USDA’s Economic Research Service Produced Timely Research in 2018 to Inform Decision Making on Agriculture and Food Issues
Contact: Jennifer Smits
Washington, DC - Dec. 21, 2018 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS) produced more than 300 research, information and outlook products in 2018 on topics ranging from U.S. and global commodity markets to trends in what Americans eat when they are away from home, enhancing the public’s understanding of agriculture and food issues that affect everyone’s daily lives.
Here are just a few research highlights from the many reports produced by ERS during fiscal year 2018:
- Global agricultural trade, worth about $1 trillion in 2014, has risen 3.6 percent per year for the last two decades, facilitated by technological change, productivity gains, and trade liberalization. The Global Landscape of Agricultural Trade, 1995-2014 surveyed 20 years of trends in world agricultural trade and summarizes key policy issues that will confront decision-makers and shape agricultural trade in the coming years.
- Agricultural production has shifted to much larger farming operations over the last three decades, even as the number of very small farms grows. Based on detailed farm-level data, Three Decades of Consolidation in U.S. Agriculture measured trends in consolidation and tracked developments in farm-level specialization as well as the organization of farming businesses.
- Many growers who would be subject to the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act’s “Produce Rule” already had some food safety practices in place. Using a unique set of survey data, Before Implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act’s Produce Rule: A Survey of U.S. Produce Growers explored U.S. produce growers’ on-farm microbial food safety practices before implementation of the “Produce Rule.” The study found that growers’ rates of adopting food safety practices before they were required to do so varied by farm size, with larger growers having higher adoption rates than smaller growers.
- Food away from home has become increasingly integral to the American diet. America’s Eating Habits: Food Away From Home takes a comprehensive look at the role of food away from home in American diets, exploring American’s spending on food, the changes in the restaurant industry, nutritional composition of food away from home, and key Federal programs that may influence food away from home. The report also discussed how food away from home choices and availability relate to diet quality, income, age, and other socioeconomic factors.
In addition to these research highlights, ERS’s online magazine, Amber Waves, celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2018 with a refreshed website. Each month, Amber Waves highlights findings from the latest ERS research. For more information, visit the ERS website, where users may subscribe to email updates including Amber Waves, Commodity Outlook reports and the daily Charts of Note.