Policy makers, economists, the farm and food industry, consumer advocates, and others rely on USDA’s food price outlook and farm sector income and finances data in their decision making and planning. At this year’s Forum, two sessions focus on these closely watched USDA forecasts and present the latest analysis and projections.
A session on the Farm Income Outlook for 2015 focuses on general measures of the financial well-being of the farm economy. The analyses and data released by the Economic Research Service (ERS) and used by USDA and others in both the public and private sector provide insights about the financial health of the U.S. agricultural economy. Financial performance measures assess the farm sector's receipts and expenses; net income; variations in farm income by farm size and other categorizations; and changes in the sector's wealth holdings. ERS estimates and forecasts of farm income and wealth are based on information collected across USDA and other parts of government, as well as responses to USDA's annual Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) and other sector-level information.
Sharp swings in commodity prices, economic uncertainty and a major drought over the past few years have led to heightened interest in the movement of retail food prices. In addition, due to the changing structure of food and agricultural markets, there is increased attention on forecasting retail food prices and understanding the implications of food price changes on consumers as well as the food industry. ERS develops and monitors indicators of individual, household, and market-level food consumption, prices, expenditures, food-marketing costs, and farm-to-retail price spreads. The session covering the Food Price Outlook for 2015 will provide perspectives from USDA, the retail grocery industry, and the restaurant industry on food price inflation, the main factors that contribute to changes in food prices, and the consumer implications of rising food prices.
Please visit Forum Web site for session descriptions: http://www.usda.gov/oce/forum/.