Publications

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  • 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.

  • Major Uses of Land in the United States, 2012

    EIB-178, August 28, 2017

    ERS presents findings from the most recent (2012) inventory of U.S. major land uses, the only consistent accounting of all major uses of public and private land in all 50 States.

  • Conservation Compliance: How Farmer Incentives Are Changing in the Crop Insurance Era

    ERR-234, July 27, 2017

    Highly Erodible Land Conservation (HELC) contributed significantly to soil erosion reduction. For erosion due to rainfall, the average erosion reduction on land subject to HELC was 40 percent more than on similar land not subject to HELC.

  • Conservation Compliance in the Crop Insurance Era

    Amber Waves, July 27, 2017

    Conservation Compliance, which links eligibility for farm program benefits to soil and wetland conservation, has significantly reduced soil erosion on highly erodible cropland. The 2014 Farm Act eliminated some benefits subject to Compliance under the 2008 Act (e.g., Direct Payments) but also linked some benefits that were not subject to Compliance (e.g., crop insurance premium subsidies).

  • Declines in Pollinator Forage Suitability Were Concentrated in the Midwest, the Over-Summering Grounds for Many Honeybees

    Amber Waves, July 03, 2017

    While most agricultural commodities are wind-pollinated, about one-third of total U.S. food consumption either require or benefit from insect pollination. Managed honeybees alone provide over $350 million worth of pollination services each year. Recently, however, the health of pollinators has suffered.

  • 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.

  • Understanding Irrigated Agriculture

    Amber Waves, June 05, 2017

    The irrigation of agricultural crops accounts for most of the Nation’s water consumption. To better understand irrigation characteristics, such as acreage and water use, USDA conducts the Farm and Ranch Irrigation Survey (FRIS) every 5 years. Most irrigated farms are low-sales operations, but large farms use most of the water.

  • 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.

  • International Trade and Deforestation: Potential Policy Effects via a Global Economic Model

    ERR-229, April 27, 2017

    Globally, removing tariffs on forest-risk products (beef, soybean, palm oil, forest products) could increase deforestation, while banning exports of illegally logged wood could reduce tropical deforestation.

  • Growing Organic Demand Provides High-Value Opportunities for Many Types of Producers

    Amber Waves, February 06, 2017

    In 2015, the Organic Trade Association estimated U.S. organic retail sales at $43.3 billion, showing double-digit growth during most years since 2000, when USDA set national organic standards. Since setting national organic standards, USDA has streamlined trade arrangements with multiple foreign governments to expand international markets for U.S. organic producers.

  • 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.

  • Precision Agriculture Technologies and Factors Affecting Their Adoption

    Amber Waves, December 05, 2016

    Three common precision agricultural information technologies are global positioning system (GPS) guidance systems, GPS yield and soil monitors/maps, and variable-rate input application technologies (VRT). Research shows these technologies had similar positive, but small, impacts on corn profits of between 1 and 3 percent in 2010.

  • Share of Farm Businesses Receiving Lease and Royalty Income From Energy Production Varies Across Regions

    Amber Waves, November 07, 2016

    In 2012, 35 percent of active farm and ranch land was in counties overlaying a shale play (shale counties). In 2014, about 6 percent of U.S. farm businesses averaged $56,000 in lease and royalty payments from energy production.

  • Selected Charts 2016, Ag and Food Statistics: Charting the Essentials

    AP-073, October 18, 2016

    Examples from ERS's updated collection of 70 charts/maps, each with accompanying text, covering key statistics on farming, food spending and prices, food security, rural communities, interaction of agriculture and the environment, and more.

  • Comparing Participation in Nutrient Trading by Livestock Operations to Crop Producers in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

    ERR-216, September 29, 2016

    Nutrient trading is a strategy in which polluters with high costs of reducing pollution can pay farmers to limit nutrient runoff into the Chesapeake Bay. But nutrient trading is more complex for livestock operations than for crop farms.

  • An Economic Perspective on Soil Health

    Amber Waves, September 06, 2016

    Soil health builds upon soil conservation by encouraging farmers to manage soil as a living ecosystem, in addition to reducing soil erosion. Healthy soils can have benefits to society and to farmers. USDA incentivizes farmers to adopt soil health practices through programs such as EQIP and CSP.

  • No-Till or Strip-Till Use Varies by Region

    Amber Waves, February 01, 2016

    No-till and strip-till are two of many tillage methods farmers use to plant crops. During 2010-11, roughly 56 percent of all U.S. land used for corn, cotton, soybeans, and wheat was located on farms that used no-till/strip-till on at least some portion of this cropland.

  • Climate Change, Water Scarcity, and Adaptation in the U.S. Fieldcrop Sector

    ERR-201, November 25, 2015

    U.S. irrigated fieldcrop acreage, and water used, are projected to decline with long-term climate change, due to factors including changes in precipitation, shifts in surface-water availability, and temperature-stressed crop growth.

  • Climate Change, Water Scarcity, and Adaptation

    Amber Waves, November 25, 2015

    Irrigation is widely viewed as an important adaptation to shifting production conditions under climate change. This analysis projects, however, that irrigated fieldcrop acreage will decline as a result of climate change over the 2020 to 2080 study period. Factors driving the shifting relative profitability of irrigation under climate change vary by region.