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More farmers are adding fall cover crops to their corn-for-grain, cotton, and soybean fields

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Cover crops are an increasingly popular management practice that farmers use to provide seasonal living cover between their primary commodity cash crops. Farmers often plant cover crops in the fall to provide winter cover for soil that otherwise would be bare. Over the past decade, fall cover crop adoption has grown in the United States, according to data from USDA’s Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS). On fields growing corn for grain, one of the most commonly grown commodity crops, 0.6 percent of the acreage used a fall cover crop before the 2010 crop. By 2016, 5.5 percent of corn-for-grain acreage had a preceding fall cover, and by 2021, 7.9 percent of corn-for-grain acreage followed a fall cover crop. This represents a 44-percent increase in fall cover crop adoption on corn-for-grain fields between 2016 and 2021. The growth in adoption of cover crops on cotton fields is similar, with a 46-percent increase between 2015 and 2019. The ARMS surveys asked farmers to report on the cropping history, including the history of cover crop use, for each selected field. The average within-survey growth in cover crop adoption was similar for each target crop, as evident in the average year-over-year changes. A version of this chart appeared in the USDA, Economic Research Service report Cover Crop Trends, Programs, and Practices in the United States, released in February 2021. This chart adds data for 2019 cotton and 2021 corn-for-grain fields.

U.S. wine imports reach nearly $7.5 billion in 2021

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

In the United States, growing consumption of wine has contributed to an increase in wine imports, from 127 million gallons in fiscal year 2000 to 456 million gallons in FY 2021, reaching nearly $7.5 billion in value. Most wine imports come from the European Union (EU), accounting for 75 percent of the total value and 50 percent of the volume. Specifically, the top two countries of origin, Italy and France, each supplied about $2.5 billion in wine imports in FY 2021, although the volume from Italy was more than twice that of France because of its lower average price. In 2020, imports from the EU temporarily decreased in response to a 25-percent U.S. tariff placed in late 2019 on French, German, Spanish, and English wine that was lifted in early 2021. Until 2017, Australia was the third-largest supplier, providing as much as 21 percent of U.S. imports of wine, although that decreased to just 4 percent in 2021 following a prolonged drought and ongoing shifts in global markets. During this time, New Zealand’s share grew to 7 percent. South America, mainly Argentina and Chile, supplied as much as 15 percent of U.S. wine imports in 2012 but now provides less than 7 percent. U.S. wine imports are projected to increase to $7.7 billion in FY 2022. While the United States is a net importer of wine, it exported $1.5 billion in 2021 to destinations including Canada, the United Kingdom, and Japan. This chart is drawn from the Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade, published by USDA’s Economic Research Service, February 2022.

Infants in USDA’s WIC Program consumed an estimated 56 percent of U.S. infant formula in 2018

Monday, May 23, 2022

Disruptions to the U.S. infant formula market may impact participants in USDA’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) because many infants receive formula from the program. The share of formula in the United States that is consumed by WIC infants ages 0 to 12 months is estimated to have been about 56 percent in 2018 compared to 58 percent in 2005. Both estimates are derived from the numbers of WIC and non-WIC infants and the estimated shares of each group that consume formula. The estimates assume that all formula-fed infants consume the same amount of formula independently of WIC participation status, age, weight, and other factors. The information on breastfeeding and formula-feeding practices for WIC and non-WIC infants comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Immunization Survey, for which 2018 is the most current data publicly available. The numbers of WIC and non-WIC infants come from USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service. Even though fewer than half of all infants in the United States participated in WIC in 2018, WIC infants are more likely to be formula-fed compared with non-WIC infants, resulting in an estimated 56 percent share of formula consumption in 2018. This chart updates information in the ERS report, Rising Infant Formula Costs to the WIC Program: Recent Trends in Rebates and Wholesale Prices, February 2010.

Retail food price inflation varies across U.S. metro areas

Monday, May 23, 2022

Retail food price inflation varies by locality. In the 10 years from 2012 to 2021, increases in retail food prices ranged from an average of 2.4 percent a year in Honolulu, HI, to 0.9 percent in the Dallas-Fort Worth, TX, area. Retail food at home includes food bought in grocery stores as opposed to restaurants. Differences in transportation costs and retail overhead expenses, such as labor and rent, can explain some of the variation among cities because retailers often pass local cost increases on to consumers in the form of higher prices. Furthermore, differences in consumer preferences among cities for specific foods may help explain variation in inflation rates. For example, a city whose residents strongly prefer foods with less price inflation (such as fresh fruits and vegetables, at 1.3 and 0.8 percent average yearly growth for 2012-21) might experience lower food-at-home price inflation than a city whose residents buy more beef and veal, which increased by an average of 4.2 percent a year in the 10-year period. Across the United States, food-at-home prices increased by an average of 1.4 percent a year over the 10-year period. This chart appears in an Economic Research Service data visualization, Food Price Environment: Interactive Visualization, released May 12, 2022.

