The following themes are planned for the 1st Quarter 2006 issue of Choices.
Consumers and Markets
Supply Chains in the Agricultural Sector
The agricultural production, processing, and distribution industries are increasingly being characterized by more tightly aligned supply or value chains rather than more traditional coordination or governance structures of open access market systems. Benefits are generated through better flow scheduling and resource utilization; increased ability to manage and control quality throughout the chain; reduction of risk associated with food safety and contamination; and increased ability to quickly respond to changes in consumer demand for food attributes. This theme will explore the various business and policy implications of the development of value/supply chains in the agricultural sector.
Consumers and Markets
Science and industry are dramatically poised to bring consumers a wide variety of products that are only made possible through the use of agricultural biotechnology. The question is, "What do we know about how the public currently perceives the existing products of ag-biotech, and, how will consumers react to these new products once they reach the marketplace?" The answers to these questions have enormous economic, ethical, and political ramifications, and so, not surprisingly, the issues have generated decades of debate and discussion among pundits, politicians, and the general public about the purported promise (and perils) of GM foods, feeds, and fibers. The papers under this theme all focus on public perceptions and acceptance of the products of agricultural biotechnology, especially those involving genetically modified foods.
Resources and the Environment
Developing New Energy Sources from Agriculture
As recently as the early 1900s, energy sources around the world were mostly agriculturally derived and industrial products were primarily made from plant matter. Early motor fuels also came from agriculture — Henry Ford used ethanol in his original engine and Rudolf Diesel's engine could run on peanut oil. By 1920, petroleum emerged as the dominant energy source for transportation fuels and industrial products. For over 80 years, the United States and other industrialized countries have relied on petroleum as an economical and dependable source of energy. However, this reliance on petroleum is becoming a major issue as our domestic oil supplies shrink and our dependence on oil imports grows. The papers in this session will look at agriculture's current role as an energy producer and explore opportunities for agriculture as our Nation struggles to secure its energy future.
We are working on future theme coverage on the Farm Bill, Biofuels, Tilling Latin American Soils, Checkoff Programs, and Returns to Research and Extension. See our thematic coverage page for a complete list and planned schedule.