CHOICES

CHOICES

A publication of AAEA

A publication of AAEA

Individual Articles

Nicotine Standard for Combusted Cigarettes Could Have Major Economic Impacts on Tobacco Growers

3rd Quarter 2019
A. Ford Ramsey

On March 16, 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking to develop a tobacco product standard limiting the amount of nicotine in combusted cigarettes. While a product standard could have significant public health implications, it is likely to result in losses for tobacco growers.

Possible Implications for U.S. Agriculture of U.S. Trade Policies: Smoot–Hawley All Over Again?

2nd Quarter 2019
Maksym Chepeliev, Wallace E. Tyner, and Dominique van der Mensbrugghe

We provide a quantitative assessment of possible impacts on U.S. agriculture from different trade policies: (i) implementation of the USMCA; (ii) the ongoing trade war between the United States and its key trading partners; (iii) the U.S. abandonment of the TPP; and (iv) the possible dissolution of NAFTA.

Can Wages Rise Quickly Enough to Keep Workers in the Fields?

2nd Quarter 2019
Diane Charlton, J. Edward Taylor, Stavros Vougioukas, and Zachariah Rutledge

The farm labor supply from rural Mexico is decreasing, and household survey data from rural Mexico suggest that real U.S. farm wages would have to rise by more than 10% over 10 years to keep the U.S. farm labor supply constant. Labor-saving practices and mechanization will be required to keep U.S. agricultural production globally competitive.

Innovations for a Shrinking Agricultural Workforce

2nd Quarter 2019
Diane Charlton, J. Edward Taylor, Stavros Vougioukas, and Zachariah Rutledge

We analyze the adoption of labor-saving technologies in the agricultural industry. Investment in new technologies should plan for a smaller, more educated workforce because the U.S. farm sector faces a long-term decline in labor supply and education is rising in regions that traditionally supplied workers to U.S. farms.

Proposed Changes Would Increase the Cost and Decrease the Benefit of Listing Species as Endangered

2nd Quarter 2019
Charles Sims and Himadri Palikhe

The most dramatic and controversial of the recent proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act involves the regulations surrounding listing and delisting species. Based on past economic analyses, we find that these proposed changes will likely increase the cost and decrease the benefit of species protection.

How Might Cellular Agriculture Impact the Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Industries?

1st Quarter 2019
Monica Saavoss

Cellular agriculture technologies create products that are either molecularly identical to or have proteins that are molecularly identical to animal products. This article discusses the current state of the cellular agriculture industry and explores key environmental, health, public perception issues as well as industry impacts.

Estimating Value, Damages, and Remedies when Farm Data are Misappropriated

4th Quarter 2018
Noah J. Miller, Terry W. Griffin, Paul Goeringer, Ashley Ellixson, and Aleksan Shanoyan

Farmers may be interested in claiming remedies after farm data are misappropriated. Expert witnesses must valuate farm data within the farm gate and aggregated as a community for each player before estimating damages. Estimated actual damages, unjust enrichment, and reasonable royalty are presented from the farmer’s perspective and misappropriating defendant’s rebuttal.

A Roadmap for Assessing Relative Risks for Agricultural Production

4th Quarter 2018
Beau Olen and Scott Auld

This article provides a roadmap for assessing relative risks for agricultural production. Weather causes the lion’s share of crop loss in the United States. For Pacific region wine grapes, top drivers of crop loss were April frost, January/April/November freeze, summer heat, and cold, wet spring weather.

Are Large Farms Less Risky to Insure than Small Farms?

4th Quarter 2018
Keith H. Coble and Brian Williams

We examine whether crop insurance units are less risky if a part of a larger farm. Various farm bill proposals suggest capping the per farm subsidy. We provide a large-scale examination of large farms leaving crop insurance. We find large farms are less risky, but various factors mitigate the results.

Rapid Response Lowers Eradication Costs of Invasive Species: Evidence from Florida

4th Quarter 2018
Sergio Alvarez and Daniel Solís

Invasive species cause major damages to agriculture and the environment. We discuss the three phases of biological invasions and the strategies that policy makers have followed to address them. We argue that the magnitude of costs and chances of eradication are related to the time elapsed between invasion and policy response.

The Impact of the Market Facilitation Program on U.S. Soybean, Sorghum and Corn Producers

4th Quarter 2018
Anil Giri, E. Wesley F. Peterson, and Sankalp Sharma

Responding to U.S. tariffs, China placed tariffs on U.S. exports of agricultural commodities. To compensate farmers for the impacts of the tariffs, the USDA is offering direct payments to producers. We estimate the farm-level impacts of these payments and find that they will over-compensate farmers for the effects of the Chinese tariffs.

The Profit Problem of American Agriculture: What We Have Learned with the Perspective of Time

3rd Quarter 2018
Steven C. Blank

The problem of poor profits in American agriculture is not well known to most Americans, nor policy makers. This article discusses how agricultural problems have changed over the past five decades, presents data showing that trends reported two decades ago have continued, and suggests alternative themes for future government policies.

Government Support in Mexican Agriculture

3rd Quarter 2018
Feng Wu, Berdikul Qushim, Marcelo Calle, and Zhengfei Guan

Mexico’s extensive agricultural support program subsidizes production, postharvest management, marketing, and other activities throughout the supply chain. Government support, particularly for investments in protected agriculture and irrigation technologies, has been instrumental in the rapid growth of Mexico’s fruit and vegetable industry.

What Have We Learned from China’s Past Trade Retaliation Strategies?

2nd Quarter 2018
Minghao Li, Wendong Zhang, and Chad Hart

By examining China’s past strategies, we show that China’s trade retaliation responses follow three principles: responding proportionally with restraint, targeting products that are substitutable, and inflicting economic and political costs. We discuss China’s recent and ongoing trade retaliations in light of these principles.

Awaiting Takeoff: New Aviation Fuels from Farms and Forests

1st Quarter 2018
Jeffrey J. Reimer and Mindy S. Crandall

Many rural areas of the United States are struggling economically but have abundant natural resources that could be used as feedstocks for producing aviation fuel. Recent research concludes that these alternatives are technically viable but are not cost-competitive with conventional fuels. This generally holds, even when the societal costs and benefits of different fuel types are taken into account.

Reduce but Do Not Eliminate America’s Trade and Budget Deficits

1st Quarter 2018
William A. Ward

Since the 1970s, the U.S. has had the privilege of not having to pay for all imports nor repay all foreign loans. From 2000–2016, $199 billion in imports annually were “free,” as were an equal number of annual federal expenditures. Rather than eliminate the trade and budget deficits, they should be reduced to their warranted levels. This article estimates the potential “warranted” deficits.

Rural Exposure to Pension Reductions

1st Quarter 2018
Steven Miller, Steven Deller, Judith Stallmann

This study explores the exposure of rural communities to reductions in pension payments. We find that rural counties that attractively pursued retirement migration as an economic development policy are particularly at risk and a 50% reduction in payments can have substantial impacts on smaller rural communities.

Is ARC-CO Acting as a Safety Net Program? Evidence from Iowa

1st Quarter 2018
Alejandro Plastina and Chad Hart

This article uses financial information from Iowa farms to explore the relationship between ARC-CO payments and farm income, profitability, liquidity, solvency, and size. Rather than acting as a safety net for Iowa farmers, ARC-CO payments can be more accurately characterized as decoupled support.

Health Insurance and National Farm Policy

1st Quarter 2018
Shoshanah Inwood, Alana Knudson, Florence A. Becot, Bonnie Braun, Stephan J. Goetz, Jane M. Kolodins

This research examines how health insurance affects efforts to build a vibrant and resilient farm population. We find health insurance is a national farm policy issue tied to risk management, growing the next generation of farmers, farm succession and land transfer, rural jobs, and rural development.

Risk and Red Tape: Barriers to Organic Transition for U.S. Farmers

4th Quarter 2017
Timothy A. Delbridge, Robert P. King, Gianna Short, and Kellee James

Demand for organic food products has grown rapidly in recent years, but domestic production of organic crops has not always kept pace. We discuss the management, cultural, political, and market barriers that have discouraged the adoption of organic agriculture in the United States.

Sweeteners May Leave a Sour Note on NAFTA Renegotiations

4th Quarter 2017
Prithviraj Lakkakula and Frayne Olson

Historically, the sweetener trade between the United States and Mexico has been mired in disputes. These disputes are the result of competing economic and political interests of each country’s sugar and corn refiners’ associations. This article highlights potential issues surrounding sweetener trade in the NAFTA renegotiation.

Tracking the Evolution and Recent Development in Whole Farm Insurance Programs

3rd Quarter 2017
Beau Olen and JunJie Wu

This article analyzes the development of Whole Farm Revenue Protection—WFRP—as well as outcomes in its first two years. WFRP addresses adverse selection by expanding the size and diversity of the insurance pool and serves as a complement for buy-up insurance and a substitute for disaster assistance and catastrophic risk protection.

The Potential for Healthier and Energy Efficient American Diets

3rd Quarter 2017
Sarah Rehkamp and Patrick Canning

Optimization modeling was used to create two hypothetical healthy diets, one that minimizes changes from the current American diet and another that minimizes energy use. Both healthy diets reduce energy use in the U.S. food system, include animal-based foods, and maintain or reduce household food expenses.

Uncertainty Undermines Area-Wide Pest Management for Citrus Greening in Florida

3rd Quarter 2017
Ariel Singerman, Sergio H. Lence, and Pilar Useche

Area-wide pest management is effective in controlling citrus greening. However,
the strategic uncertainty involved in relying on neighbors may impose too high of a cost
to many citrus growers in Florida, resulting in non-coordinating sprays.

Agricultural Export Promotion Programs Create Positive Economic Impacts

3rd Quarter 2017
Jeffrey J. Reimer, Gary W. Williams, Rebekka M. Dudensing, and Harry M. Kaiser

Recent research suggests that agricultural export market development programs effectively communicate the distinguishing features of U.S. products to overseas buyers. These programs increase agricultural exports and producer welfare and typically have positive net effects on the economy as measured by changes in GDP and employment.

“What It Takes to Get Tenure” – Perceptions and Experiences of AAEA Members

2nd Quarter 2017
Christiane Schroeter and Sven Anders

A national survey of tenured and untenured economists reveals how requirements and performance indicators in teaching, research, service, and grant funding have adjusted over time. While perceptions of what it takes to attain tenure have changed, self-motivation and support from colleagues are now key to earning promotion and tenure in U.S. higher education.

A Tale of Two Americas: Why Is That a Surprise?

2nd Quarter 2017
Daniel W. Bromley

The election of 2016 was a “system” election. Neither candidate was popular. Voters either affirmed or rejected the performance of the American version of a market economy. That economy has failed people in a large swath of the country. The Electoral College performed as our founders intended. All people matter.

Economic, Regulatory and International Implications of Gene Drives in Agriculture

2nd Quarter 2017
Zachary Brown

Recent advances in biotechnology are generating new tools for pest and disease control in agriculture. One such technology, the gene drive, potentially allows humans to eliminate or alter entire pest populations using new genetic engineering tools. But with these potential benefits come risks and regulatory questions.

Mutual Accountability Opens Private-Sector Opportunities in African Agriculture

4th Quarter 2016
James Oehmke

Growing African incomes and populations are expected to lead to increasing demand for food products and investment opportunities throughout African food value chains. Investment opportunities in African agriculture are best understood by considering the implementation of the mutual accountability processes which provide pivotal entry points for private sector engagement.

Rural Voice and Rural Investments: The 2016 Election and the Future of Rural Policy

4th Quarter 2016
Douglas J. O'Brien and Mary Clare Ahearn

The 2016 election brought attention to issues facing rural communities and people. The election brought a renewed focus to finding solutions to persistent challenges, could encourage greater cooperation among policy stakeholders, and underscores the importance of identifying opportunities which give residents more of a voice in their businesses and communities.

Survival Rates of Rural Businesses: What the Evidence Tells Us

4th Quarter 2016
Steven Deller and Tessa Conroy

New businesses in rural America have higher five-year survival rates than their urban counterparts. This is likely due to lower opportunity costs in rural communities along with different perceptions of risk. If rural communities are to have vibrant economies they must reenergize their efforts aimed at supporting entrepreneurship.

Alternative Policies to Address Emissions in U.S. Dairy Farming

4th Quarter 2016
Eric Njuki and Boris E. Bravo-Ureta

Rising atmospheric Greenhouse Gas levels have increased the possibility of environmental regulation across several industries. The dairy industry is a major contributor of emissions and an important economic sector of agriculture. The costs of any potential regulations are expected to have significant impacts on the structure of the dairy sector.

The United States and Cuba: As Diplomatic Relations Warm, Do Trade Relations?

4th Quarter 2016
William A. Messina, Jr., Spiro E. Stefanou, and Frederick S. Royce

Despite the resumption of U.S. diplomatic relations with Cuba in 2015, U.S. sales of agricultural products to Cuba continued the decline that started in 2009—until April of 2016. If the embargo is lifted, the United States could reacquire an important role as an economic and trading partner for Cuba.

Inconvenient Truths about Landowner (Un)Willingness to Grow Dedicated Bioenergy Crops

4th Quarter 2016
Bradford L. Barham, Daniel F. Mooney, and Scott M. Swinton

Landowner surveys reveal four inconvenient truths about the potential economic supply of land for bioenergy crops. Land supply is highly price inelastic, corn stover is the most readily available cellulosic biomass, landowners prefer to supply cropland rather than non-crop marginal land, and existing farm enterprises—especially dairy—pose high opportunity costs.

Seed Prices, Proposed Mergers and Acquisitions Among Biotech Firms

4th Quarter 2016
Aleksandre Maisashvili, Henry Bryant, J. Marc Raulston, George Knapek, Joe Outlaw, and James Richard

The proposed mergers of biotech firms will likely affect the prices in agricultural seed markets. Because these mergers are likely to affect the competitiveness of the markets and no new seed firms are likely to enter the market, seed prices for corn, soybean, and especially cotton are expected to rise.

The Making of a Farm Bill

3rd Quarter 2016
Stephanie Mercier

Most of the public attention in the making of a Farm Bill is focused on the farm safety net. U.S. farm producer groups are very active participants in the development of these programs. Multiple groups develop and communicate proposals and push their ideas in the farm bill debate.

An International View on “Correcting the Whimsies of U.S. Fisheries Policy”

3rd Quarter 2016
Viktoria Kahui, Claire W. Armstrong, and Naomi S. Foley

Bromley’s (2015) paper “Correcting the Whimsies of U.S. Fisheries Policy” critiques economists’ role in U.S. fisheries policy, but the issues are not unique to the United States. There are alternate valid perspectives regarding the give-away of ITQs, lack of stewardship, resource rent and communities, and criticism of Gordon and Hardin.

Labor Compliance in Fresh Produce: Lessons from Food Safety

3rd Quarter 2016
Philip Martin

Systems to improve grower compliance with labor laws are developing in the produce industry. The evolution of food safety compliance systems offers lessons. A proliferation of programs and labels may lead to grower pressure to develop government industry-wide standards. Current systems are in need of evaluations.

Off-farm Income: Managing Risk in Young and Beginning Farmer Households

3rd Quarter 2016
Heidi J. Bubela

Young and beginning farm households benefit from the continued trend of increasing off-farm income. The agricultural boom created opportunity to bring young people back to the farm. As record farm profits fade, the role of off-farm income as a risk management tool in these households will only grow.

Land Grants: Back to the Future

3rd Quarter 2016
Michael V. Martin and Janie Simms Hipp

The Morrill Act of 1862 provided the legislation to establish the Land Grant College System with a mission of educating the "common person." At this time of income inequality, the 1862 institutions should provide leadership and service to its sister institutions of Tribal Colleges, Historically Black Colleges, and Hispanic Serving Institutions.

Beginning Farmer Credit and the Farm Service Agency’s Role

2nd Quarter 2016
Charles B. Dodson and Bruce L. Ahrendsen

Though beginning farmers were present on over 20% of U.S. farms in 2014, fewer than half reported any debt. While most farms with debt received credit entirely from commercial lenders, USDA’s Farm Service Agency was an important credit source. One-in-seven indebted farms with a beginning farmer had an FSA loan.

Agricultural Trade Reform and Tropical Forest Preservation

2nd Quarter 2016
Clayton W. Ogg

Deforestation is a factor in climate change and a driver of deforestation is the conversion of land to agricultural uses. Much of the world’s deforestation occurs in countries that heavily subsidize farmers’ use of fertilizer, water, or credit. By working together to reform policies, both developed and tropical countries can better support farmers, reduce pollution, and protect forests.

TTIP and Agriculture: Another Transatlantic Chicken War?

2nd Quarter 2016
Tim Josling and Stefan Tangermann

Transatlantic tensions over agricultural trade go back to 1963, when a “Chicken War” broke out over the tariffs imposed on United States exports of poultry. Now the tension revolves around health and safety regulations. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will highlight these disagreements, and point the way to convergence.

The Debate about Farm Nitrates and Drinking Water

1st Quarter 2016
Mark J. Hanson, Andrew Keller, Michael A. Boland, and William F. Lazarus

Recent federal lawsuits are using federal water pollution control laws to change manure application and farm field fertilizer applications. Financial, technological and project support should be used to protect water supplies through productive use of excess nitrates rather than restricting farm field use of nitrogen necessary for maximum crop production.

Another Perspective on Understanding Food Democracy

1st Quarter 2016
Brandon R. McFadden and Spiro E. Stefanou

Conversations about food production are becoming more mainstream and the Food Democracy is partly to thank for that. However, in these conversations, the tradeoffs between various production methods and price are not discussed enough. Society would benefit greatly from an honest discussion about the tradeoffs of different production methods.

Activists Not Always Interested in Advancing Democracy

1st Quarter 2016
Terry Townsend

Those who demonize modern agricultural production methods are not always advocating for noble social goals as sometimes argued in the food democracy movement. Some are seeking to limit the use of productive technologies in the service of their own market interest. Incentives can be altered by demanding assertions be science-based.

Does the Public Care About How Climate Change Might Affect Agriculture?

1st Quarter 2016
Gi-Eu Lee, Scott Loveridge, and Julie A. Winkler

Public support for government involvement in assisting farmers adapt to climate change is higher than for adaptation more generally. Furthermore, results of a Michigan survey found views varied over the course of a warm spell. Accurately interpreting public opinion is critical for effective policy formulation and decision making.

Three Little Words: EPA and the RFS Waiver Authority

1st Quarter 2016
Jonathan Coppess

EPA recently released the final rule for RFS volume requirements, using general waiver authority to reduce the statutory mandate. EPA interprets the phrase ‘inadequate domestic supply’ in the waiver to permit including the blend wall in its determination. Legal precedent raises questions about EPA's interpretation.

What Do We Mean by Value-added Agriculture?

4th Quarter 2015
Ruoxi Lu and Rebekka Dudensing

Adding value to agricultural products through processing, product segregation, and other avenues is important to small farms, consumers, and rural economies. However, definitions of “value-added” can be conflicting and confusing. This paper adapts a comprehensive definition and conceptual framework to meet the needs of a variety of stakeholders.

Agricultural Supply Control: Lessons from the U.S. Dairy and Potato Industries

4th Quarter 2015
Yuliya V. Bolotova

Agricultural production restrictions implemented by organizations of dairy and potato producers in the United States, resulted in a number of antitrust lawsuits filed by direct and indirect purchasers. Organizations presumed that agricultural production restrictions were protected by the Capper-Volstead Act (1922), a limited antitrust exemption from the Sherman Act (1890).

Agricultural Labor and Immigration Reform

4th Quarter 2015
Zhengfei Guan, Feng Wu, Fritz Roka, and Alicia Whidden

Labor shortages and immigration issues have been major challenges for U.S. agriculture, particularly the labor intensive specialty crop industry. The Florida strawberry industry has been particularly challenged, while imports from Mexico have risen dramatically. But growers have been slow to embrace H-2A workers due to issues of the program.

Correcting the Whimsies of U.S. Fisheries Policy

4th Quarter 2015
Daniel W. Bromley

Fishery policy is based on a false notion of property rights, belief that industry profits measure economic efficiency, and utopian visions of stewardship. These fictions arise from bogus economic models created by a small incestuous group of fishery economists. Public policy demands intellectual integrity.

Understanding the Food Democracy Movement

4th Quarter 2015
F. Bailey Norwood

The modern food system is beseted by criticism from numerous angles, though most of the food movements could be grouped under the term ‘Food Democracy’. However diverse as its members may be, there is a theme among Food Democracy activists, and that is an opposition to big corporations in food.

Using Big Data to Evaluate Agro-environmental Policies

3rd Quarter 2015
John Antle, Susan Capalbo, and Laurie Houston

Private-public data partnerships have the potential to advance agricultural knowledge infrastructures while benefiting farmers, agribusinesses and the environment. These partnerships could collect information that improves on-farm management, food quality, and science-based environmental management. New communication technologies could lower the cost of better data while preserving privacy and confidentiality.

Farm Program Elections, Budget Costs, and the WTO

3rd Quarter 2015
Patrick Westhoff, Scott Gerlt, and Joseph Glauber

Under the 2014 farm bill producers had the option of choosing among programs and are then bound by these elections for the life of the farm bill. Average projected payments are expected to peak in 2015 and then decline. U.S. support is unlikely to exceed limits under current World Trade Organization rules, but other trade issues remain.

Is America Running Out of Farmland?

3rd Quarter 2015
Paul D. Gottlieb

The national agricultural land base is not at significant risk from urbanization. Prime farmland, however, is dwindling rapidly in certain states and metropolitan areas. USDA's National Resources Inventory allows us to identify particular states where preservation should be a priority.

The 2014 U.S. Farm Bill and Cotton: Proof that the WTO Matters

3rd Quarter 2015
Terry Townsend

The WTO Brazil cotton case uniquely influenced the 2014 farm bill, proving that the WTO is still relevant. Upland cotton was treated “specifically” and “ambitiously” in the farm bill, and such treatment would never have happened but for the legal and moral pressures brought within the WTO.

Integrating Ecological and Economic Considerations for Pollinator Habitat Policy

2nd Quarter 2015
Mariah Ehmke, Chian Jones-Ritten, Jason Shogren, and Thadchaigeni Panchalingam

Economic and ecological processes act together to support pollinator health and productivity. Improved ecosystem functioning and land management can boost pollinator populations. Market, non-market, behavioral and institutional economic tools exist for effective and efficient pollinator conservation policies.

Trade Agreements: Impacts of the Uruguay Round and Prospects for the Future

2nd Quarter 2015
E. Wesley F. Peterson

Established 20 years ago, the Uruguay Round Agriculture Agreement (URAA) has been successfully shifting the types of agricultural support away from policies that distort international trade. Unfortunately, the prospects for continued progress in reducing the trade-distorting effects of agricultural policies, through either multilateral or regional trade agreements are not promising.

Where the Grass is Always Greener: Dairy Farmer Location Preferences

2nd Quarter 2015
Christopher Wolf, Marin Bozic, Mark Stephenson, and Katie Behnke

While milk production has moved south and west for decades, recent years have witnessed revitalization and growth in traditional dairy states. Large dairy producers surveyed about location preferences reveal that feed and water are of paramount importance.

The Limits of Voluntary Conservation Programs

2nd Quarter 2015
Marc Ribaudo

Cropland that is vulnerable to pollutant losses often contributes a disproportionate share of pollutants. Farmers operating on this land who are motivated most strongly by production-related metrics may not voluntarily adopt conservation practices. Policy approaches that raise the personal value of improving environmental quality may improve the likelihood of adoption.

The Broiler Industry: Competition and Policy Challenges

2nd Quarter 2015
Tomislav Vukina and Xiaoyong Zheng

The U.S. broiler industry is often considered as the typical model of industrialized agriculture. Recent evidence on mergers and acquisitions in the industry seems to be indicating that the competition in the markets for contract grower services is improving in the core producing regions of the country.

Russia's Economic Crisis and its Agricultural and Food Economy

1st Quarter 2015
William M. Liefert and Olga Liefert

Since 2000, Russia has become increasingly important for world agriculture, as a big grain exporter and a large agricultural and food importer. However, the economic crisis that began in 2014 is disrupting the country’s agricultural production and distribution, as well as world agricultural markets, and is also hurting Russian consumers.

Managing Marketing and Pricing Risks in Evolving Agricultural Markets

1st Quarter 2015
Amy M. Nagler, Christopher T. Bastian, Dale J. Menkhaus, and Bridger Feuz

Many agricultural sectors increasingly rely on negotiated contracts, with related benefits and risks for producers and agribusinesses. Expanding current risk management policy and education efforts to include potential marketing and pricing risks could help producers capitalize on opportunities in agri-food supply chains increasingly linked through contractual agreements.

Progress on Broadband Adoption in Rural America

1st Quarter 2015
James N. Barnes and Kalyn Coatney

The United States has made significant investments to improve its existing rural broadband infrastructure with the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. This article summarizes progress on rural broadband adoption and how it can be boosted using experiential learning projects directed by land-grant university faculty.

The Potential Economic Cost and Response to Greening in Florida Citrus

3rd Quarter 2014
Derek Farnsworth, Kelly A. Grogan, Ariena H.C. van Bruggen, and Charles B. Moss

Citrus greening is a plant disease that reduces the marketable yield of infected citrus trees and often makes them economically unprofitable. Since its observation in Florida in 2005, greening has spread throughout the state and caused significant economic losses for citrus producers.

How Connected are Our Farms?

3rd Quarter 2014
Brian E. Whitacre, Tyler B. Mark, and Terry W. Griffin

Precision agriculture's maturation into "big data" requires reliable high-speed connectivity. Using the 2012 Census of Agriculture and the National Broadband Map to evaluate connectivity relative to crop production reveals that high-production counties are relatively well-connected. However, there are pockets of inadequate connectivity for adopting "big data" technologies.

Comparing the United States and Canadian Fair Trade Markets to the Rest of the World

3rd Quarter 2014
Nicholas DiMarcello III, Neal H. Hooker, and Nicholas Marconi

The North American fair trade market is at a critical stage in development. Private standards and label claims promote goods based on ethical, social and environmental attributes. Frequently also claiming to be organic, these products are becoming harder to compare as competing standards make the market more complex.

New Tool (FooDS) Identifies Consumers' Views on Food Safety

3rd Quarter 2014
Jayson L. Lusk and Susan Murray

Consumers' preferences and concerns for food- and meat-related issues have been tracked over the past 16 months. While current events have led to spikes in concern for and awareness of issues like E. coli and genetically modified organisms (GMOs), demands for meat products have remained steady despite high prices and adverse news events.

College Education in the Post-Recession Rural Economy

2nd Quarter 2014
Alexander Marre

College education is increasingly important in this knowledge-driven economy. Yet rural areas face challenges with the supply of and demand for workers with a post-high school education. Despite these challenges, there are hopeful signs of a place for the college-educated in the rural economy, especially in the health and education sectors.

Cooperative Extension System: Trends and Economic Impacts on U.S. Agriculture

1st Quarter 2014
Sun Ling Wang

Since the Cooperative Extension System was first built by the Smith-Lever Act in 1914, it has yielded economic benefits in many ways. Extension's program portfolios varied through time and across regions to address evolving mission priorities and tightening budget constraints. There are also challenges awaiting Extension in its second century.

Food in Popular Literature

1st Quarter 2014
Peyton Ferrier

In recent years, food writers have mixed industry study, micro-history, and social commentary to present strong opinions about the modern food system’s impact on health and the environment and to advise consumers and policy makers what they should be doing about it. This article briefly summarizes the economic arguments of two prominent food books-Michael Pollan’s Cooked and Michael Moss’s Sugar, Salt, and Fat—along with Jayson Lusk’s book Food Police which critiques the food writing genre as a whole.

The Decentralization of Immigration Enforcement and Implications for Agriculture

1st Quarter 2014
Cesar L. Escalante, Genti Kostandini, and Elton Mykerezi

Evidence suggests that the shrinking effect on farm labor supply of stricter immigration laws has been more apparent in the more labor-intensive vegetable sector of counties adopting the 287(g) program. State-level evidence might become more evident as stronger policies are adopted that can bring about more drastic changes in the farm sector.

The Base vs. Planted Acre Issue: Perspectives, Trade-offs, and Questions

4th Quarter 2013
Carl Zulauf

A key 2014 farm bill issue is whether commodity program payments should be made on current planted acres or historical base acres? This issue encompasses the broad issues of acreage shifts, Title I program design, and shift to insurance-type programs. Each is discussed, along with trade-offs and strategic considerations.

What Have We Learned about the Cost and Effectiveness of the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program?

4th Quarter 2013
Ranju Baral, George C. Davis, Elena Serrano, Wen You, Stephanie Blake

USDA's Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) is a cost effective approach to providing nutrition education in some of the nation’s households with limited resources. Programs are implemented differently across the states and an analysis of these differences provides some lessons about how states might improve their EFNEP program effectiveness.

U.S. Agricultural Exports to Cuba: Composition, Trends, and Prospects for the Future

4th Quarter 2013
Mario A. Gonzalez-Corzo and Armando Nova Gonzalez

A Regional Look at the Distribution of Farm Program Payments and How It May Change with a New Farm Bill

4th Quarter 2013
John Antle and Laurie Houston

Farm program payment distributions are examined for four regions of the country. This analysis reveals some fresh insights into the distribution of farm program payments and how it could change with a new farm bill that should inform the debate about the economic effects of farm programs.

The Renewable Fuel Standard - Where Do We Go From Here?

4th Quarter 2013
Wallace E. Tyner

Policies supporting the biofuels industry largely rely on mandates for Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS). In light of the lack of progress in developing cellulosic technology, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued its proposed 2014 RFS which significantly differ from the current RFS. The issues that led to the new proposed 2014 standards and a possible way forward are considered.

Federal Statistics for Applied Economists

3rd Quarter 2013
Katherine R. Smith

The federal statistical system is a collection of data and administrative information on population, economics, health, and natural resources and is the ultimate public good, critically important for the analysis done by applied economists. Federal statistical agencies are considering how to rank priorities in anticipation of difficult budget decisions in the near future.

Implications of Cuts in USDA Dairy Data: A Conversation with Dairy Industry Economist Thomas Wegner

3rd Quarter 2013
Andrew M. Novakovic

The USDA elected to eliminate a key set of estimates for the dairy sector under sequestration. If this is an indication of the vulnerability of certain reports to future tight budgets, what are the implications? The 2013 cuts are described, including from the point of view of Thomas Wegner, director of economics and dairy policy, Land O'Lakes, Inc.

Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered (GE) Foods: The Showdown Begins

3rd Quarter 2013
Benjamin Senauer

Over 25 states are considering proposals to label foods with GE ingredients. Two states have conditionally passed such legislation and voters in Washington State will decide on the issue in the November election. This paper explores arguments for and against mandatory labeling.

Why We Need Federal Statistical Data for States and Counties

3rd Quarter 2013
Mark D. Partridge, Stephan J. Goetz, and Maureen R. Kilkenny

High-quality state and local data have helped American businesses to be more productive and create jobs, helped governments to be more effective and accountable, and helped educators train the next generation of economic development experts. Existing and threatened federal budget cuts to data collection threaten to undermine these advantages.

Behind the Collapse of MF Global

2nd Quarter 2013
Paul E. Peterson

Nearly $1.6 billion was missing from more than 27,000 customer accounts when MF Global, one of the world’s leading futures brokerage firms, failed in October 2011. This article reviews the events leading to MF Global's collapse and highlights the need for better protections against the misuse of customer funds.

IRS Tax Rules and Native American Producers: One Size Does Not Fit All

2nd Quarter 2013
Ruby Ward, Trent Teegerstrom, and Joseph G. Hiller

The differing tax treatment of farm income for American Indian/Alaska Native producers causes serious issues. This includes the complexities associated with agricultural tax issues on tribal lands and tax implications when dealing with USDA programs. Possible solutions and policy options are discussed.

The Changing Landscape of Northern Great Plains Wheat Markets

2nd Quarter 2013
Anton Bekkerman

Food security and decreased production concerns have likely prompted multinational agribusinesses to vertically integrate procurement, transportation, and export of Northern Great Plains wheat. Resulting grain demand increases may have already changed land conservation behaviors. Potential longer run implications include decreased competition for grain and structural changes to wheat production areas and marketing.