Water-  and wind-driven erosion affect a large portion of cropland, according to estimates from both model-based and farmer-reported data

Friday, May 20, 2022

Researchers at USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS) used the USDA’s Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) to identify farmers’ concerns about soil erosion on their fields, specifically fields growing oats or cotton in 2015, wheat in 2017, and soybeans in 2018. Across all acreage represented in the selected ARMS data, farmers reported that 25 percent of acres had water-driven erosion and 16 percent had wind-driven erosion. ERS researchers compared these self-reported measures to estimates from the National Resources Inventory (NRI), a science-based assessment conducted by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. The 2017 NRI found that about 18 percent of cultivated cropland had water-driven erosion. For the NRI, a field is determined as having a problem with water-driven erosion if annual soil losses exceed its soil loss tolerance, which is the maximum rate of annual soil loss that still permits sustained economic crop production. The NRI assessment also found that about 14 percent of all cultivated cropland had more soil losses from wind-driven erosion than its soil loss tolerance. The difference in rates of erosion between the two data sources may reflect farmer perceptions about what is considered an erosion problem relative to the criteria used in the NRI. This chart can be found in the ERS report USDA Conservation Technical Assistance and Within-Field Resource Concerns, published in May 2022.

Spending dropped at all types of food-away-from-home outlets in first year of COVID-19 pandemic

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Spending decreased at each of the nine types of food-away-from-home (FAFH) outlets measured in the USDA, Economic Research Service’s Food Expenditure Series (FES) from 2019 to 2020. Although existing infrastructure, such as drive-through services, enabled limited-service restaurants to comply with Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic safety measures, these establishments still saw a 6.7-percent decline in annual spending. Full-service restaurants, which accounted for more FAFH spending than all other outlets from 1997 to 2019, experienced a decrease in spending of 31.7 percent in 2020. This was partly due to pandemic-related closures during some of the year. Hotels and motels, recreational places, and drinking places also experienced closures and capacity restrictions throughout much of 2020. Food spending fell 42.9 percent at hotels and motels, 37.7 percent at recreational places, and 40.7 percent at drinking places. Food expenditures at schools and colleges dropped 7.8 percent in 2020. The 2021 annual FES data will be released in June 2022 and will provide an update on these trends as well as other food spending data. This chart uses the FES data and appears in the ERS’s Amber Waves article, “Food Spending by U.S. Consumers Fell Almost 8 Percent in 2020”, October 2021.

Property income’s share of the food dollar reached 20-year high in 2020

Monday, May 16, 2022

In 2020, the average dollar spent by U.S. consumers on domestically produced food – called the food dollar – returned 39.4 cents as property income, which is income received by owners of capital assets (e.g. land, equipment, and patents) after paying for other intermediate inputs, labor, and output taxes. This 13.5-percent increase from 2019 brought property income’s share of the food dollar to the highest level since 1997. Conversely, the proportion of output taxes, or total taxes and government fees less subsidies, dropped by more than half from 2019 to 4.3 cents of the 2020 food dollar. This reflects increased agricultural subsidies as well as other government policies that affected taxes in 2020. Of the remaining food dollar, 51.6 cents compensated labor for wages and benefits while 4.7 cents went to imported ingredients and inputs. USDA, Economic Research Service’s (ERS) annual Food Dollar Series provides insight into the industries that make up the U.S. food system and their contributions to total U.S. spending on domestically produced food. Annual shifts in the food dollar shares between primary factors occur for a variety of reasons, including changes in the mix of foods consumers buy, the balance of food consumed at home and away from home, and changes in primary factor markets for non-food production. The data for this chart are available for the years 1997 to 2020 and can be found in ERS’s Food Dollar Series data product, updated on March 17, 2022.

