5 years combined. LFP, which is accounted for in farm income accounting under “ad hoc and disaster assistance payments,” is expected to be over 40 percent of total direct payments.

  • Livestock Gross Margin-Dairy Insurance: An Assessment of Risk Management and Potential Supply Impacts

    ERR-163, March 03, 2014

    Researchers from University of Kentucky and ERS find use of USDA's LGM-Dairy insurance reduces producers' risk but has little effect on the size of the average margin and only a modest potential to induce greater milk supplies.

  • Local Food Systems: Concepts, Impacts, and Issues

    ERR-97, May 17, 2010

    A series of coordinated case studies compares the structure, size, and performance of local food supply chains with those of mainstream supply chains in delivering locally produced food to consumers.

  • Local Foods and Farm Business Survival and Growth

    Amber Waves, March 07, 2016

    Data from USDA’s 2007 and 2012 Agricultural Censuses show that farmers who market food directly to consumers have a greater chance of remaining in business than similarly sized farms who market through traditional channels. While farmers who directly market to consumers are more likely to continue farming than those who do not, their businesses expand at a slower rate.

  • Long-Term Agricultural Productivity Growth Lowers Agricultural Commodity Prices, Short-Term Productivity Changes Contribute to Price Variability

    Amber Waves, April 06, 2015

    To explain the rise of agricultural commodity prices, discussion has focused on demand-side factors, such as the growing demand for food in emerging countries and the increased use of crops in biofuel production. However, prices also are affected by supply-side factors such as unexpected increase or decline in agricultural productivity growth or oil prices.

  • Lowering the Income Cap for Farm Payments Would Affect Few Farmers

    Amber Waves, September 03, 2007

    Policymakers have proposed lowering the $2.5-million income eligibility cap for farm program payments. An ERS analysis of a $200,000 adjusted gross income cap, the lowest proposed cap, shows that about 1.5 percent of all farms potentially would be affected by a $200,000 cap.

  • Major Uses of Land in the United States, 2007

    EIB-89, December 19, 2011

    ERS complies the only accounting of all major uses of public and private land in the United States. The report compares national and regional trends in land use with earlier estimates.

  • Managing Agricultural Risk Under Different Scenarios: Selected 2014 Farm Act Programs

    Amber Waves, February 06, 2017

    The 2014 Farm Act introduced several new programs for crop and livestock producers. A recent ERS study analyzed how these programs provide options for risk management under different scenarios.

  • Managing Environmental Risk at the Rural-Urban Fringe

    Amber Waves, September 03, 2007

    Concerns over environmental quality by nonfarm residents in close proximity to farms may influence farmers' choice of management practices. Detailed analysis of corn farms yields insight into this relationship and its implications for the use of cropland best management practices.

  • Managing Glyphosate Resistance May Sustain Its Efficacy and Increase Long-Term Returns to Corn and Soybean Production

    Amber Waves, May 04, 2015

    Widespread use of the glyphosate on major crops, particularly soybeans, has contributed to the evolution of weed resistance to this herbicide. Managing glyphosate resistance (by using other herbicides) is more cost-effective than ignoring resistance, and returns are greater when neighboring farmers also manage resistance.