Publications

Sort by: Title | Date
  • Tax Policy Can Alter Farm Asset Investment Decisions

    Amber Waves, November 06, 2017

    Farming requires a substantial investment in assets such as barns, machinery, and equipment. Two IRS provisions, section 179 and bonus depreciation, allow farms (and all businesses) to deduct the cost of these assets in their first year of service. These deductions can be used together to accelerate the recovery of the asset’s cost, thereby reducing a farmer’s taxable income sooner than otherwise.

  • Vegetables and Pulses Outlook: October 2017

    VGS-359, October 27, 2017

    Flooding, hurricanes, and drought disrupt otherwise strong vegetable and dry pulse markets.

  • Selected Charts from Ag and Food Statistics: Charting the Essentials, October 2017

    AP-078, October 18, 2017

    Examples from ERS's updated collection of 70 charts/maps covering key U.S. statistics on ag production and trade, farm income, food spending and prices, food security, rural communities, and natural resources and the environment.

  • Study Finds Crop Insurance Has Small Effect on Environmental Quality

    Amber Waves, September 05, 2017

    Crop insurance can help protect farmers from large losses resulting from crop failure or unusually large drops in crop prices. Subsidized crop insurance makes crop production less risky and more profitable. Recent ERS research suggests that crop insurance has small effects on environmental quality in the Corn Belt region.

  • Measurement of U.S. Agricultural Productivity: A 2014 Review of Current Statistics and Proposals for Change

    CCR-69, August 29, 2017

    The USDA Economic Research Service has developed national and state-level agricultural productivity measures. These productivity measures are widely referred to and used, and international sectoralcomparisons rely on the ERS production accounts for foundation methodology in constructing agricultural productivity accounts in other countries. ERS engaged an external review committee to examine the data sources, methodology, ongoing research, documentation, and reporting of the ERS agricultural productivity accounts. This report represents the outcome of that review.

  • Gathering Experimental Evidence To Improve the Design of Agricultural Programs

    Amber Waves, August 17, 2017

    Policymakers considering new programs, or novel ways of delivering program services, often have limited information on how actual or potential participants will react to the changes. Economic experiments can offer evidence to help inform these design decisions, and may lead to improvements in existing programs or policies that benefit farmers and others.

  • Examining Farm Sector and Farm Household Income

    Amber Waves, August 07, 2017

    The U.S. farm sector represents about 2.1 million farms. Together, these farms operate more than 900 million acres and support more than 6 million people living in the associated farm households. This article discusses the long-term trends in farm sector and farm household income, and includes estimates for 2016.

  • Applications for the Noninsured Crop Disaster Program Increased After the Agricultural Act of 2014

    Amber Waves, July 03, 2017

    A recent ERS report examined impacts of the Buy-Up coverage addition to the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) on expected payments, producers' risk reduction, and NAP enrollment by type of producer and crops.

  • Farmers Employ Strategies To Reduce Risk of Drought Damages

    Amber Waves, June 05, 2017

    Farmers can improve their drought resilience by making different crop choices, enrolling in crop insurance and other farm risk management programs, and investing in soil health. USDA conservation programs—intended primarily to improve on-site and off-site environmental quality—may also help producers adapt to drought risk.

  • Selected charts from Ag and Food Statistics: Charting the Essentials, 2017

    AP-075, April 28, 2017

    This collection of 34 charts and maps presents examples of key statistics on the farm sector, food spending and prices, food security, rural communities, agricultural production and trade, the interaction of agriculture and natural resources, and more found in ERS's regularly updated web product, Ag and Food Statistics: Charting the Essentials.

  • Vegetables and Pulses Outlook: April 2017

    VGS-358, April 28, 2017

    On a per capita basis, the total volume of vegetables and pulses averaged 383 pounds in 2016—up 2 percent from last year.

  • Mergers and Competition in Seed and Agricultural Chemical Markets

    Amber Waves, April 03, 2017

    Under recent merger proposals, the six global firms that dominate private agricultural chemical and seed research and production would be reduced to four. The mergers are subject to antitrust reviews in both the U.S. and the EU. The reviews will evaluate the likely effects of the mergers on specific seed and agricultural chemical markets, prices, and innovation.

  • Dedicating Agricultural Land to Energy Crops Would Shift Land Use

    Amber Waves, April 03, 2017

    Crops dedicated for use in energy production, such as switchgrass, are potential renewable sources for liquid fuels or bioelectricity. However, demand for switchgrass is low at the current cost of growing and converting it into useful energy, so markets do not presently exist for large-scale use of this resource.

  • Nearly 14,000 USDA Microloans Issued Between 2013 and 2015

    Amber Waves, March 06, 2017

    In 2013-15, 89 percent of USDA/FSA Microloans went to recipients from targeted groups (beginning farmers and ranchers, women, minorities, and veterans). Also, in 2013-15, new FSA direct loan borrowers received a majority of Microloans.

  • 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.

  • Farm Households Experience High Levels of Income Volatility

    Amber Waves, February 22, 2017

    For many farm households, income varies considerably from year to year and may even be negative; farm household income volatility is driven mostly by farm income, which is more volatile than off-farm income. Total household income is more volatile on larger farms than on smaller farms, and crop farms have more volatile household income than livestock farms.

  • Farm Household Income Volatility: An Analysis Using Panel Data From a National Survey

    ERR-226, February 22, 2017

    Income of commercial farm households is generally more volatile than for nonfarm households. Farm size, commodities raised, operator characteristics, and reliance on Federal programs all play roles in farm household income volatility.

  • 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.

  • Energy Consumption and Production in Agriculture

    Amber Waves, February 06, 2017

    A new ERS infographic looks at energy production and consumption in U.S. agriculture.

  • USDA Microloans for Farmers: Participation Patterns and Effects of Outreach

    ERR-222, December 30, 2016

    In 2013-15, 89 percent of USDA/FSA Microloans went to recipients from targeted groups (beginning farmers and ranchers, women, minorities, and veterans). Also, in 2013-15, new FSA direct loan borrowers received a majority of Microloans.