Recent avian flu outbreak reduces U.S. egg-laying flock

Friday, May 13, 2022

On February 8, 2022, the first case of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) since 2015 was detected in a commercial turkey operation in Indiana. Soon thereafter, HPAI cases were confirmed at commercial operations growing broilers (chickens grown for meat), turkeys, and egg-layers. Because HPAI can spread quickly, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) depopulates flocks at operations where infections have been detected. Though the outbreak spread slowly in February, the number of HPAI cases increased rapidly in March, just ahead of Easter, when U.S. egg producers often expand their flocks to meet the demand for the upcoming holiday. As of May 2, HPAI outbreaks have been reported in 164 commercial poultry operations, including 18 egg-laying facilities. Commercial egg-laying hens represent a majority of the birds affected. On April 1, the U.S. table-egg layer flock was estimated at 305.2 million, reflecting, in part, the 16.9 million birds lost to HPAI in March 2022. APHIS reported that an additional 10.7 million layers were affected in April 2022. As of May 2, more than 29 million layers had been lost to HPAI. During the largest U.S. HPAI outbreak, in 2014–15, the industry lost 43 million egg layers. At the time the first major cases of the 2022 outbreak in commercial egg layers were confirmed, flock sizes were already smaller than in previous years, including their 2017–19 pre-pandemic levels. This chart first appeared in USDA, Economic Research Service’s Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook, April 2022.

Higher retail meat prices during COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted U.S. households in 2020

Thursday, May 12, 2022

During 2020, U.S. households spent 14.5 percent more money to buy meat for at-home consumption as compared with 2019. This increase in spending reflected both an increase in the amount of meat households bought from retailers to offset reductions in what households previously consumed at restaurants and higher retail food prices. Using scanner data from Information Resources, Inc. (IRI), USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS) researchers examined and compared U.S. households’ meat purchases in 2020 and 2019 to answer this question: If retail prices for at-home meats had remained at their 2019 levels throughout 2020, how much better off economically would U.S. households have been? Researchers estimated the amount of “welfare loss,” or reduction in U.S. households’ well-being, by determining how much more money would be needed to buy meat in response to retail price changes and be satisfied. Despite maintaining their overall level of meat consumption, U.S. households’ welfare losses in 2020 from increases in retail meat prices were largest during the late spring and early summer when operations at meat-packing plants were most affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Those losses peaked at $24.51 per household in June 2020. Higher prices that month for beef accounted for welfare losses of $8.30 per household, for poultry the losses were $8.18 per household, and for pork the losses were $7.07 per household. In December 2020, U.S. household welfare losses were down to $6.19 per household, with higher prices for beef, poultry, and pork accounting for $2.44, $1.89, and $1.54, respectively. This chart appears in the ERS report Quantifying Consumer Welfare Impacts of Higher Meat Prices During the COVID-19 Pandemic, released April 2022.

Labor force participation decreased less in rural areas than in urban areas at the onset of COVID-19 pandemic

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

From 2007 to 2019, labor force participation rates (the percentage of the population that is working or actively looking for work) decreased 2.6 percentage points for people aged 25 to 64 in the rural United States and 0.7 percentage point for the same age group in urban areas. The larger decrease in rural participation reflects a slower recovery in those areas after the Great Recession, which lasted from December 2007 to June 2009. Labor force participation rates for people aged 25 to 64 decreased again from 2019 to 2020 due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic but decreased less in rural counties than in urban counties (rural 0.6 percentage point vs. urban 1 percentage point). Rates declined the most from 2019 to 2020 for people aged 16 to 24 and fell the most in that age group in urban counties. In 2021, labor force participation rates for each age group remained below pre-pandemic (2019) levels in rural and urban counties and even decreased below 2020 levels for people aged 25 to 64 in rural areas and for people 65 and over in urban and rural areas. In 2021, the labor force participation rate for people aged 16 to 24 in rural counties rebounded compared with 2020. This chart was drawn from the Rural Employment and Unemployment data page, updated March 29, 2022.

Farmer-reported soil and water concerns vary by crop type and region

Friday, May 6, 2022

When management practices degrade a natural resource used in farming to the degree that its sustainability or intended use is impaired, then a given land unit is said to have a resource concern. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has identified 47 specific resource concerns affecting crop fields in the United States. ERS researchers classified the soil and water resource concerns from this list into seven broad categories in USDA’s Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS). These seven broad concerns are on-field water quality, low organic matter, poor drainage, soil compaction, wind-driven erosion, water-driven erosion, and other concerns. Cotton, wheat, oat, and soybean farmers were asked to report if they were experiencing one or multiple of the seven categories of concerns on the fields surveyed by ARMS between 2015 and 2018. Overall, farmers represented across these surveys reported that 49 percent of their fields had at least one resource concern and 26 percent of their fields had two or more concerns. The percentages of fields with at least one self-reported resource concern varied by region. Resource concerns were most common in the Midwest, the largest region by the number of fields, and were least common in the South. Farmers growing soybeans reported that about 51 percent of their fields have one or multiple resource concerns. Farmers growing durum wheat, which covers 2-5 percent of the total wheat area in the country, reported one or more resource concerns on about 40 percent of fields. This chart is drawn from the USDA, Economic Research Service report “USDA Conservation Technical Assistance and Within-Field Resource Concerns,” published May 2022.

