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40 publications, sorted by date 

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Amber Waves, March 04, 2014
The United Nations (UN) has designated 2014 the “International Year of Family Farming” with a primary focus on small farms that depend on a family for most labor. Farms in the U.S. are often much larger than the farms in developing countries that are the primary focus of the UN’s efforts, but farms ...
ERR-162, February 20, 2014
Genetically engineered (GE) crops (mainly corn, cotton, and soybeans) were planted on 169 million acres in 2013, about half of U.S. land used for crops. Their adoption has saved farmers time, reduced insecticide use, and enabled the use of less toxic herbicides. Research and development of new GE va...
EIB-117, September 06, 2013
Most farm households earn all of their income from nonfarm sources and even those operating larger farms often have substantial nonfarm income. This study finds that when farm operators and their spouses work off-farm, they are most likely to hold a management or professional occupation.
EB-23, June 20, 2013
Rural Internet and broadband adoption rates still lag behind urban rates in the United States. This report presents data on urban and rural household Internet and broadband subscription rates and explores some of the primary causes for lower rates in rural areas.
EIB-111, April 29, 2013
The share of U.S. farms operated by women nearly tripled over the past three decades. Using Census of Agriculture data from 1978 through 2007, this report provides detailed information about women farmers and the types of farms they operate.
EIB-110, April 04, 2013
Nearly 15 years have passed since ERS first released its farm typology; this report updates it to reflect commodity price inflation and the shift of production to larger farms.
Amber Waves, April 01, 2013
Farm households that also operate nonfarm businesses have accounted for roughly 18 percent of U.S. farm households since the 1990s. In 2007, farmer-owned nonfarm businesses employed over 800,000 nonfarm workers and contributed an estimated $55 billion to their local communities’ gross county product...
Amber Waves, February 21, 2013
The complexity of the current tax code, together with perceptions that it distorts economically efficient decisions and is inequitable, has led to calls for fundamental tax reform.
EIB-107, February 04, 2013
An analysis of the potential impact of tax reform proposals on farm businesses and rural households in the United States.
EB-22, January 30, 2013
Beginning farmers and ranchers have some unique characteristics, including more education and more off-farm jobs, compared with established farmers and ranchers.
EIB-101, October 31, 2012
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 product...
Amber Waves, March 01, 2012
As agricultural production has shifted to farms with larger sales, so, too, has the distribution of commodity-related program payments. Unless the design of commodity programs changes substantially, current payment trends are likely to continue.
EIB-92, February 22, 2012
Because farm real estate represents much of the value of U.S. farm sector assets, large swings in farmland values can affect the financial well-being of agricultural producers. This report examines both macroeconomic (interest rates, prices of alternative investments) and parcel-specific (soil quali...
AIS-91, December 14, 2011
Net farm income is forecast at $100.9 billion in 2011, up 28 percent from 2010 and 50 percent higher than the 10-year average of $67.4 billion for 2001-2010. Net cash income at $109.8 billion would be a nominal record, 19 percent above the prior record attained in 2010. Net value added is expected t...
EIB-88, December 02, 2011
Innovations in farm organization, business arrangements, and production practices have allowed farmers to produce more with less. Fewer labor hours and less land are used today than 30 years ago, and practices such as the use of genetically engineered seeds and no-till have dampened increases in mac...
EIB-87, November 22, 2011
This report provides a classification of types of overlap and a synthesis of ERS research about overlapping payments in the U.S. farm safety net, including how to identify and measure overlap among crop revenue insurance, ACRE, SURE, and ad hoc disaster assistance. Future research avenues are sugges...
AIS-90, December 15, 2010
Net farm income is forecast at $81.6 billion in 2010, up 31 percent from 2009 and 26 percent higher than the 10-year average of $64.8 billion for 2000 to 2009. Net cash income at $92.5 billion would be a nominal record, 2.3 percent above the prior record attained in 2008. Net value added is expected...
EIB-66, July 26, 2010
Most U.S. farms—98 percent in 2007—are family operations, and even the largest farms are predominantly family run. Large-scale family farms and nonfamily farms account for 12 percent of U.S farms but 84 percent of the value of production. In contrast, small family farms make up most of the U.S. farm...
EIB-67, July 26, 2010
American farms vary widely in size and other characteristics, but farming is still an industry of family businesses. Ninety-eight percent of farms are family farms, and they account for 82 percent of farm production. Small family farms make up most of the U.S. farm count and hold the majority of far...
EIB-63, February 18, 2010
Ninety-one percent of U.S. farms are classified as small—gross cash farm income (GCFI) of less than $250,000. About 60 percent of these small farms are very small, generating GCFI of less than $10,000. These very small noncommercial farms, in some respects, exist independently of the farm economy be...
ERR-91, February 12, 2010
Household economic well-being can be gauged by the financial resources (income/wealth) available to the household or by the standard of living enjoyed by household members (consumption). Based on responses to USDA's annual Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS), a joint effort by the Economi...
