A publication of AAEA

A publication of AAEA

Individual Articles

Foreign Competition Reshaping the Landscape of the U.S. Blueberry Market

2nd Quarter 2024
A. Malek Hammami, Zhengfei Guan, and Xiurui Cui

The growing demand for blueberries—driven by their health benefits and the rapidly increasing production worldwide—have transformed the landscape of the market of this “superfood.” This article provides an overview of the U.S. blueberry industry and the evolving market, highlighting the intensifying foreign competition and the repercussion.

Protecting H-2A Workers’ Rights and Welfare

2nd Quarter 2024
Cesar L. Escalante and Carmina E. Taylor

H-2A employment contracts assure foreign workers of receiving at least the Adverse Effect Wage Rate and other fringe benefits. However, verified H-2A-related wage violations range from underpayment to nonemployment of workers upon arrival. Policy reforms must reinforce under-staffed implementing government agency and revisit guidelines on hiring through farm labor contracting.

Whither the H-2A Visa Program: Expansion and Concentration

2nd Quarter 2024
Marcelo Castillo, Philip Martin, and Zachariah Rutledge

The H-2A visa program allows U.S. farm employers to hire guest workers for seasonal roles. While criticized for being costly, the employment of H-2A workers has significantly grown over the past decade, and the concentration of employment through larger employers has increased.

Agricultural District Programs Provide Flexible Options for Farmland Preservation

2nd Quarter 2024
Andrew B. Waters

American farmland is disappearing at an alarming rate. Agricultural district programs provide flexible options for farmland preservation. Though less permanent than conservation easements, they can be used to establish conservation agreements and foster a sense of conservation ethic in farming communities. This article explores two North Carolina agricultural district programs.

A Growing Common Challenge: Herbicide Resistance and Farmers’ Attitudes Toward Collective Management in Argentina

2nd Quarter 2024
A. Singerman and S.H. Lence

Using farm-level data from Argentinean farmers, we find that they not only face similar challenges and impacts from herbicide-resistant weeds relative to U.S. farmers but also have responded by adopting similar practices. However, their perception of collective action to tackle the problem is more positive relative to that of U.S. farmers.

A Slowdown in U.S. Crop Yield Growth

1st Quarter 2024
David Boussios

Recent data indicates that U.S. crop yield growth has slowed after decades of surging productivity. Between 1988 and 2012, corn yields increased by 1.98 bushels annually, but since 2013, the pace has dropped to 0.88 bushels per year. Public models have been slow to adapt to this changing trend.

Agricultural Use of Reclaimed Water in Florida

1st Quarter 2024
Wen Liu, Gulcan Onel, and Pilar Useche

This article examines the use of reclaimed water in Florida’s agriculture, focusing on its allocation, trends, and driving factors. The research highlights the state’s leadership in water reuse and the potential of reclaimed water as a sustainable irrigation resource and offers recommendations to address challenges in this domain.

An Outlook on Evidence-Based Policy Making

1st Quarter 2024
Lauren Chenarides, Andrew S. Hanks, Amelia Finaret, George Davis, and Andrea Carlson

This article emphasizes the importance of data linkages for policy-informing research. We describe barriers that impede researchers from fully utilizing data resources. We summarize insights from a 2-day workshop, highlighting the need for investments in data infrastructure to build a data ecosystem designed to enhance data-driven policy.

U.S.–Mexico GM Corn Trade Dispute

1st Quarter 2024
Stephen Devadoss, William Hall, and Jeff Luckstead

Mexico announced that it would ban genetically modified corn imports. The United States maintains that Mexican biotechnology policies to ban genetically modified corn imports are not grounded in science and violate the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement’s sanitary and phytosanitary measures. Unless resolved, this conflict could provoke massive economic disruptions.

E-Verify and Its Implications for U.S. Agriculture

1st Quarter 2024
Kuan-Ming Huang, Derek Farnsworth, Zhengfei Guan, and Yi Li

In this article, we review the evolution and adoption of the E-Verify program, which requires electronic verification of worker identity and employment eligibility. We further discuss the potential implications of heightened E-Verify mandates for the agricultural industry and farm labor supply in the United States.

Premiums for Plant-Based: Often about Twice as Much, but Declining

4th Quarter 2023
Sharon Raszap Skorbiansky and Monica Saavoss

We compare plant- and animal-based products from 2019 to 2022, examining changes in retail prices, and input costs. Over the study period, inflation-adjusted sales of most plant-based products remained stable. Plant-based price premiums generally declined. However, plant-based products were still about twice as expensive as their animal-product counterparts in 2022.

