Beckman, Jayson; Borchers, Allison; Jones, Carol
Rising energy prices and changing energy and environmental policies have transformed the relationship between the energy and agriculture sectors. Traditionally, the
relationship has been one-way, with agriculture using energy products as an input in production; during the past decade, however, the energy sector’s use of agricultural products as renewable-fuel feedstocks has increased substantially. This report examines both sector and farm-level responses to changing market and policy drivers such as the increased production of biofuel crops and other sources of renewable energy, together with changes in production practices to economize on energy-based inputs
like fertilizer. We provide insight into how farmers have adapted...
Hoppe, Robert; Korb, Penni
Over the past three decades, the number of women-operated farms increased substantially.
In 2007, women operated 14 percent of all U.S. farms, up from 5 percent in 1978. Women-operated farms increased in all sales classes, including farms with annual sales of $1 million or more. Most women farmers operated very small farms in 2007; about three-fourths of their farms had sales of less than $10,000. A small share of their farms (5 percent), however, sold $100,000 or more in farm products. About half of women-operated farms specialized in grazing livestock—beef cattle, horses, and sheep or goats. In addition to a principal...
Hoppe, Robert A.; MacDonald, James M.
The USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) farm typology was originally developed to classify farms into relatively homogeneous groups based on their gross farm sales, the primary occupation of their operators, and whether the farms are family farms. Nearly 15 years have passed since ERS first released its farm typology; in this report, we update it to reflect commodity price inflation and the shift of production to larger farms. We also make a technical change, switching the measure of farm size from gross farm sales to gross cash farm income (GCFI), the total revenue received by a farm business in a...
Martinez, Stephen W.
This study tracks food products introduced from 1989 to 2010 to better understand the
adoption of voluntary health- and nutrition-related claims by companies. New food products introduced with health- and nutrition-related claims accounted for 43.1 percent of all new U.S. food product introductions in 2010, up from 25.2 percent in 2001 and 34.6 percent in 1989. The reduction in health- and nutrition-related claims from 1989 to 2001 followed enactment of the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990 (NLEA). The NLEA required most food products to carry the Nutrition Facts label and established labeling rules for the use of voluntary nutrient...
Williamson, James M.; Durst, Ron L.; Farrigan, Tracey L.
Several proposals calling for fundamental reform of the Federal income tax system have
been put forth, including a report by the co-chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal
Responsibility. The primary elements of reform—eliminating tax preferences, restructuring capital gains and dividend tax rates, lowering rates on individual income, and reducing the number of tax brackets—could have a signifi cant impact on the after-tax income and well-being of both farm businesses and rural households. This report uses published and special tabulation data obtained from the Internal Revenue Service, farm-level data from USDA’s Agricultural Resource Management Survey, and data from the
American Housing Survey to...
Lin, Biing-Hwan; Guthrie, Joanne F.
Food prepared away from home (FAFH)—whether eaten in restaurants, fast-food and\r other locations, or as take-out or delivery to be eaten at home—is now a routine part of the diets of most Americans, accounting for 41 percent of food expenditures and 32 percent of caloric intake. This report analyzes data on individuals 2 years of age and older from two national food consumption surveys (one conducted in 1977-78 and another in 2005-08) to assess changes in the consumption and nutritional quality of FAFH versus food prepared at home (FAH). In the past three decades, FAH has changed more in response...
Foreman, Linda F.
Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) data for 2007 highlight the production\r practices and costs related to the cotton enterprise, as well as the characteristics of\r U.S. cotton farm operations. Combining ARMS data with ERS cost-of-cotton production\r estimates for 2007 provides a 1-year snapshot of cotton producers. For instance, low-cost producers reported higher yields and lower levels of major inputs per planted cotton acre than mid- and high-cost producers in 2007. Southwest producers accounted for a larger share of the smaller U.S. cotton crop in 2007 due to their lower cotton production costs and lack of alternative crops. Most U.S. cotton...
Carlson, Andrea; Frazao, Elizabeth
Most Americans consume diets that do not meet Federal dietary recommendations. A common explanation is that healthier foods are more expensive than less healthy foods. To investigate this assumption, the authors compare prices of healthy and less healthy foods using three different price metrics: the price of food energy ($/calorie), the price of edible weight ($/100 edible grams), and the price of an average portion ($/average portion). They also calculate the cost of meeting the recommendations for each food group. For all metrics except the price of food energy, the authors find that healthy foods cost less than less healthy...
Ifft, Jennifer; Nickerson, Cynthia J.; Kuethe, Todd H.; You, Chengxia
Since 2003, direct payments have accounted for a signifi cant portion of farm program
payments. If direct payments were eliminated, many agricultural producers would be affected, both through the loss of income and potential declines in land values and rental rates. This report considers the potential contribution of direct payments to farm revenues and land values across farm commodities and regions and estimates the magnitude of the financial impact on participating farms should direct payments be eliminated. Direct payments are highest relative to crop revenues in parts of the Northern Plains, Southern Plains, Mountain, Delta, and Southeast regions, and the estimated...
Vogel, Stephen J.
Almost a third of U.S. farm households generate income by engaging in business
ventures independent of commodity production, with distinctly different community and household benefits. In 2007, 686,600 farm households engaged in 791,000 income-generating activities distinct from commodity production, creating $26.7 billion in household income. Onfarm diversification activities like agritourism and off-farm business ventures each accounted for about half of these activities, but off-farm businesses generated about 80 percent of total alternative (i.e., noncommodity) business income earned by farm households, creating the largest impact on the local economy. Off-farm businesses operated
by farm households contributed an estimated $54.6 billion in value-added income...
Schaible, Glenn D.; Aillery, Marcel P.
