Issue 16: December 2012
Issue 15: April 2012
Over half of the hired workers employed on U.S. crop farms have been unauthorized for the past two decades. Immigration reforms could affect farm labor costs, which in turn could reduce especially the demand for farm labor.
Issue 14: October 2011
The articles in this theme consider whether sweetened soda should be subject to increased taxation, and whether sweetened soda consumption will decline in the face of tax increases--and by how much. The articles examine the lessons from tobacco taxation, substitution effects, advertising and the complexity of the food obesity nexus.
Issue 14A: October 2011
Taxation of sugary-regular-soda has emerged as one potential public health strategy to address the obesity epidemic. Existing data suggests that such a strategy could affect soda consumption, with adults substituting diet soft drinks or coffee, and children turning to whole milk.
Issue 14B: October 2011
The success of taxes in reducing tobacco, use coupled with increased awareness of how sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) contribute to the obesity epidemic, has stimulated interest in using SSB taxes to curb consumption and reduce obesity. Key lessons learned from tobacco taxation are briefly described in this paper.
Issue 14C: October 2011
This paper considers the current evidence tying soda taxes to potential reductions in population obesity rates. The primary issue raised is that, while soda taxes appear to reduce soda consumption, these behavioral responses may be completely offset by substitution between soda and other (untaxed) high-calorie beverages--producing no obesity reductions.
Issue 14D: October 2011
Soft drink taxes are seen as a potential policy option to address the obesity epidemic, increasingly recognized as a major health care issue. Recent research suggests that increasing soft drink taxes will cause substitutions toward other beverages. We suggest a different perspective with a greater potential for reducing obesity and improving health.
Issue 14E: October 2011
Excise taxes levied on carbonated soft drinks and sugar sweetened beverages are being considered as a way to both lower consumption and generate revenues. Given the high level of television advertising for these products, it is important to examine how advertising affects the impact of excise taxes.
Issue 14F: October 2011
Leading public and private health strategies for combating obesity are built on the principles of balance, choice and responsibility. Taxing soda is not a helpful complement; it is simplistic, allows for many substitution effects, is unfairly burdensome to the poor and responsible consumers, and does not contribute to better understanding and accountability.
Issue 13: July 2011
Volatile commodity and input markets combined with a nagging recession, budget limits, an uncertain global trade setting, and complex politics create a dynamic landscape for the impending farm bill debate. These four articles examine the critical factors shaping legislation that will outline the future of U.S. food and farm policy.
Issue 13A: July 2011
The next farm bill debate will be largely shaped by external factors, including the current political environment, the size of the federal budget deficit, and the changing array of stakeholder groups. Of recent farm bills, the bill expected to pass in 2012 could most closely resemble the 1996 farm bill.
Issue 13B: July 2011
U.S. farm policy has been primarily focused on the producer safety net delivered through commodity programs with other areas of agricultural policy becoming more or less important over time. The next farm bill will be passed during a period of large budget deficits increasing the need for compromise.
Issue 13C: July 2011
This article offers a global perspective on the international economic environment in which the 2012 Farm Bill will be debated. This environment includes developments in the global economy and in world commodity markets, the outcome of multilateral, regional and bilateral trade negotiations—or lack thereof—and the changing political support for freer trade in farm products.
Issue 13D: July 2011
In Fiscal 2011 it is estimated that about 70% of USDA’s budget is to be directed to supplemental food and nutrition assistance programs. In this article the main forces that will influence how those policies develop within the 2012 Farm Bill debate are examined.
Issue 12: January 2011
Proposed rules to clarify the Packers and Stockyards Act have caused sharp divisions over the economic and legal effects of these rules. All sides could benefit from objective analysis of the issue and clarification on GIPSA's implementation of the rules, and from review of the regulatory process as a whole.
Issue 11: September 2010
The goal of this paper is to provide a local perspective on the possible short-term impact of a cap-and-trade climate policy on agricultural producers in the United States. Based on an empirical study of the cost and benefit explicitly considering farmer behavior, it provides policy implications on agricultural adjustment to economy-wide climate change mitigation.
Issue 10: August 2010
U.S. ethanol use seems to be approaching a blend wall in which domestic consumption is limited by available vehicle technology. In this context, we discuss the implications of the proposed Renewable Fuels Reinvestment Act and the existing Renewable Fuels Standard under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.
Issue 9: July 2010
Payments linked to cropland area or to crop prices can exacerbate downward swings in world prices. Biofuel policies can contribute to a run-up in crop prices. The resulting lack of price stability creates problems for farmers in poor countries, while continued linking of food prices to fuel prices threatens the urban poor.
Issue 8: May 2010
This article reviews the comparative roles of the public and private sectors in setting fresh produce standards and discusses whether they should mirror the application of PR/HACCP-type procedures mandated for meat and poultry products. Producers--and policymakers--options in dealing with food standards and food safety issues are also discussed.
Issue 7: April 2010
Using an economic model of the U.S. agricultural and forestry sectors we show that policies encouraging Greenhouse Gas (GHG) mitigation efforts could significantly stimulate agricultural income despite higher input costs and lead to a net welfare increase for the U.S. agricultural sector.
Issue 6: October 2009
Negotiations to open up markets for U.S. agricultural exports have shown little progress in recent years. But with greater participation in international institutions by Brazil, India and China, keeping a strong U.S. involvement is important. Moreover, emerging global food markets and climate change legislation raise new issues for trade talks.
Issue 5: September 2009
About half of the hired workers employed on U.S. farms are believed to be unauthorized. Immigration reform could speed the exit of current farm workers from the farm work force and, if efforts to curb illegal migration are successful, raise farm labor costs as more farmers turn to guest workers.
Issue 4: September 2009
Farm program payment limitations have been in place for nearly 40 years. In his 2009 State of the Union Speech, President Obama asked Congress to eliminate direct payments to large agribusinesses. This article discusses key issues surrounding the proposed $500,000 farm-sales threshold for phasing out direct payments to major-crop producers.
Issue 3: June 2009
A U.S. cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gases (GHG) now seems very likely. With the White House and Congress poised to move on this issue, this article reviews current and proposed cap-and-trade systems for GHG in the United States, potential income for farmers and ranchers, and issues that may impact participation.
Issue 2: September 2008
Proposed acquisitions of National Beef, Smithfield Beef, and Five Rivers Ranch Cattle Feeding by JBS-Swift are attracting attention for their potential impact on vertical and horizontal beef industry market structure. This paper discusses market structure implications of the acquisitions, including Department of Justice/Federal Trade Commission guidelines for evaluating the merger.
Issue 1: June 2008