3rd Quarter 2004

Resources and the Environment
Climate Change and Agriculture
Climate Change and Agriculture: Impacts and Mitigation
Brent Sohngen, Guest Editor
Brent Sohngen and Bruce A. McCarl
Agriculture and forestry in the United States face pressures from the eventual effects of climate change and from efforts to control greenhouse gasses. This set of papers looks at the economic consequences from both pressures.
John Reilly
Across several projections of climate change in the coming century, total food production in the United States is not found to be at risk. Some regions, however, could experience declining production and profitability due to unfavorable climate, water availability, ecological pressures, or extreme weather events.
Ralph Alig, Darius Adams, Linda Joyce, and Brent Sohngen
Total US forestry production is estimated to increase over the next century under several climate change projections. Consumers would likely benefit from lower prices, although profitability in the industry could decline. Regional shifts could well occur, with the Southern US forest industry appearing most susceptible.
Brian C. Murray
US agriculture and forestry can help mitigate greenhouse gas emissions reaching up to 40% in a model analysis. Conservation tillage, forest management, afforestation, and bio-energy crop production are the most economic options, but their role depends on the value of offsets.
Hongli Feng, Catherine L. Kling, and Philip W. Gassman
Land retirement and other agricultural conservation actions contribute greenhouse gas offsets and water quality improvements and reduce erosion and nitrogen runoff. Shifting the programmatic focus to carbon would enhance C sequestration and reduce nitrogen runoff, but would likely increase erosion.
Levan Elbakidze and Bruce A. McCarl
Water quality and other co-benefits arise from greenhouse gas reduction efforts in agriculture, but there are tradeoffs with energy sector emissions. Greenhouse gas reductions by power plants also improve human health. Policy based on balancing benefits and costs must account for the co-effects in both the agriculture and energy sectors.
Tanveer A. Butt and Bruce A. McCarl
Selling carbon is a potential future source of income for farmers and foresters. Currently, however, policies are not in place to provide substantial incentives—except for a lucky few.

Grab Bag
Christopher B. Barrett and Daniel G. Maxwell
Fifty years ago, President Eisenhower signed the Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act of 1954 into law as US Public Law 480. This article addresses how food aid can become a more effective tool for reducing poverty and hunger and reducing costs without sacrificing any benefits to US agriculture.

Consumers and Markets
Economics, Policy, and Obesity
Maria L. Loureiro, Guest Editor, and Rodolfo M. Nayga, Jr., Co-Editor
Maria L. Loureiro, and Rodolfo M. Nayga, Jr.
The US population now leads the world in obesity rates. The estimated societal cost of the overweight and obesity issue exceeds $115 billion. Policy may play a role if economically justifiable but conflicting interests exist.
Maria L. Loureiro
Changes in lifestyles and higher caloric consumption are contributing to increasing obesity rates around the world. This article discusses the role of these and other socioeconomic factors and the magnitude of societal costs caused by the increasing prevalence of obesity.
Fred Kuchler and Elise Golan
Obesity is a sizable problem. Gaps in consumer information and the contribution of obesity to societal costs raise the possibility for government policy actions. However, any such action must be justified by benefits in excess of policy-induced costs.
Parke Wilde
Interest groups and government policy provide a confusing setting for obesity policy. For example, the USDA and industry simultaneously bombard us with the messages "Eat More Beef" and "Aim for a Healthy Weight."

Agribusiness and Finance
Country-of-Origin Labeling
Concerns about the effects of US meat and livestock imports on domestic livestock prices have increased interest in country-of-origin labeling (COOL) legislation. In the next issue of Choices, we examine who will bear the costs of COOL; COOL and vertical coordination in the beef sector; the premium consumers are willing to pay for COOL; and the demand shifts needed for the beef industry to be no worse off under COOL.
Agriculture and Trade
Farm Program Deliberations
Between changes resulting from potential budget reconciliation and changes that could be necessitated by the Brazilian cotton case against the United States, 2005 is shaping up to be an interesting year for agricultural policy. The next issue will have a set of agricultural policy papers that provide the background and help in framing the issues for the coming year.
We are also working on topics for Spring 2005 on environmental trading and the changing face of agricultural financing.

Choices is an online peer-reviewed magazine published by the AAEA for readers interested in the policy and management of agriculture, the food industry, natural resources, rural communities, and the environment. Online subscriptions are free of charge through the "subscribe" tab above. The views expressed in Choices articles herein are those of the authors and are not necessarily those of Choices or its publisher. Choices materials are copyrighted by the American Agricultural Economics Association 2001-2006. All rights are reserved. Articles may be reproduced or electronically distributed as long as attribution to Choices and the American Agricultural Economics Association is maintained.
© 1999-2006 Choices. All rights reserved. Articles may be reproduced or electronically distributed as long as attribution to Choices and the American Agricultural Economics Association is maintained.
Back Issues | Submissions | Subscribe | Comment | Editorial Team | Outreach Partners | Contact
Design and support provided by Express Academic Services.