This report relies on fi ndings from several national surveys and current literature to assess water resource use and conservation measures within the U.S. irrigated crop sector. U.S. agriculture accounts for 80-90 percent of the Nation’s consumptive water use (water lost to the environment by evaporation, crop transpiration, or incorporation into products. Expanding water demands to support population and economic growth, environmental flows (water within wetlands, rivers, and groundwater systems needed to maintain natural
ecosystems), and energy-sector growth, combined with Native American water-right claims and supply/demand shifts expected with climate change, will present new challenges for agricultural water use and conservation,...
Hanson, Kenneth; Oliveira, Victor
This study, based on 1976-2010 data, examines the relationship between U.S. economic conditions and participation in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s five largest nutrition assistance programs.
It also describes how changes in program policy and other factors may have influenced this relationship. The five programs are: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly the Food Stamp Program), Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC),
National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP), and Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). Although SNAP’s reputation as one of the Nation’s primary counter-cyclical assistance programs—expanding during economic downturns and contracting...
Osteen, Craig D.; Vasavada, Utpal
Agricultural Resources and Environmental Indicators, 2012, describes trends in economic, structural, resource, and environmental indicators in the agriculture sector, focusing on changes since the release of Agricultural Resources and Environmental Indicators, 2006. These indicators are useful to assess important changes in U.S. agriculture—the industry’s development; its environmental effects; and the implications for economic, social, and environmental sustainability. This report tracks key resources, including natural, produced, and management resources, that are used in and affected by agricultural production, as well as structural changes
in farm production and the economic conditions and policies that influence agricultural resource use and its environmental impacts. Each...
Dyck, John H.; Woolverton, Andrea E.; Rangkuti, Fahwani Yuliati
Indonesia’s food market has changed in response to a changing and growing economy. The report examines changes in the food consumption pattern and measures the growth of modern food retail chains, packaged food purchases, and food imports in the world’s fourth-most-populous country. The evidence suggests that Indonesians are moving toward modern global purchasing and consumption patterns, but more slowly than in some comparable countries. Barriers to foreign and domestic commerce, affecting the development of modern food retail supply chains, are important constraints on food market change in Indonesia. Further change in Indonesia’s retail food sector will help determine future growth...
In recent years, direct payments—a type of farm commodity program payment—have
made up a large share of Federal agriculture assistance that could be withheld from
farmers who fail to comply with highly erodible land conservation (conservation compliance and sodbuster) or wetland conservation (swampbuster) provisions, known collectively as environmental compliance requirements. If direct payments are sharply reduced or eliminated to help reduce the Federal budget defi cit, compliance incentives would be reduced on many farms, potentially increasing environmental quality problems. Some farmers will still be subject to compliance through existing Federal agricultural programs(e.g., conservation or disaster programs) or programs that may succeed direct...
White, T. Kirk; Hoppe, Robert A.
The distribution of commodity-related payments and Federal crop insurance indemnities to U.S. farmers has shifted to larger farms as more and more U.S. agricultural production is done on those farms. Since the operators of larger farms tend to have higher household incomes than other farm operators, commodity-related program payments and Federal crop insurance indemnities also have shifted to higher income households. By 2009, half of commodity-related program payments went to farms operated by households earning over $89,540, a quarter went to farms operated by households with incomes greater than $209,000 and 10 percent went to farms operated by households with...
Ollinger, Michael; Muth, Mary K.; Karns, Shawn A.; Choice, Zanethia
Food safety technology can increase a company’s capacity to prevent a foodborne contamination. A food safety audit—a quality control tool in which an auditor observes whether a plant’s processing practices and technologies are compatible with good food safety practices—can indicate how effectively food safety technology is being used. Fast food restaurants, grocery stores, and other major customers of meat and poultry processing plants conduct their own audits or hire auditors to assess the soundness of a plant’s processing operation. Meat and poultry plants can also audit themselves as a way to help maintain process control. In this report, we document...
Wallander, Steven; Claassen, Roger; Nickerson, Cynthia J.
The recent 9-billion-gallon increase in corn-based ethanol production, which resulted
from a combination of rising gasoline prices and a suite of Federal bioenergy policies,
provides evidence of how farmers altered their land-use decisions in response to
increased demand for corn. As some forecasts had suggested, corn acreage increased
mostly on farms that previously specialized in soybeans. Other farms, however, offset
this shift by expanding soybean production. Farm-level data reveal that the simultaneous
net expansion of corn and soybean acreage resulted from a reduction in cotton acreage, a shift from uncultivated hay to cropland, and the expansion of double cropping (consecutively producing two crops of either like...
Todd, Jessica E.; Leibtag, Ephraim S.; Penberthy, Corttney
Although healthy foods can be affordable, if less healthy foods are cheaper, individuals may have an economic incentive to consume a less healthful diet. Using the Quarterly Food-at-Home Price Database, we explore whether a select set of healthy foods (whole grains, dark green vegetables, orange vegetables, whole fruit, skim and 1% milk, fruit juice, and bottled water) are more expensive than less healthy alternatives. We find that not all healthy foods are more expensive than less healthy alternatives; skim and 1% milk are less expensive than whole and 2% milk and bottled water is generally less expensive than carbonated nonalcoholic...
Foreman, Linda F.; McBride, William D.
The Fair and Equitable Tobacco Reform Act of 2004 eliminated tobacco quotas and tobacco price supports and allowed producers to plant any amount or type of tobacco regardless of geographic location. The authors found that flue-cured tobacco producers made greater adjustments
to their operations after the buyout than did burley tobacco producers. Flue-cured tobacco producers were more likely to increase tobacco acres per farm, pushing up the tobacco acreage per farm at a faster rate compared with burley tobacco producers. Flue-cured producers also were more likely to invest in their tobacco enterprises and invested more per farm after 2004. As...