Tracking Rural Prices: Does One Size Fit All?

4th Quarter 2023
Scott Loveridge, Fernanda Alfaro, Dusan Paredes, and Mark Skidmore

The United States does not measure rural prices, even though price indices set federal income-support programs everywhere. While there are good reasons for this information gap, new techniques might help provide better information on rural price levels. We provide an example showing how sandwich prices vary by state and rurality.

Impact of High Fertilizer Prices and Farmers’ Adaptation Strategies in the U.S. Midwest

4th Quarter 2023
Tong Wang, Heidi Sieverding, Matthew Elliot, and Stephen Cheye

A 2022 farmer survey in the U.S. Midwest revealed that high fertilizer prices have incentivized 78% of farmers to take adaptation strategies. Among those, manure and biofertilizer adoption effectively decreased fertilizer use. It is important for policy makers to promote regional adaptation strategies that account for climate and infrastructure differences.

The Carbon Intensity of Ethanol in California

4th Quarter 2023
Jeffrey K. O’Hara

We examine the decline in the carbon intensity (CI) of ethanol in California in recent years. We also review investments that would lead to further reductions in ethanol’s CI, such as carbon capture and storage. We conclude by the discussing how ethanol’s CI may influence its future use.

Foreign Interests in U.S. Agricultural Lands: The Missing Conversations about Leasing

4th Quarter 2023
Mykel R. Taylor, Wendong Zhang, and Festus Attah

Foreign ownership and leasing of U.S. agricultural land have spurred state and federal policy makers to propose legislation limiting the sale of land to foreign entities. This article discusses data revealing that most cropland being acquired in the United States uses long-term leases and that the likely intention is for wind or solar development.

U.S. Broiler Growers Face Increasing Challenges on the Family Farm

4th Quarter 2023
Dennis Brothers, Paul Goeringer, and Jada M. Thompson

The commercial broiler industry revolutionized animal agriculture with a vertical integration business model, making poultry the least expensive and most consumed animal protein in the United States. This mature industry faces several current challenges that could lead to another revolution and change how family farms operate their business.

Do Consumers Really Know What Cage-Free Is and What It Entails?

4th Quarter 2023
Vincenzina Caputo, Aaron J. Staples, Jayson L. Lusk, and Glynn T. Tonsor

Egg prices and production practices have become a focal point of food and agricultural discussions, with retailer cage-free pledges representing one impending industry shift. This study examines consumer knowledge and perceptions of different egg production systems and their awareness of retailer cage-free commitments.

Is There Price Fixing in the U.S. Beef Packing Industry?

4th Quarter 2023
Yuliya V. Bolotova

In 2019, fed cattle producers and beef buyers filed class-action antitrust lawsuits against the four largest U.S. beef packers, alleging an unlawful input and output price-fixing conspiracy violating Section 1 of the Sherman Act. This article examines competition issues in light of the alleged price-fixing cartel revealed during ongoing antitrust litigation.

Formula for Disaster: Exploring the Links between Federal Policies and the Infant Formula Crisis

4th Quarter 2023
Andrew Muhammad, Jacqueline N. Yenerall, Karen L. DeLong, and Trey Malone

Though U.S. consumers have experienced many dramatic pivots in food availability, perhaps none caused as much difficulty for families as the infant formula crisis of 2022. This article provides an overview of the crisis and outlines research areas where agricultural and applied economists might contribute to the ongoing policy conversations.

Credits in California’s Offset and Biofuel Programs for Anaerobic Digesters

3rd Quarter 2023
Jeffrey K. O’Hara, Irene M. Xiarchos, and Catharine Weber

Anaerobic digesters are the only on-farm conservation practice that has received credits in California’s cap-and-trade and biofuels programs. We examine the characteristics of digesters that have received these credits. Swine farms have become more likely to receive credits over time, perhaps due to economies of scale with newer digesters.

Will China’s Corn Imports Continue?

3rd Quarter 2023
Bryan Lohmar

Many have wondered whether China’s large corn imports in recent years are temporary or will be sustained. Despite a lack of reliable supply and demand information, initiatives in China indicate that China will likely sustain its large corn import program in coming years.