U.S. agricultural exports supported more than 1 million jobs throughout the economy in 2020

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

The benefits of agricultural exports to the U.S. economy far exceed the value of shipments alone. The production, processing, storage, transportation, and marketing of farm and food products bound for the export market support many full-time jobs throughout the United States. Related job statistics are estimated annually by USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) by measuring the employment and output effects of trade in farm and food products. In 2020, U.S. agricultural exports supported the equivalent of more than 1.13 million jobs on and off the farm. With U.S. agricultural exports valued at more than $150 billion in 2020, every $1 billion of exports is estimated to create 7,550 jobs. Farm activities generated by U.S. exports—mainly crop and livestock production—supported a total of 439,500 jobs. These jobs included labor provided by farm operators and their family members, hired farmworkers, and contract workers. Off the farm, exports supported 423,900 total jobs in the services, trade, and transportation industries. Food-processing activities created 162,100 jobs, while other manufacturing activities, such as packaging, canning, and bottling, gave rise to 107,000 jobs. This chart is drawn from ERS’s Agricultural Trade Multiplier, released February 2022. See also the Amber Waves infographic, 2020 U.S. Agricultural Trade Multiplier for Soybeans.

Imports play dominant role as U.S. demand for avocados climbs

Monday, May 2, 2022

U.S. consumers’ fondness for avocados has taken off since the early 2000s. From 2000 to 2021, the quantity of avocados available per person, a proxy for consumption, tripled to more than 8 pounds per person. The United States has produced an average of about 400 million pounds of avocados each year since 2000, but production has slowly declined since 2011 with a decline in U.S. avocado acreage. Imports have risen to support year-round demand. Imported avocados now account for 90 percent of the domestic supply compared with 40 percent in the early 2000s. In the 2020/21 marketing year, U.S. avocado imports reached a record high of 2.675 billion pounds. Mexico is the leading global producer of avocados, and the United States is the main destination for Mexico’s avocado exports. The United States imported an annual average of 2.25 billion pounds from Mexico in 2019–21 compared with 55 million pounds in 2001–03. From 2019–21, 88 percent of all shipments came from Mexico, while 7 percent came from Peru, 3 percent from the Dominican Republic, and 1 percent from Chile. This chart appears in the USDA, Economic Research Service’s Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook, March 2022.

Contracts are common in animal and crop production

Friday, April 29, 2022

In 2020, agricultural contracts governed the production of about 33 percent, by value, of all U.S. farm commodities. A contract is a legal agreement between a farmer and another person or firm to produce a specific type, quantity, and quality of crops or livestock. Farmers use contracts, with set pricing (or a pricing formula) or fees, instead of traditional cash sales to manage income risks. USDA, Economic Research Service identifies two types of agricultural contracts: marketing and production. Under marketing contracts, the ownership of commodities stays with the farmer during production. The contracts set a price or a pricing formula, product quantities and qualities, and a delivery schedule. Under production contracts, the contractor generally owns the commodity and provides inputs, services, production guidelines, and technical advice to the farmer. Relative to overall commodity production, marketing contracts and production contracts are equally used. However, crop farmers are more likely to use marketing contracts and livestock producers typically use production contracts. Marketing contracts represented 23 percent of all crop production in 2020. More than half the value of production of sugar beets, peanuts, and fruits was produced under marketing contracts in 2020, and less than 20 percent of soybeans, corn, and wheat production fell under marketing contracts. Production contracts represented 36 percent of all livestock production, including 76 percent of poultry and egg production, and 74 percent of hog production. Although marketing contracts are mostly used for crop production, a small percentage of poultry and eggs was produced using marketing contracts. Likewise, a small percentage of vegetable production occurred under production contracts even though most production contracts cover livestock. This chart was drawn from the Farm Structure and Contracting topic page, updated March 2022.

