Agricultural Baseline Projections
USDA Agricultural Projections to 2023, released in February 2014, provide longrun projections for the farm sector for the next 10 years. These annual projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices.
ERS data, research, and analyses quantify agricultural productivity improvements, as well as the sources of improvement, in the U.S. and globally. A major focus is on developing indices of productivity growth that accurately reflect changes in the quality and mix of both inputs and outputs in the agricultural production process.
Agricultural Science Policy
Advances in agricultural productivity have led to abundant and affordable food and fiber throughout most of the developed world. Public and private agricultural research has been the foundation and basis for much of this growth and development.
Beginning & Disadvantaged Farmers
Federal farm policies often provide preferential treatment for specific groups of farm operators--beginning farmers, socially disadvantaged farmers (such as minority and female operators), and limited-resource farmers are singled out by one or more farm programs. ERS research examines the characteristics of these "targeted" farm operators, the farms they operate, and their households; their participation in agricultural commodity, conservation, or loan programs; and related topics, such as entry into and exit from the farm sector.
Bioenergy is renewable energy derived from biological sources, to be used for heat, electricity, or vehicle fuel. Biofuel derived from plant materials is among the most rapidly growing renewable energy technologies.
ERS, working closely with the World Agricultural Outlook Board, the Foreign Agricultural Service, and other USDA agencies, conducts market analysis and provides short- and long-term projections of U.S. and world agricultural production, consumption, and trade.
Farm & Commodity Policy
Farm and commodity policy has continually evolved, encompassing changing market conditions, priorities, and issues such as environmental and conservations issues and food safety.
Farm Household Well-being
The well-being of farm operator households is often based more on their nonfarm activities and investments than on their farm businesses. Research and data provide information on the sources of farm household income and wealth, the farm-nonfarm allocation of work and investments by farm household members, and other indicators of well-being, such as health insurance coverage.
ERS research covers a range of farm labor issues, including the number and geographical distribution of hired farmworkers; their wages, unemployment rates, and job-related characteristics; and the impacts of Federal policies on the supply and demand for hired farmworkers.
Farm Sector Income & Finances
Provides a comprehensive overview of the financial characteristics and performance of the U.S. farm sector and farm businesses, including current estimates and forecasts of farm income, expenses, asset values, and debt.
Farm Structure and Organization
Agricultural production is shifting to larger farms, and farmers are relying more on contracts—and less on spot markets—to buy and sell inputs and products. Even so, small farms are still important, and most transactions continue to be made through spot markets. Research on farm structure covers these elements, and also includes the ownership and organization of farm businesses; the links among farms, farm households, buyers, input providers, and contractors; and the mix of inputs and products on farms.
Federal Tax Issues
ERS research focuses on the most important features of Federal tax law and how they affect agriculture and the broader rural economy, as well as analyzes the impact of tax proposals. Also assessed are the impacts of changes in other Federal programs or policies that rely on a tax-based measure of income for eligibility purposes.
Land Use, Land Value & Tenure
ERS data and research focus on trends in agricultural land and other major land uses, agricultural land use change, determinants of changes in agricultural land values, and land ownership and tenure patterns.