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Economic Research Service

REE Gives the Gift of Agricultural Research and Innovation in 2018

Like many of you, I bask in the excitement of the holidays—wrapping gifts, planning holiday dinners, and spending time with loved ones. However, this month also means the end of the year is near, ushering in a time of reflection and anticipation. In USDA’s Research, Education, and Economics (REE) mission area, this time of year serves as neither a beginning nor an end. For us, it is a continuation of the scientific research needed to solve the agricultural challenges ahead.

Rural Aging Occurs in Different Places for Very Different Reasons

As the United States population ages, many Americans age 65 or older are making their homes in rural communities. In fact, 19 percent of the U.S. rural (nonmetro) population is 65 years or older, compared with 15 percent in urban (metro) areas. Rural counties make up nearly 85 percent of the 1,104 “older-age counties”—those with more than 20 percent of their population age 65 or older.

USDA’s Role in Combatting Antimicrobial Resistance

Scientists from USDA developed the tools to mass produce penicillin, which was used for treating wounded soldiers over 70 years ago during World War II. Antibiotics are still important in treating microbial infection in humans, animals, and plants. However, microbes can develop resistance to some antibiotics, making them less effective. USDA agencies continue to work on numerous issues related to antibiotics and antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Macro Trends in the U.S. Food System: A Q&A with Anne Effland, Senior Economist, USDA Office of the Chief Economist

What are the macro trends in food production and policy? In this blog, USDA Senior Economist Anne Effland gives an overview of how consumers are shaping the way food is grown and how USDA is supporting the evolving food system. Read more in the article Effland co-authored with Carolyn Dimitri in the journal Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems.

Happy Birthday Amber Waves!

For the past decade and a half, ERS has been highlighting its research through its magazine, Amber Waves. As technology has evolved, so has Amber Waves, but the focus on bringing ERS’s latest agriculture and food research to readers in an engaging and user-friendly format has remained constant. In celebration of Amber Waves’ 15th Anniversary, we present a selection of its recent noteworthy stories and share its refreshed website.

USDA Research Progress Towards Global Food Security

Most of us living in the United States are fortunate enough not to wonder where our next meal will come from. Yet across the globe, at least some time during the year, nearly 800 million people do. Not having access to stable and nutritious food sources – or food insecurity — negatively impacts people’s lives. Food security, on the other hand, means access by all people at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life.

Does Where You Live Affect What You Eat?

Every day, we make decisions about what to eat. And what we eat plays an important role in our body weight and long-term health. Given the high obesity rates in the U.S., a growing number of researchers are asking: how important is geographic access to restaurants in people’s food choices? Some observers argue that the abundance of high-calorie, less nutrient-dense restaurant fare is to blame for Americans’ poor diets and expanding waistline.

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.