American Agriculture Can Adapt to Climate Change-Induced Water Extremes

3rd Quarter 2023
Gary D. Libecap and Ariel Dinar

Water is critical in U.S. agriculture. Climate change may alter its availability. We present recent work on issues related to water resource extremes, agriculture, and climate change. The empirical analyses inform how increased water scarcity may affect agriculture, farmer adaptation, and the role of institutions.

Global Avocado Boom

3rd Quarter 2023
Kuan-Ming Huang, Zhengfei Guan, Trent Blare, and A. Malek Hammami

Avocado has become one of the most popular superfoods in the world. This article evaluates the booming consumption for the fruit across major markets over the past decade. We also discuss the issue of water usage associated with avocado production and potential solutions to the problem.

Should Producers of Rainfed Wheat Enroll in Agricultural Risk Coverage or Price Loss Coverage?

3rd Quarter 2023
Leann Westbrook, Dayton M. Lambert, Amy D. Hagerman, Lixia H. Lambert, Eric A. DeVuyst, and Chellie

This article analyzes three rainfed wheat production systems used by Southern Great Plains producers, focusing on the effects of Agricultural Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs on net returns for different cropping choices. Returns are always higher when producers choose ARC and PLC safety-net options.

Rural Pharmacies an Overlooked Piece of the Rural Health Care Milieu

2nd Quarter 2023
Melissa Kono and Steven Deller

As many independent rural pharmacies close, partially to increased competitive pressures from chain and on-line pharmacies, rural residents will face challenges in replacing frontline health care services. We explore patterns in pharmacies across the rural-urban divide and offer a range of potential strategies to address the growing shortage of rural pharmacies.

Retaliatory Tariffs and Container Shipping Disruptions Cause Considerable Trade Damages to California’s Almond Industry

3rd Quarter 2023
Sandro Steinbach and Xiting Zhuang

The lost foreign sales of California’s almond industry due to retaliatory tariffs and container shipping disruptions exceeded $1.5 billion by August 2022. Removing retaliatory tariffs could increase California almond exports by $145 million annually. We draw policy recommendations that could help mitigate the adverse trade effects of container shipping disruptions.

Potential Impacts of Overtime Laws for U.S. Crop Workers

3rd Quarter 2023
Alexandra E. Hill and Trenton K. Tanabe

We summarize recent state policy changes that mandate pay for overtime hours for agricultural workers and discuss implications for crop workers and their employers. We show that these policies will likely have sizable industry impacts that will vary geographically, by employee demographics, and based on worker availability and employer behavior.

Data: What Farmers Need To Know

2nd Quarter 2023
Cheryl Wachenheim, Bryon Parman, Abiodun Idowu, and Erik Hanson

Precision agriculture can increase operational efficiencies and farm profits. It relies on the collection, storage, and use of large amounts of data from individual farm operations. To protect their data privacy, retain data control, and maintain security, farmers need to understand the details of the contracts they enter into with external partners.

(Un)Forgiven Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans to the Farm Sector

2nd Quarter 2023
Anil K. Giri, Dipak Subedi, Ashok K. Mishra, E. Wesley F. Peterson, Rudra Baral, and Hari P. Regmi

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) provided forgivable loans to all small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Analysis of PPP loan forgiveness based on (voluntarily reported) race by farm sector recipients shows that forgiveness rates were significantly lower for African Americans than for other racial categories.

Why Are Eggs so Expensive? Understanding the Recent Spike in Egg Prices

1st Quarter 2023
Andrew Muhammad, Charles Martinez, and Abdelaziz Lawani

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, retail egg prices in the United States surged from $1.79/dozen in December 2021 to $4.25/dozen in December 2022, an increase of 138%. Why are eggs currently so expensive? Economic factors—not conspiracy theories—adequately explain the recent surge in egg prices.

The Impacts of Futures Markets on Commodity Prices (In)Stability

1st Quarter 2023
Dragan Miljkovic and Frayne Olson

Commodities that have an organized futures market have more price variability than those that do not. Price stabilization attained through stockholding activities creates gainers and losers from price stabilization policies. Technological/institutional developments and changed philosophy of farm policy add complexity to interrelations between futures and cash markets.

Is ASEAN the Next Big Opportunity for U.S. Agricultural Export Expansion?

1st Quarter 2023
Ivan Lee and Keithly Jones

With trade tensions and economic fluctuations affecting agricultural trade, expanding market access has become important to the long-term prospect for U.S. agricultural exports. This article makes a case for expanding exports opportunities in ASEAN, a Southeast Asian regional bloc that is already an important partner for U.S. agricultural exports. Unlike many top trading partners, however, ASEAN has high growth potential, due to favorable demographic and macroeconomic conditions.

