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Economic Research Service

NASS Economic Data Help Farmers and Those Who Support and Serve Them

Working on my family’s farm in Montana as a teenager, one of the earliest lessons I learned from my father was the importance of understanding the farm finances. His lessons about maximizing profits instead of working to maximize yields have helped drive my understanding of farm economics. You could even say that my interest in these economics has influenced my career path within USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) where I work on the Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS).

Drivers of Improvements in Global Food Security

In 2018, 21 percent of the 3.7 billion people in 76 low- and middle-income countries do not have access to sufficient food for an active and healthy life, i.e. not food secure. However, by 2028, only 10 percent of the projected 4.3 billion people in these countries will be food insecure.

What Drives Consumers to Purchase Convenience Foods?

Many Americans lead busy lives and don’t have a lot of time to prepare food for their families. Faced with greater time constraints from work, childcare, and commuting, they often turn to convenience foods. Convenience foods are defined as types of foods that save time in food acquisition, preparation, and cleanup.

After at Least Five Decades of Growth, High-Income Countries are Now Investing Less in Public Agricultural R&D

Governments in high-income countries are spending less on agricultural research. A new report from USDA’s Economic Research Service reviews long-term trends in public agricultural research and development (R&D) investment by high-income countries and examines how these investments have contributed to economic growth.

The WASDE Report, aka Crop Report

The World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) is a monthly report providing a global look at the markets for key agricultural products. The many users include agricultural commodity traders, agricultural producers, processors, retailers and consumers, input suppliers, livestock and dairy feeders, and researchers interested in global agricultural markets. The market uses the WASDE report as a common understanding of current conditions under which many take actions to position themselves or make future plans based on the current global supply and demand situation.

Exploring Global Agricultural Trade Information from USDA’s Economic Research Service

Did you know that the United States is the world’s second largest agricultural exporter after the European Union? Agricultural trade supports American jobs and spurs non-farm economic activity. In 2016, U.S. agricultural exports required over one million full-time civilian jobs, including 764,000 jobs in the nonfarm sector. Each dollar of U.S. agricultural exports supported an additional $1.28 in farm and non-farm business activity. Moreover, U.S. agricultural trade surplus has historically helped to offset some of the trade deficit in non-agricultural sectors.

USDA’s Economic Research Service and The Farm Foundation Collaborate on Rural Infrastructure Investment Research

The mission of USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) is to anticipate trends and emerging issues in agriculture, food and rural America and produces objective economic research to inform and enhance public and private decision making. Among its research activities, ERS is conducting research on the impacts of and returns to infrastructure in rural areas, and is cosponsoring a workshop with the Farm Foundation on these issues.

SNAP Households Acquire About as Many Calories as Non-SNAP Households, But Spend Less

Households can have similar food needs, but often have different budgets with which to meet them. These budget differences may help explain observed differences in food spending and diet quality. A new report from USDA’s Economic Research Service digs into this issue using household level data from USDA’s National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey (FoodAPS) to estimate the number of calories acquired and the amount of money spent to get them.

USDA Agencies Collaborate to Produce Trusted and Reliable Commodity Market Information

Since its inception nearly 100 years ago, USDA’s Agricultural Outlook Forum has provided analysis of the farm economy, including the short- and long-term outlook for agricultural commodity markets. Producing credible and reliable information about supply and demand conditions for all the major crop and livestock markets, along with the implications for prices, production and trade, is a year-round process that relies on expertise from dozens of highly-trained analysts spread across several USDA agencies, including USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS).