The mission of USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) is to anticipate trends and emerging issues in agriculture, food, the environment, and rural America; and to conduct high-quality, objective, economic research to inform and enhance public and private decision making. ERS shapes its research programs and products to serve those who routinely make or influence public policy and program decisions.

ERS is one of the Federal Government’s principal statistical agencies and—as such—it is responsible for ensuring the quality, objectivity, and transparency of the statistical information and analyses it provides. Our policies and standards for publishing research and data are designed to ensure we provide high-quality and objective analysis. ERS provides the Nation’s statistics for food security, farm income, agricultural productivity, and is part of USDA’s World Agricultural Outlook Board.

The agency both anticipates and responds to decision makers’ needs. ERS researchers frequently provide briefings to policymakers, USDA leadership and other government officials, and our staff analysis program provides rapid responses to their requests for information or analyses.

  • Annual Budget: About $85 million
  • Employees: When fully staffed, approximately 330 economists, researchers, social science analysts, and other professional staff.
  • Strategic Plan: Strategic Plan for 2021 to 2025
  • Key Metrics for Fiscal Year 2020:
    • ERS published 130 reports, including Economic Research Reports, Outlook Newsletters, Amber Waves Features, and more;
    • ERS economists published 51 Academic Journal Articles, including Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Food Policy, Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, and Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics; and ERS economists gave 62 briefings and provided 417 staff analysis requests for government officials.