Competition Issues in the Fluid Milk Industry in the Eastern United States

1st Quarter 2023
Yuliya V. Bolotova

In 2007 and 2009, dairy farmers in the Southeast and Northeast filed lawsuits alleging that Dean Foods and Dairy Farmers of America had engaged in anticompetitive conduct that restricted competition in fluid milk markets in these regions. This article sheds light on competition issues revealed during the milk antitrust litigations.

The Economics of Veterinary Medicine: Emerging Challenges and Opportunities for Economists

1st Quarter 2023
Clinton L. Neill, Matthew J. Salois, and Ryan Blake Williams

Veterinary economics has long been focused on ensuring a safe food supply and examining the economic costs of controlling animal disease. However, recent work has highlighted the need for a broader scope of research. This article discusses how applied economists can engage with veterinary professionals to address these economic concerns.

Opportunities and Challenges Associated with “Carbon Farming” for U.S. Row-Crop Producers

3rd Quarter 2022
N.M. Thompson, M.N. Hughes, E.K.M. Nuworsu, C.J. Reeling, S.D. Armstrong, J.R. Mintert, M.R. Langeme

Interest in opportunities for U.S. row crop producers to receive payments for sequestering carbon in their soils is increasing rapidly. While these programs address an important problem, challenges and questions remain that will need to be addressed to incentivize participation.

The Rise of the Ghosts – The Impact of the Pandemic on Food Purchases

2nd Quarter 2022
Lijun Angelia Chen and Lisa House

E-commerce has infused the food retailing and foodservice sectors with off-premises growth opportunities, and the COVID-19 pandemic only accelerated this momentum. The “ghost” concept became popular among restaurants and grocery stores, allowing them to fulfil online orders without a brick-and-mortar store. Whether consumers will return to their pre-COVID behaviors remains uncertain.

Wildfires and Smoke Exposure Create Contracting and Crop Insurance Challenges for California’s Wine Industry

2nd Quarter 2022
Jaclyn D. Kropp and Maria Amarante De Andrade

Producing wine with grapes exposed to smoke from a wildfire can led to smoke taint—an ashy, burnt aftertaste in the wine. In recent years, wineries rejected delivery of contracted grapes due to smoke exposure, leading to strained relationships between growers and wineries, increased crop insurance claims, and lawsuits.

The Invisible Elephant: Disadoption of Conservation Practices in the United States

1st Quarter 2022
Wendiam Sawadgo and Alejandro Plastina

Emerging voluntary markets for carbon and ecosystem services rely on sustained adoption of regenerative agricultural practices. We evaluate regional patterns of disadoption of conservation practices over 2012–2017. National disadoption rates in cover crops and no-till averaged 15.60% and 39.38%, respectively. Large-scale disadoption poses a systemic risk to the emerging markets.

Filet Mignon: It’s What’s for Dinner? COVID-19 Impacts on the Relative Wholesale Prices of Beef Cuts

1st Quarter 2022
Mario A. Ortez, Nathanael M. Thompson, and Nicole J. Olynk Widmar

COVID-19 had a unique impact on the prices of various individual beef cuts. This impact was also through a different mechanism than in other market shocks. High-end cuts, like tenderloins, were disproportionately impacted as a result of restaurant closures. Relative pricing among beef cuts is underappreciated in current conversations about the meat market impacts of COVID-19.

Impacts of COVID-19 on Food Banks

1st Quarter 2022
Anne T. Byrne and David R. Just

We investigate how food banks were affected by the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Food bank interest in mid-2020 was better predicted by unemployment than by COVID-19 cases. We also find that food distribution at banks increased by an average of 44%; wait times also increased at most food banks.

Livestock Risk Protection Payments for Feeder Cattle during COVID-19

1st Quarter 2022
Christopher N. Boyer and Andrew P. Griffith

Daily offering data for Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) insurance for feeder cattle was used to measure the indemnity payments that could have been paid when prices rapidly declined during COVID-19. Findings show to policy makers and producers how LRP mitigated losses in recent years and during COVID-19.

Using Analog-Based Seasonal Weather Forecasts to Improve Grain Marketing Decisions

1st Quarter 2022
Eric D. Hunt, Cory Walters, Toni Klemm, Iyore Eronmwon, and Judah Cohen

This article describes how producers can use analog-based seasonal weather forecasts to make preharvest hedging decisions. Using past weather and strictly defined hedging criteria, results suggest producers would make additional net revenue per acre by using analogs-based seasonal forecasts while avoiding the financial cost of contract buyback in drought years.