AIS-88, December 22, 2009
All three measures of U.S. farm income are projected to decline in 2009—net farm income is projected to decline by 34.5 percent, net cash income by 28.4 percent, and net value added by 20 percent. Considerable uncertainty surrounds the forecasts of farm assets, debt, and equity in 2009, given the vo...
Amber Waves, September 01, 2009
Rural households have higher rates of mortality, disability, and chronic disease than urban households, and less access to affordable, nearby, high-quality health care. Adoption of new health information technologies, promoted by a $19 billion allocation in the 2009 economic stimulus package, holds ...
EIB-57, August 17, 2009
Rural residents have higher rates of age-adjusted mortality, disability, and chronic disease than their urban counterparts, though mortality and disability rates vary more by region than by metro status. Contributing negatively to the health status of rural residents are their lower socioeconomic st...
EIB-53, May 15, 2009
USDA defines beginning farmers and ranchers as those who have operated a farm or ranch for 10 years or less either as a sole operator or with others who have operated a farm or ranch for 10 years or less. Beginning farmers tend to be younger than established farmers and to operate smaller farms or r...
EIB-54, May 15, 2009
Significant changes in Federal individual income and estate tax policies have occurred over the last 10 years. Analysis suggests that changes in Federal tax provisions affecting both individual and business income taxes have reduced average tax rates for all farm households, resulting in the lowest ...
EIB-49, March 20, 2009
Meeting agricultural policy and statistical goals requires a definition of U.S. agriculture’s basic unit, the farm. However, these goals can be at odds with one another. USDA defines “farm” very broadly to comprehensively measure agricultural activity. Consequently, most establishments classified as...
EIB-24, June 01, 2007
U.S. farms are diverse, ranging from small retirement and residential farms to enterprises with annual sales in the millions. Nevertheless, most U.S. farms—98 percent in 2004—are family farms. Even the largest farms tend to be family farms. Large-scale family farms and nonfamily farms account for 10...
EIB-26, June 01, 2007
American farms encompass a wide range of sizes, ownership structures, and business types, but most farms are still family farms. Family farms account for 98 percent of farms and 85 percent of production. Although most farms are small and own most of the farmland, production has shifted to very large...
ERR-36, February 01, 2007
The economic well-being of most U.S. farm households depends on income from both onfarm and off-farm activities. Consequently, for many farm households, economic decisions (including technology adoption and other production decisions) are likely to be shaped by the allocation of managerial time amon...
EIB-12, May 15, 2006
Most farms in the United States—98 percent in 2003—are family farms. They are organized as proprietorships, partnerships, or family corporations. Even the largest farms tend to be family farms. Very large family farms account for a small share of farms but a large—and growing—share of farm sales. Sm...
EIB-13, May 15, 2006
American farms vary widely in size and other characteristics, but farming is still an industry of family businesses. Ninety-eight percent of farms are family farms, and they account for 86 percent of farm production. Very small farms are growing in number, and small family farms continue to own most...
EB-6, March 14, 2006
Crop production is shifting to much larger farms. Since government commodity payments reflect production volumes for program commodities, payments are also shifting to larger farms. In turn, the operators of very large farms have substantially higher household incomes than other farm households, and...
EB-7, March 14, 2006
Farm subsidy programs were introduced in the 1930s largely due to concern for chronically low, and highly variable, incomes of US farm households. Today commodity-based support programs are still prominent, though income and wealth of the average farm household now exceed that of the average nonfarm...
AER-837, November 01, 2004
Production and marketing contracts govern 36 percent of the value of U.S. agricultural production, up from 12 percent in 1969. Contracts are now the primary method of handling sales of many livestock commodities, including milk, hogs, and broilers, and of major crops such as sugar beets, fruit, and ...
AIB-793, September 30, 2004
Rural America At A Glance, 2004 is a six-page brochure that highlights the most recent indicators of social and economic conditions in rural areas for use in developing policies and programs to assist rural areas. The brochure is the third in a series of reports that uses current social and economic...
AER-822, February 01, 2003
Decoupled payments are lump-sum income transfers to farm operators that do not depend on current production, factor use, or commodity prices. Such payments are not currently constrained by global trade rules, but many countries argue that they distort production and trade and that their use should b...
AIB-768, May 25, 2001
Family farms vary widely in size and other characteristics, ranging from very small retirement and residential farms to establishments with sales in the millions of dollars. The farm typology developed by the Economic Research Service (ERS) categorizes farms into groups based primarily on occupation...
AIB-759, September 01, 2000
The Economic Research Service (ERS) developed a farm typology which categorizes farms into more homogeneous groups than do classifications based on sales volume alone, producing a more effective policy development tool. The typology is used to describe U.S. farms.
AER-759, December 01, 1997
Low-income households may face higher food prices for three reasons: (1) on average, low-income households may spend less in supermarkets--which typically offer the lowest prices and greatest range of brands, package sizes, and quality choices; (2) low-income households are less likely to live in su...

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