3rd Quarter 2006
Agriculture and Trade
The Future of Animal Agriculture in North America
Walter J. Armbruster, Steve A. Halbrook, and Mary M. Thompson, Guest Editors
Walter J. Armbruster, Steve A. Halbrook, and Mary M. Thompson, Guest Editors
Animal agriculture in North America faces a future of opportunities and challenges. This set of papers overviews the current state of the industry, examines forces that may impact the industry in the future, identifies policy alternatives and potential business strategies, identifies the potential consequences of such policies or strategies, and identifies knowledge gaps and research needs. The papers draw from a broader report that provides additional detail.
Steve A. Halbrook, Walter J. Armbruster, and Mary M. Thompson
Animal agriculture in North America constantly adapts to changes in markets in order to remain competitive for the future. New products are developed to meet changing consumer preferences. New production systems reduce costs. Private contract arrangements replace open market bids in public arenas and redefine the relationships among the stakeholders in the system. Technological developments increase farm-level productivity, processing efficiency, distribution systems, and marketing. Every facet of the animal food chain-from genetics to retail and food service outlets-is facing rapid change, accompanied by controversy and challenges.
Michael D. Boehlje
Boeljhe's analysis of the economics of production, processing and marketing summarizes implications of consumer demand, cost drivers, changes in market structure and government policy, and regulation for competitiveness in the North American livestock industry over the next decade. This leads to some critical future challenges and opportunities that merit further analysis and research.
Helen H. Jensen
Jensen addresses consumer demand and the related forces driving changes in animal agriculture. Developments in the production, processing, and distribution system are designed to meet evolving consumer demands worldwide. She looks at how these trends from both sides of the market may play out. The paper also examines some policy options for helping shape the future competitiveness of the industry in North America.
Flynn J. Adcock, Darren Hudson, Parr Rosson, Harold M. Harris, and Cary W. Herndon
The authors look at global competitiveness and trade in the livestock economy, including a significant increase in market integration among the three NAFTA countries. Various segments of the animal agriculture industry are affected by different forces. To improve efficiency of North American animal agriculture, harmonization of policies, programs, and regulations across NAFTA countries will be required.
Charles W. Abdalla and Jennifer L. Lawton
Abdalla and Lawton address environmental issues in animal agriculture associated with new technologies and restructuring of the production and marketing system. Resulting private disputes and public issues concerning animal agriculture and the environment are leading to new costs and benefits. To resolve the complex issues involved requires increased understanding and involvement by all stakeholders.
Peter Goldsmith and Philip L. Martin
Goldsmith and Martin look at community and labor issues in animal agriculture, finding them to be significant but very diverse. The animal agriculture processing industry has shifted from urban to rural locations and relies on substantial numbers of immigrants from Latin America to provide labor. The authors look at community and social impacts, explore some future options, and emphasize the need for animal processors to partner with the communities in which they locate.
H.L. Goodwin, F. Dustan Clark, Dawn Thilmany, and Sandra J. Hamm
Goodwin et al. address policies to protect food safety and animal health, noting that these issues are closely related, yet in some cases, require separate strategies. The authors identify a number of possible policy measures and their implications for assuring sound food safety and animal disease prevention systems to keep North American animal agriculture prosperous and competitive.
David Blandford
Blandford addresses the increasing role of animal welfare issues in wealthy countries. There are initiatives in states, as well in the U.S. Congress, to pass animal welfare bills. Many of the practices being questioned are associated with animal confinement, and there is growing interest in developing voluntary standards within the industry. The author considers economic impacts of various approaches and identifies some options for the future.

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