Economic Losses Due to Meat Processing Plants Shutdown/Slowdown

4th Quarter 2021
Anil K. Giri, Christine Whitt, E. Wesley Fl. Peterson, and Dipak Subedi

Temporary closure and slowdown of meat processing plants due to the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in euthanasia or depopulation of livestock. We outline the methods of depopulation, federal programs to offset the associated costs and lost production value and estimate economic losses in 2020.

Can Latinx Entrepreneurship Help Rural America?

4th Quarter 2021
Craig Wesley Carpenter and Scott Loveridge

The rural Latinx population is growing but some small towns are fading. Can Latinx immigrants revitalize small town business? More supportive policies could help. Studies based on restricted Federal data show Latinx are under-represented in manufacturing ownership and could benefit from culturally appropriate business development programs geared toward business survival.

Transportation Safety Regulations via the Electronic Logging Device Mandate Can Affect Fresh Produce Shipment Costs

3rd Quarter 2021
Tara Wade, Shellye Suttles, and Lurleen Walters

The Electronic Logging Device Mandate was signed into law in 2012 with the hope that it would improve transportation safety by electronically monitoring commercial drivers. Agricultural transportation, however, was exempt from the mandate until 2019. We find that compliance with the mandate will increase shipment costs and transportation times for fresh produce.

Do Big Cows Bring Big Profits? Public Grazing Fee Policy’s Impact on Cow Size

2nd Quarter 2021
Ryan Feuz, Jesse Russell, and Dillon Feuz

Public grazing fees are currently charged on a per head basis. We demonstrate how such a policy may contribute to the trend of increased average cow size. If public grazing fees were charged on an Animal Unit Equivalent, profit-driven producers might be better off with smaller cow sizes. Link to published journal article:

Legal Risk Exposure Heightens Uncertainty in Developing U.S. Hemp Markets

1st Quarter 2021
Sharon Raszap Skorbiansky, Suzanne Thornsbury, and Kevin M. Camp

Hemp transitioned from a Schedule I controlled substance in the United States to a commercial crop with a growing market in just seven short years. Emerging U.S. hemp markets face challenges common in agriculture production, but the legal risk of exceeding a THC threshold compounds these risks.

Spending of Economic Stimulus Payments and Changes in Food Purchasing During the COVID-19 Pandemic

3rd Quarter 2020
John Lai, Stephen Morgan, Bachir Kassas, Jaclyn Kropp, and Zhifeng Gao

Using a nationwide survey, we characterize the ways in which U.S. households spent their economic impact payments (EIPs) and investigate changes in household food purchasing in response to COVID-19. Most consumers allocated a significant fraction of their EIPs to food, with an increase in spending on canned food, dry goods, and snacks.

Ex-Post Analysis of the 2018 and 2019 Market Facilitation Programs

3rd Quarter 2020
Anil Giri, E. Wesley F. Peterson, Sankalp Sharma, and Iuliia Tetteh

To assist producers affected by retaliatory tariffs, the USDA provided direct payments to producers in 2018 and 2019 under the MFP. This paper examines MFP payment rates at the county level and finds an increase in the 2019 payment rate for some producers who grew corn in 2019, while some producers who grew soybeans, saw smaller increases or a decrease in the 2019 rate.

Indebted and Drained: Student Loans and Rural America

3rd Quarter 2020
Steven Deller and Jackson Parr

Increasing student debt and its impacts on labor markets, entrepreneurship, and homeownership may drag down rural economies. Using declared interest on federal tax returns, this analysis finds higher rates of student debt negatively affect a variety of community economic outcomes, particularly in rural communities.

The U.S.–Japan Trade Agreement: Will It Lead to Greener Pastures for U.S. Beef?

3rd Quarter 2020
Lindsay A. Gaesser, Nako Kobayashi, and Norbert L. W. Wilson

This article discusses U.S. beef production and its export markets, the significance of the U.S. withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and the potential effects of the U.S.- Japan Trade Agreement on the competitiveness of U.S. beef in Japan.

Are Fertilizer Capacity Expansion Announcements #FakeNews?

2nd Quarter 2020
Gary W. Brester and Anton Bekkerman

Many fertilizer plant expansion announcements have been made, but only about half have been realized. In the highly concentrated U.S. fertilizer market, capacity announcements may be a strategic attempt to deter market entry or competitors' expansion. Ultimately, this could affect fertilizer prices observed by agricultural producers.