Strong demand for soybean oil elevated U.S. prices in 2021 and 2022

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

In the United States, soybean oil is frequently used for frying and making pastry crust flaky, among numerous other commercial food preparations. Soybean oil—produced by crushing soybeans and extracting the oil—is also used in the production of industrial products like fatty acid, animal feeds, biodiesel and increasingly, renewable diesel. As the most widely used vegetable oil, soybean oil use has typically accounted for over 50 percent of total domestic disappearance of all vegetable oil used in the United States. In early 2021, demand for biofuels increased—driven in part by Federal and State biofuels policy. Given the versatility of soybean oil and the limited supplies of substitute oils such as canola, sunflower, and palm oil, steady growth in food and industrial demand for soybean oil has caused domestic prices to rise. In March 2022, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service reported that average monthly soybean oil prices in Decatur, IL—a leading indicator market for soybean oil—had reached 76 cents per pound, more than 40 percent higher than a year earlier. Rising monthly prices have contributed to increases in the 2021/22 U.S. season-average soybean oil price, currently projected at $0.70 per pound, an increase of 23 percent, or 13 cents, from the prior marketing year. Higher prices have in turn supported increased soybean crush (processing) volumes. Consequently, domestic soybean oil supply is expected to grow to 28.8 billion pounds in 2021/22, up 6 percent from the year prior. This chart is drawn from USDA’s Economic Research Service’s Oil Crops Outlook, March 2022.

Morning grazing increased people’s dietary quality, while evening grazing decreased it

Monday, April 25, 2022

When people graze, their daily caloric intake and dietary quality may increase, but factors such as the time of day may make a difference. Recently, USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS) researchers investigated whether grazing, or eating more than three times a day, affects total daily caloric intake and dietary quality as measured by USDA’s 2015 Healthy Eating Index (HEI). The results show grazing increased total daily caloric intake by 205 calories and increased the daily HEI score by 0.59 points. The HEI gauges diet quality by measuring how well a person’s diet conforms with recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The maximum score is 100, and a higher score reflects better diet quality. ERS researchers used 2 days of U.S. adult food intake data from the National Health and Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2007–18. These data capture detailed information about the types and amounts of food consumed in 2 non-consecutive days, as well as when each food was eaten. Researchers observed how dietary quality differed between morning and evening grazers. Individuals were defined as morning grazers if they reported more than two eating occasions between 3 a.m. and 2:59 p.m. Compared with people who did not graze at all, morning grazers increased their total daily caloric intake by 159 calories and increased the daily HEI score by 0.87 points. Individuals were defined as evening grazers if they reported more than one eating occasion between 3 p.m. and 2:59 a.m. Compared with not grazing, evening grazing increased daily caloric intake by 76 calories and decreased the daily HEI score by 0.41 points. This chart appears in the ERS’s Amber Waves article, “Grazing Increases Daily Caloric Intake and Dietary Quality”, published March 2022.

U.S. wheat prices surge in wake of Russia-Ukraine conflict

Friday, April 22, 2022

Beginning in February 2022, already elevated global wheat prices surged in the wake of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, who together accounted for 28 percent of all wheat exports in marketing year 2020/21. Throughout the current marketing year (2021/22), tight supplies have been forecast for key exporting countries including Argentina, Australia, Canada, the European Union, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, and the United States. Collectively for these countries, ending stocks are projected at the lowest level since the 2013/14 marketing year. For most of the current marketing year, tight supplies have supported relatively high global wheat prices. Those prices have been driven higher as commodity markets reflect uncertainty about not only the ability of Russia and Ukraine to continue exporting in coming months, but also the implications of the conflict on Ukraine’s spring planting which typically begins in March. Since the conflict began, U.S. export prices have risen for Hard Red Winter (HRW) and Soft Red Winter (SRW)—the two wheat classes that most directly compete with Russian and Ukrainian wheat. Average export prices for HRW were up 78 percent in March from the same month in 2021, and SRW prices were up 64 percent. U.S. Hard Red Spring (HRS), typically the highest priced U.S. wheat, is currently priced lower than HRW and only slightly above SRW. Domestic transportation challenges and dry conditions in major HRW production areas have also underpinned U.S. prices and allowed major competitors to maintain a large pricing advantage. Most HRS exports are shipped out of the Pacific Northwest and are largely destined for Asian markets. Because HRS exports do not compete directly with Russia and Ukraine, the price reaction of this wheat class has been less extreme when compared with the more dramatic price reactions of the other classes. This chart first appeared in USDA, Economic Research Service’s Wheat Outlook, March 2022, and has been updated with recent data from the Wheat Outlook, April 2022.

