The Economic Research Service
) is the main source of economic information and research from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Located in Washington D.C., the mission of ERS is to inform and enhance public and private decision-making on economic and policy issues related to agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...
Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals...
, farming, natural resources
Natural Resources is a soul album released by Motown girl group Martha Reeves and the Vandellas in 1970 on the Gordy label. The album is significant for the Vietnam War ballad "I Should Be Proud" and the slow jam, "Love Guess Who"...
, and rural
Rural areas or the country or countryside are areas that are not urbanized, though when large areas are described, country towns and smaller cities will be included. They have a low population density, and typically much of the land is devoted to agriculture...
development. To accomplish this mission, highly trained economist
An economist is a professional in the social science discipline of economics. The individual may also study, develop, and apply theories and concepts from economics and write about economic policy...
s and social scientists develop and distribute a broad range of economic and other social science information and analysis.
ERS's timely research and analysis provide public and private decision makers the information they need to conduct business, formulate policy
A policy is typically described as a principle or rule to guide decisions and achieve rational outcome. The term is not normally used to denote what is actually done, this is normally referred to as either procedure or protocol...
, or learn about the farm, rural, and food sectors. ERS materials are used by the press
A newspaper is a scheduled publication containing news of current events, informative articles, diverse features and advertising. It usually is printed on relatively inexpensive, low-grade paper such as newsprint. By 2007, there were 6580 daily newspapers in the world selling 395 million copies a...
and other news media
The news media are those elements of the mass media that focus on delivering news to the general public or a target public.These include print media , broadcast news , and more recently the Internet .-Etymology:A medium is a carrier of something...
, and both print and electronic publications are available to the public.
The Agency's work is structured among four divisions:
- Food Economics
- Information Services
- Market and Trade Economics
- Resource and Rural Economics
The ERS program encompasses research and analyses of food and commodity markets, policy studies, and development of economic and statistical indicators. The information and analyses are produced for the private sector
In economics, the private sector is that part of the economy, sometimes referred to as the citizen sector, which is run by private individuals or groups, usually as a means of enterprise for profit, and is not controlled by the state...
and to help the executive and legislative branches of the Federal Government develop, administer, and evaluate farm, food, rural, and resource policies and programs.
ERS staff disseminates economic information and research results through an array of academic, policy-, and public-oriented outlets, including:
- Agency-published research reports, market analysis and outlook reports, and ERS periodicals
- The ERS website, which provides access to all ERS products through topical briefing rooms and key topics pages, and links users directly with ERS analysts
- Oral briefings, written staff analyses, and congressionally mandated studies delivered directly to executive and legislative branch policymakers and program administrators
- Articles published in professional journals including, the American Journal of Agricultural Economics
The American Journal of Agricultural Economics is a peer-reviewed academic journal of agricultural, natural resource, and environmental economics, as well as rural and community development. Published five times per year, it is one of two journals published by the Agricultural & Applied Economics...
, Journal of Development Economics, Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Journal of the American Statistical Association, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, American Journal of Public Health, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, and Oxford Economics Papers
- Papers presented to academic colleagues at the annual meetings of the Allied Social Science Association, the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association
The Agricultural & Applied Economics Association is a professional association for those interested in the field of agricultural and applied economics. AAEA members work for academic departments, government agencies, NGOs, think tanks, and in the private sector, and focus on a combination of...
, and other scientific and professional organizations
In addition to research reports and market analysis reports, ERS publishes a magazine
Magazines, periodicals, glossies or serials are publications, generally published on a regular schedule, containing a variety of articles. They are generally financed by advertising, by a purchase price, by pre-paid magazine subscriptions, or all three...
, Amber Waves
, four times a year. The magazine covers the agency's entire range of economic research and analysis. Available online and in print, Amber Waves
covers recent ERS research on agriculture, food, rural America
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...
Trade is the transfer of ownership of goods and services from one person or entity to another. Trade is sometimes loosely called commerce or financial transaction or barter. A network that allows trade is called a market. The original form of trade was barter, the direct exchange of goods and...
, and the environment
The biophysical environment is the combined modeling of the physical environment and the biological life forms within the environment, and includes all variables, parameters as well as conditions and modes inside the Earth's biosphere. The biophysical environment can be divided into two categories:...
. ERS provides information to Congressional and executive branch policymakers and their staffs, commodity and trade associations, the media, public interest groups, and the general public. The agency's reports, publications, and data products are widely disseminated in print and electronically through the ERS website.