Agricultural-News-and-Outlook

Food & Agriculture News from ERS/USDA: Land Use, Productivity & Major Trends

From ERS: Major Land Uses. ERS has been a source of major land use estimates in the United States for over 50 years, and the related U.S. cropland used for crops series dates back to 1910. The Major Land Uses (MLU) series is the longest running, most comprehensive accounting of all major uses of public and private land in the United States. The series was started in 1945, and has since been published about every 5 years coinciding with the Census of Agriculture. See the latest report in the series, Major Uses of Land in the United States, 2007.

The United States has a total land area of nearly 2.3 billion acres. In 2007, the major land uses were forestland at 671 million acres (30 percent); grassland pasture and rangeland at 614 million (27 percent); cropland at 408 million (18 percent); special uses (primarily parks and wildlife areas) at 313 million acres (14 percent); miscellaneous uses (like tundra or swamps) at 197 million acres (9 percent); and urban land at 61 million acres (3 percent).

Agricultural Productivity in the United States.  It is widely agreed that increased productivity is the main contributor to economic growth in U.S. agriculture. This data set provides estimates of productivity growth in the U.S. farm sector for the 1948-2009 period and estimates of the growth and relative levels of productivity across the States for the period 1960-2004.

The level of U.S. farm output in 2009 was 170 percent above its level in 1948, growing at an average annual rate of 1.63 percent. Aggregate input use increased a mere 0.11 percent annually, so the positive growth in farm sector output was substantially due to productivity growth.

Every State exhibited a positive average annual rate of productivity growth over the entire 45-year period. Average annual rates of growth ranged from 2.6 percent for Oregon to 0.5 percent for Oklahoma. California and Florida had the highest relative levels of productivity.

Food Price Outlook, 2012. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for food is probably the most widely used indicator of changes in retail food prices. ERS regularly updates food price forecasts for the short-term period. The CPI for all food is projected to increase 2.5 to 3.5 percent in 2012.

Agricultural Outlook Statistical Indicators. Statistical Indicators published by ERS/USDA address a broad spectrum of agriculture-related issues including commodity and food prices, general economic indicators, government program expenditures, farm income estimates, and trade and export statistics.

World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates. The World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report provides USDA’s comprehensive forecasts of supply and demand for major U.S. and global crops and U.S. livestock. The report gathers information from a number of statistical reports published by USDA and other government agencies, and provides a framework for additional USDA reports.

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