Food services industry share of food dollar shrank in 2020 after 8 consecutive years of growth

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

In 2020, restaurants and other eating-out establishments received 27.9 cents of an average dollar spent on domestically produced food, called the food dollar. This marks a 15.7-percent drop from 33.1 cents in 2019 as consumers reduced food-away-from-home purchases and increased purchases from food-at-home markets at the onset of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. All other industry group shares expanded except for three that had no annual change in 2020: Advertising, Energy, and Legal and accounting. Notably, the Retail trade (10.1 percent), Wholesale trade (9.2 percent), and Packaging (6.9 percent) shares increased by the largest percentages for their respective industry group since the data series began. The USDA Economic Research Service’s (ERS) annual Food Dollar Series provides insight into the industries that make up the U.S. food system and their contributions to total U.S. spending on domestically produced food. ERS uses input-output analysis to calculate the cost contributions from 12 industry groups in the food supply chain. Annual shifts in the food dollar shares between industry groups occur for a variety of reasons, including changes in the mix of foods consumers buy, costs of materials, ingredients, and other inputs, as well as changes in the balance of food at home and away from home. The industry group shares dollar chart is available for 1993 to 2020 and can be found in ERS’s Food Dollar Series data product, updated on March 17, 2022.

Labor quality change, especially educational attainment, contributes positively to U.S. agricultural growth

Monday, April 18, 2022

Agricultural output in the United States nearly tripled between 1948 and 2017, with average annual output growth at 1.53 percent. While reduction of labor hours worked has contributed negatively, changes in labor quality have contributed positively to output growth over the years. Labor quality includes shifts in composition of demographic attributes, such as gender, age, educational attainment, employment type and other factors. ERS researchers group the study period into 12 sub-periods in accordance with U.S. economic business cycles (from peak to peak). Most of the contraction in total hours worked occurred between 1948 and 1969, during the expansionary period after World War II. By the 2007–17 economic business cycle, the decline in labor hours had its lowest negative effect on output growth, -0.16 percentage points. ERS researchers found that total labor quality had a positive effect on output growth in all economic business cycles except the 1979-81 period. The effects of labor quality on agricultural output growth were especially prominent before 1969. It accounted for nearly 25 percent of total output growth per year in the 1948–53, 1953–57, and 1960–66 subperiods, and 14 percent of annual output growth in the 1966-69 subperiod. Except for the period immediately after WWII, the major source of labor quality changes was an increase in educational attainment among farmworkers. On average, the increase in educational attainment accounted for more than 90 percent of the changes in labor quality between 1948 and 2017. Nevertheless, since 1969, the rise in educational attainment has slowed, and the overall influence of labor quality on output growth has diminished. This chart is drawn from the USDA, Economic Research Service report “Farm Labor, Human Capital, and Agricultural Productivity in the United States,” published Feb. 15, 2022.

Per capita red meat and poultry consumption expected to decrease modestly in 2022

Friday, April 15, 2022

Per capita red meat and poultry disappearance is expected to modestly decrease in 2022. While it is often used as a proxy measure for consumption, per capita meat disappearance is a measure of the supply available for use in domestic markets, including fresh and processed meat sold through grocery stores and used in restaurants. In aggregate, the forecast is driven by a decrease in total red meat disappearance (-0.30 percent) that more than offsets an increase in total poultry disappearance (+0.11 percent). Despite the fractional net decrease, the 2022 value is expected to reach a near record high, second to the previous high in 2021. Over the last decade (2012–21), per capita meat disappearance has generally been on an upward trend, with an overall increase of 22.5 pounds. The latest USDA forecast indicates that in 2022, U.S. consumers will have access to 224.6 pounds of red meat and poultry on a per capita retail weight basis. This forecast is 0.2 pounds lower than last year, and 10.3 pounds higher than the 2012–21 average. Looking at the main protein species, 2022 per capita disappearance for beef and pork is expected to decrease by 0.34 and 0.20 percent, respectively, because of lower livestock inventory. Disappearance for broilers and turkey is expected to increase by 0.11 and 0.35 percent, respectively. Sustained by a steady production growth trend, 2022 broiler disappearance adds to a decade-long stretch of year-over-year increases. The increase in turkey disappearance marks the first year of increase since 2016. This chart first appeared in the USDA, Economic Research Service’s Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook, March 2022 and has been updated with recent data.

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