The Economic Research Service: A Wealth of Data and Resources
Sound and objective data and statistics help assess the health of the food, agriculture, and rural sectors of the U.S. economy. Data support ERS research to inform and enhance public and private decisionmaking on economic and policy issues related to agriculture, food, the environment, and rural development.
ERS Is in the Forefront of Providing Data
All of our public data are available free, online. Our website contains data selected to be relevant to policymakers and decisionmakers on a variety of topics and issues—notably animal products, crops, farm economy, farm practices and management, food and nutrition assistance, food choices and health, food markets and prices, food safety, international markets and trade, natural resources and the environment, and rural economy and population. We provide data in various forms and formats to suit users’ needs, as well as tools to enable exploring the data—ranging from chart collections to data files, queriable applications, and interactive mapping. Some highlights:
- Food Access Research Atlas: mapping tool that allows users to investigate multiple indicators of foodstore access
- Agricultural Baseline Database: longrun (10-year) projections for major field crops and livestock
- Agricultural Productivity in the U.S.: estimates of productivity growth in the U.S. farm sector
- ARMS Farm Financial and Crop Production Practices: information on the financial condition, production practices, resource use, and economic well-being of farm households (national and 15 selected States)
- Feed Grains Database: statistics on feed grains (corn, grain sorghum, barley, and oats), hay, and related items
- Food Availability (Per Capita) Data System: estimates of per capita food and nutrient availability and food loss at the retail and consumer levels
- Food Security in the United States: statistics on the extent and severity of food insecurity in the United States for households and households with children
- Charts of Note: delivered daily via email to PCs, smartphones, and tablets, these daily charts provide and interpret data in innovative ways—improving the reach and accessibility of important research findings
Some of our public data sets are based on tabulations of confidential micro-level data. ERS addresses more detailed data needs by expanding specialized access while protecting data confidentiality and quality:
- ERS partners with the National Opinion Research Center to provide access to confidential micro data in a secure environment for qualified analysts working on approved research projects. This partnership has improved the efficiency and effectiveness with which sensitive Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) data are managed and accessed.
- Special requests and tabulations
- Formal data-sharing agreements
We’re Committed to Sharing
Engage users. Whether for products under development, or following release on the website, we seek stakeholder input and provide mechanisms for feedback. ERS participates in a number of venues, such as at the annual Data Users’ Conference, where we update data users on recent and pending changes in various statistical and market analysis programs important to U.S. agriculture. We seek comments and input on these programs, in conjunction with other sister agencies involved in USDA commodity estimates.
Expand access. ERS participates with other USDA statistical agencies (Agricultural Marketing Service, Foreign Agricultural Service, National Agricultural Statistics Service, and World Agricultural Outlook Board) in USDA’s Economics, Statistics, and Market Information System, housed at Cornell University’s Mann Library. This collaborative system maintains an online repository of current and historical economic and statistical information (over 2,500 reports and data sets) covering U.S. and international agriculture and related topics. Links to ERS data products also may be found on data.gov.
Forge partnerships. As a principal federal statistical agency, ERS plays an important leadership role in the statistical, economic, and scientific data communities. ERS co-chairs the Interagency Council on Agricultural and Rural Statistics (ICARS) as well as several ICARS Working Groups such as the Land Use/Land Cover Working Group. ERS also chairs the Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology (FCSM) Administrative Records Subcommittee’s Informed Consent Working Group.
Plans for the Future
ERS will continue to invest to ensure high quality data products that meet OMB guidelines and practices of statistical organizations. We are committed to furthering the goals of Open Data and to providing valuable, relevant, and accessible data to meet the highest priority needs of our customers and stakeholders.