Supply Chain Basics


    Photo Courtesy of USDA NRCS.

USDA-Developed Materials

  • Agricultural Baseline Projections, Economic Research Service (ERS) - USDA provides long-run (10-year) baseline projections for the agricultural sector. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices.
  • Comparing the Structure, Size, and Performance of Local and Mainstream Food Supply Chains, ERS, 2010 - The objective of this report is to improve understanding of how local foods are being introduced or reintroduced into the broader food system and of potential barriers to expansion of markets for local foods. A series of 15 case studies compares the structure, size and performance of local food supply chains with those of mainstream supply chains.
  • Supply Chain Basics: The Dynamics of Change in the U.S. Food Marketing Environment, Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), 2008 - The growing retail desire for exclusive and specialized food products offers new marketing opportunities for small and medium-sized food suppliers that understand the new world of food merchandising and are capable of delivering food products that satisfy commercial requirements for quality, innovation and value. This document provides an overview of the changing retail landscape and identifies some of the characteristics associated with successful food retailing. It is designed to help smaller scale food producers and processors develop profitable business strategies and identify customers likely to appreciate their unique products.
  • Supply Chain Basics: Niche Agricultural Marketing, The Logistics, AMS, 2007 - Many small and mid-size farm operators compete successfully in today’s agricultural marketplace by supplying specialty farm products. Growing numbers of consumers and commercial buyers are interested in purchasing farm products with specific qualities. These customer preferences may be as simple as a request for a specific volume of product, such as requiring a 20-metric-ton container of grain rather than a 40,000-metric ton bulk vessel—the typical size of an overseas grain shipment—or it may be as complex as a set of specific practices for growing, processing, packaging and merchandising a farm item.
  • Supply Chain Basics: Technology, How Much, How Soon, AMS, 2007 - A simple exchange of data among individual companies is no longer sufficient. Companies in the supply chain need to communicate with each other, and a common “language” is required to facilitate this communication. Barcodes are one form of that language, but the language requirements are rapidly becoming more complex as more is asked of it. The changing language and its attendant technologies create the need for a new, more robust set of standards for recording and exchanging product information on a global scale.

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Created March 2009.

Links checked February 2011.