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Possible Implications for U.S. Agriculture From Adoption of Select Dietary Guidelines

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By Jean C. Buzby, Hodan Farah Wells, and Gary Vocke

Economic Research Report No. (ERR-31) 35 pp, November 2006

To help Americans meet nutritional requirements while staying within caloric recommendations, the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourage consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole-grain products, and fat-free or low-fat milk or milk products. This report provides one view of the potential implications for U.S. agriculture if Americans changed their current consumption patterns to meet some of those guidelines. For Americans to meet the fruit, vegetable, and whole-grain recommendations, domestic crop acreage would need to increase by an estimated 7.4 million harvested acres, or 1.7 percent of total U.S. cropland in 2002. To meet the dairy guidelines, consumption of milk and milk products would have to increase by 66 percent; an increase of that magnitude would likely require an increase in the number of dairy cows as well as increased feed grains and, possibly, increased acreage devoted to dairy production.

Keywords: Agriculture, dairy, Dietary Guidelines for Americans, dietary recommendations, food, food consumption, food production, Food Guidance System, fruit, MyPyramid, vegetables, whole grains, ERS, USDA

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Updated date: November 20, 2006

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