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Agricultural Productivity Growth in the United States: Measurement, Trends, and Drivers

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  • Wang, Sun Ling
  • Heisey, Paul
  • Schimmelpfennig, David
  • Ball, Eldon

Abstract

U.S. agricultural output more than doubled between 1948 and 2011, with growth averaging 1.49 percent per year. With little growth in total measured use of agricultural inputs, the extraordinary performance of the U.S. farm sector was driven mainly by increases in total factor productivity (TFP—measured as output per unit of aggregate input). Over the last six decades, the mix of agricultural inputs used shifted significantly, with increased use of intermediate goods (e.g., fertilizer and pesticides) and less use of labor and land. The output mix changed as well, with crop production growing faster than livestock production. Based on econometric analysis of updated (1948-2011) TFP data, this study finds no statistical evidence that longrun U.S. agricultural productivity has slowed over time. Model-based projections show that in the future, slow growth in research and development investments may have only minor effects on TFP growth over the next 10 years but will slow TFP growth much more over the long term.

Suggested Citation

  • Wang, Sun Ling & Heisey, Paul & Schimmelpfennig, David & Ball, Eldon, 2015. "Agricultural Productivity Growth in the United States: Measurement, Trends, and Drivers," Economic Research Report 207954, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:uersrr:207954
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Dumortier, Jerome, 2016. "Changing agricultural land-use in the United States and its implications for ecosystem services," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 235653, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    2. Wyatt Thompson & Joe Dewbre & Patrick Westfhoff & Kateryna Schroeder & Simone Pieralli & Ignacio Perez Dominguez, 2017. "Introducing medium-and long-term productivity responses in Aglink-Cosimo," JRC Working Papers JRC105738, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    3. repec:nbr:nberch:13944 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Wang, Sun Ling & Newton, Doris J., 2015. "Productivity and Efficiency of U.S. Field Crop Farms: A Look at Farm Size and Operator’s Gender," 2015 AAEA & WAEA Joint Annual Meeting, July 26-28, San Francisco, California 205344, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association;Western Agricultural Economics Association.
    5. Sun Ling Wang & Eldon Ball & Richard Nehring & Ryan Williams & Truong Chau, 2017. "Impacts of Climate Change and Extreme Weather on U.S. Agricultural Productivity: Evidence and Projection," NBER Chapters,in: Understanding Productivity Growth in Agriculture National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Dutta, Ritwik & Saghaian, Syed, 2015. "A Chronological Study of Total Factor Productivity and Agricultural Growth in U.S. Agriculture," 2015 Annual Meeting, January 31-February 3, 2015, Atlanta, Georgia 196953, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
    7. Mishra, Ashok K. & Kumar, Anjani & Joshi, Pramod K. & D'souza, Alwin, 2016. "Impact of contracts in high yielding varieties seed production on profits and yield: The case of Nepal," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 110-121.
    8. repec:eee:enepol:v:109:y:2017:i:c:p:297-309 is not listed on IDEAS

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