Moving agricultural commodities from “farm to fork” encompasses all phases of how farm products are produced, processed, distributed, marketed, and consumed. Global use of the internet and other technological advances has generated groundbreaking changes in how farmers and ranchers produce and market food and fiber. As a result, farm and ranch families, agribusinesses, rural communities, and consumers face ongoing challenges in making strategic and informed decisions that affect their economic viability and quality of life.
Importance of Markets and Trade
Safely moving products from producers to market is fundamental to farmers and ranchers, consumers, and the economy. In an area that affects many segments of the economy, the nation’s farmers and food suppliers must stay informed of new research findings and technologies to advance their marketing methods and trade strategies.
Public policies – international, national, state, and local laws, regulations, and treaties – can greatly influence the economic well-being of the U.S. agricultural sector, agribusiness sectors, and individual producers and consumers. Economists and scientists conduct research to equip policymakers with the information they need to develop policies that enhance economic opportunities and the well-being of agricultural producers and consumers.
NIFA supports land-grant colleges and universities that conduct rural policy research and analysis. The agency’s initiatives support:
- Conducting research and providing technical assistance to support international economic development
- Providing science-based information to facilitate risk management
- Promoting efficient and economically viable production systems
- Examining the structure and performance of the farm sector; international trade and trade policy; agricultural production and resource use; labor markets and immigration policy
- Developing productivity indicators and measurements
- Examining consumer behavior and behavioral economics in such areas as human nutrition and food safety
- Economic impacts of local markets on food supply, demand, and quality
- Strategies and models of coexistence of multiple crop technologies throughout the supply chain