Lack of Information Is the Root of U.S. Foodborne Illness Risk

2nd Quarter 2013
Tanya Roberts

While the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act improves food safety incentives, only 0.05% of U.S. foodborne illnesses are linked to the causative food now. New pathogen tests, coupled with policies to improve information in the marketplace, have the potential to reduce the risk of foodborne illness and their Long Term Health Outcomes.

Agricultural Conservation & Environmental Programs: The Challenge of Data-Driven Conservation

2nd Quarter 2013
Otto C. Doering, Douglas J. Lawrence, and J. Douglas Helms

Improving conservation program efficiency requires collecting, analyzing, and using natural resource data. USDA has a long history of collecting natural resource information, but data collection is not enough. Policy makers must support data collection, analysis, and validation over time and data must be useful for policy decision-making and adaptive management.

Performance of the Critical Access Hospital Program: Lessons Learned for Future Rural Hospital Effectiveness in a Changing Health Policy Landscape

1st Quarter 2013
J. Matthew Fannin and I. Cristian Nedelea

Research suggests the Critical Access Hospital program maintained rural access through increased revenue, profitability, and quality of hospitals with relatively minor decreases in cost efficiency. Improved performance through increased revenue brought about by the program may provide insight into new health policies such as the Affordable Care Act.

Farm Policy and Disaster Aid Programs: The Path Looking Forward

1st Quarter 2013
Vincent H. Smith and John P. Hewlett

The 2013 Farm Bill is being written as Congress searches for ways to reduce federal spending on discretionary programs. Some farm subsidies are likely to be reduced and others discontinued. In the context of the current policy environment, we examine which programs may survive unscathed and which may not.

USDA Microloans and Small Organic Farms: Filling a Lending Niche

1st Quarter 2013
Cesar L. Escalante, Myra Clarisse R. Ferrer, and Bingbing Wang

The new USDA microloan program addresses organic farms’ concern that their loan requests have been usually dismissed by lenders as too small. However, this article lays out issues raised by organic farmers that lenders need to take into consideration for better lender-borrower relationships and successful implementation of micro lending operations.

Implementing Dietary Goals and Guidelines

Issue 16: December 2012
Marco A. Palma and Ronald D. Knutson

Productivity Growth in Global Agriculture Shifting to Developing Countries

4th Quarter 2012
Keith Fuglie and Sun Ling Wang

One important agricultural productivity measure—total factor productivity—is showing rapid growth at the global level led by improved performance in developing countries. Growth is uneven, however, across and within countries. Policies driving productivity growth include investments in research and rural education, economic and institutional reforms, and improved infrastructure.

From Ethanol Shuffle to Ethanol Tourism--Why the RFS Does Not Make Sense

4th Quarter 2012
Yuki Yano, David Blandford , and Yves R. Surry

Despite recent policy changes, mandated use of ethanol in the United States continues under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). The RFS, in combination with limited domestic demand, has distorted trade patterns through an ethanol shuffle. Lower world sugar prices mean that this could be replaced by ethanol tourism.

Strengthening Agricultural and Food Related Science and Education A Conversation with Sonny Ramaswamy, Director USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture

4th Quarter 2012
Mary Ahearn and Robbin Shoemaker

Long standing U.S. public investment in research, education and Extension programs created the base for highly productive agriculture and food sectors. Congress and stakeholder input drives NIFA’s funding priorities. To address the complexity of problems, Dr. Ramaswamy proposes to incorporate human dimensions into the science agenda. Further, scientists must better inform the public about the need to continue public investment.

What is the Precision of Land Survey Values?

3rd Quarter 2012
Matthew Stinn and Michael Duffy

Many institutions conduct surveys of land values, but it is not known how these compare to actual sales data. Sales data from 20 Iowa counties for eight years is compared to Iowa State University’s annual land value survey to determine to what extent the survey values differ from actual sales values.

The Twin-Transfer Squeeze on Rural Households and Governments in Virginia

3rd Quarter 2012
Brad Copenhaver, Mary Elmer, Robert Gaffney, Caitlin Shaw and Jeffrey Alwang

Federal, state and local government budgets will be strained during recovery from the recent recession. A "twin transfer" threat-concurrent cutbacks in transfers to households and local governments-is increasingly likely. This threat has strong implications for rural communities. This article illustrates this crisis, using Virginia as an example.

Insuring Diversified Fruit and Vegetable Farms

3rd Quarter 2012
Jeffrey K. O'Hara

Whole-farm revenue insurance can provide coverage for crops, particularly fruits and vegetables, in regions without crop-specific insurance policies and reduce premium costs relative to multiple crop-specific policies. This article describes design features that have deterred purchases of existing policies and proposes enhancements.

Immigration and Farm Labor: What Next?

Issue 15: April 2012
Philip Martin

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.

Caloric Sweetened Beverage Taxes: The Good Food/Bad Food Trap

Issue 14F: October 2011
Robbin S. Johnson

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.

Evaluating Excise Taxes: The Need to Consider Brand Advertising

Issue 14E: October 2011
Joshua Berning

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.

Better Milk than Cola: Soft Drink Taxes and Substitution Effects

Issue 14D: October 2011
Carlisle Ford Runge, Justin Johnson, and Carlisle Piehl Runge

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.

Soda Taxes and Substitution Effects: Will Obesity be Affected?

Issue 14C: October 2011
Jason Fletcher

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.

Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Taxation as Public Health Policy-Lessons from Tobacco

Issue 14B: October 2011
Frank J. Chaloupka, Lisa M. Powell, and Jamie F. Chriqui

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.

Can Taxing Sugary Soda Influence Consumption and Avoid Unanticipated Consequences?

Issue 14A: October 2011
Jason P. Block and Walter C. Willett

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.

Should Soft Drinks be Taxed More Heavily?

Issue 14: October 2011
Carlisle Ford Runge

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.

Fundamental Forces Affecting the U.S. Fresh Berry and Lettuce/Leafy Green Subsectors

4th Quarter 2011
Roberta L. Cook

This article analyzes some of the forces for change in the U.S. fresh berry and leafy greens/lettuce subsectors. It discusses market structure, firm rivalry, and the threat of new entrants and substitute products. It is a companion article to another in this issue, entitled Fundamental Forces Affecting U.S. Fresh Produce Growers and Marketers.

The FDA's Food Safety Modernization Act and Its Economic Implications

4th Quarter 2011
Luis A. Ribera and Ronald D. Knutson

This article begins with a synopsis of the major provisions of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). It then explores the potential economic impacts on the agrifood industry, the issues not addressed by the new law, and several of its intended and unintended consequences.

Fundamental Forces Affecting U.S. Fresh Produce Growers and Marketers

4th Quarter 2011
Roberta L. Cook

This article analyzes forces for change in the U.S. fresh fruit and vegetable industry. It highlights changes in firm rivalry and the relative bargaining power of buyers and sellers, the threat of new entrants, substitute products, information technology, and other drivers of change.

Certification Schemes for Biofuel Sustainability Will Not Work

4th Quarter 2011
Clay Ogg

Biofuel certification does not address the ecosystem damage caused by biofuel demands. Vegetable oil that fails certification as fuel can be sold as food. Certifying all vegetable oil, not just the part used as fuel, addresses the above problems, but accentuates the food scarcity part of the biofuel sustainability problem.

Why Was ACRE a No-Go with Iowa Farmers?

4th Quarter 2011
William Edwards

Iowa farmers who enrolled in ACRE desired more risk protection and believed that ACRE payments would exceed the direct payments forfeited. Nonenrollees said the program was too complex, they did not want to give up any direct payments, and it was too difficult to explain to their landlords.

Distributional Impacts of Capping Eligibility for Commodity Program Payments

4th Quarter 2011
Eric Wailes, Eddie Chavez, Diana Danforth, Bruce Ahrendsen, and Bruce Dixon

The United States Congress is seeking to reduce the federal budget deficit. Farm bill commodity program payments are expected to be reduced. One proposal would lower the adjusted gross income cap for payment eligibility by farmers. This article examines the state and commodity distributional impacts if a cap proposed in the 112th Congress had been adopted.

Crop Insurance and the Future Farm Safety Net

4th Quarter 2011
Keith Collins and Harun Bulut

The current public policy focus on cutting Federal spending is driving changes in farm programs and crop insurance. Attention has focused on redesigning farm revenue programs to supplement or replace part of crop insurance. This article examines the choices, including expanding crop insurance to replace farm programs, an option that has received less attention.

Food and Nutrition Programs in the Next Farm Bill

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.

Trade Issues in the 2012 Farm Bill

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.

Farm Bill Stakeholders: Competitors or Collaborators?

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.

External Factors That Will Drive the Next Farm Bill Debate

Issue 13A: July 2011
Stephanie Mercier

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.

The Environment of the Next Farm Bill Debate

Issue 13: July 2011
Steven L. Klose, Guest Editor

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.

Regulation of Glyphosate-Resistant Sugar Beets: Challenges and Uncertainty

3rd Quarter 2011
Tara Oeschger, David Schweikhardt, and Suzanne Thornsbury

Deregulation of Roundup Ready sugar beets lead to legal disputes over the approval of the genetically modified crop. Unresolved outcomes increased uncertainty for the U.S. sugar beet industry and buyers of sugar in the short-run. Additionally challenges to regulatory processes have long-run implications for future GM crop approvals.

EPA Mandate Waivers Create New Uncertainties in Biodiesel Markets

2nd Quarter 2011
Seth Meyer and Wyatt Thompson

U.S. biofuel mandates can be waived. The cellulosic mandate was waived in both its first two years. Options for waiving mandates create uncertainty in biofuel and feedstock markets. Biodiesel and conventional ethanol use to meet the mandates could exceed commonly quoted limits, with consequences for biofuel and agricultural commodity markets.

Taxpayer Preferences for USDA Expenditures

2nd Quarter 2011
Brenna D.Ellison and Jayson L. Lusk

Taxpayer's preferences for six categories of USDA expenditures were determined using a nationwide survey. Results reveal consumers would prefer to see more USDA dollars for food safety and inspection, natural resources and environment, research and education, and rural development, but fewer dollars for food assistance and farm support.

The Role of Economic and Legal Analysis in the GIPSA Rules Debate

Issue 12: January 2011
Shannon L. Ferrell and Elizabeth Rumley

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.

National and Regional Impacts of U.S. Agricultural Exports

1st Quarter 2011
Mechel S. Paggi, C. Parr Rosson, III, Flynn J. Adcock, and Daniel Hanselka

Agricultural trade, which held up well during the recent economic downturn, contributes significantly to the U.S. agricultural economy and also creates positive effects throughout the economy. This article provides information on the contributions agricultural exports make to the overall economy and highlights their role in generating output, employment and income.

Short-Term Impact of Cap-and-Trade Climate Policy and Agricultural Adjustment

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.

Do Current U.S. Ethanol Policies Make Sense?

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.

Commodity Price Levels in Poor Countries: Recent Causes and Remedies

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.

Food Safety Standards for the U.S. Fresh Produce Industry

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.