The History, Consolidation, and Future of the U.S. Nitrogen Fertilizer Production Industry

2nd Quarter 2020
Anton Bekkerman, Gary W. Brester, and David Ripplinger

The U.S. nitrogen fertilizer industry has undergone contraction and growth cycles over the past 50 years. Policy, new technologies, and market forces contributed to this evolution. Assessing these historical dynamics and the industry's current state is critical for understanding how the fertilizer supply chain will function in the future.

Grocery Shopping in the Digital Era

2nd Quarter 2020
Chinonso Ezenwa Etumnu and Nicole Olynk Widmar

The US grocery market was worth more than $600 billion in 2019 but only about 5% of this value is contributed by online purchases. With the projected growth in online grocery markets, we revisit how groceries get to the doorstep in the digital-shopping “place order online” era.

Tariffs on American Soybeans and Their Impact on Land Use Change and Greenhouse Gas Emissions in South America

2nd Quarter 2020
Peter Richards, Farzad Taheripour, Eugenio Arima, and Wallace E. Tyner

The 2018 Chinese tariffs on U.S. soybean contributed to a significant restructuring of the global soybean trade. We show that the new tariffs are also likely lead to land use change abroad. The extent of natural land cover losses in Brazil will depend on the durability of Brazil’s policies for environmental protection and land clearing.

How the USDA Changed the Way Women Farmers Are Counted in the Census of Agriculture

1st Quarter 2020
Ryanne Pilgeram, Katherine Dentzman, Paul Lewin, and Kelsey Conley

The way in which the USDA Census of Agriculture counts farmers has transformed over time, limiting comparisons between years. Changes to the 2017 Census could be wrongly interpreted to suggest a significant increase in the number of women farmers and principal women farmers. We explain these changes, the caveats needed, and suggestions for more accurate comparisons.

Weather Station Locations Are Significant for Drought Insurance

1st Quarter 2020
Chad Van Orden, Brandon Willis, Ryan Bosworth, Ryan Larsen, Tanner McCarty, and Man-Keun Kim

The Pasture, Rangeland and Forage insurance program is designed to protect ranchers from poor grazing conditions. This article identifies a potential policy problem with the PRF program in the Intermountain West—insurance payouts may be heavily influenced by the addition or retirement of weather stations at high elevations.

“Big Data” Provides Insights to Public Perceptions of USDA

1st Quarter 2020
Nicole Olynk Widmar

Online media analytics and net sentiment provide insight into public perceptions about the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Net sentiment facilitated evaluation of weekly positivity/negativity of online media and averaged 24% overall, dropping to -7% about relocation. Percentage of total USDA mentions about relocation peaked at 32% in summer 2019.

The Latin American Livestock Industry: Growth and Challenges

4th Quarter 2019
Gary W. Williams and David P. Anderson

The growing Latin American livestock industry supports widespread economic growth and contributes to poverty reduction and increased food security in the region. Tradeoffs abound in the attainment of economic growth versus environmental objectives.

A Change in Highest and Best Use Policy in South Dakota Has a Sizable Impact on Agricultural Land Assessments

4th Quarter 2019
Matthew S. Elliott, Lisa M. Elliott, Tong Wang, and Douglas Malo

South Dakota is currently revisiting its highest and best use (HBU) policy for determining agricultural land assessments. We explore the impact on statewide assessments if the HBU policy were switched to an actual use (AU) policy or a most probable use (MPU) policy.

The Overlooked Agricultural Trade Promotion Program of the USDA Trade Aid Packages

4th Quarter 2019
Gary W. Williams

The smallest and most often overlooked component of the USDA trade aid packages is the additional funds allocated to the USDA Export Market Development Programs. This article measures the effects of those small allocations and the potential effects of a larger allocation of the trade aid funding to export promotion.

Is the Emerging U.S. Hemp Industry Yet Another Boom–Bust Market for U.S. Farmers?

3rd Quarter 2019
James A. Sterns

Land licensed for growing hemp in key producing states has increased ten-fold from 2017 to 2019. With over 300,000 acres authorized for production, will hemp farmers see positive returns? This article analyzes the market dynamics that will help determine current year and longer-term outcomes for the U.S. hemp industry.

Harnessing the Power of Data to Improve Agricultural Policy and Conservation Outcomes

3rd Quarter 2019
Joshua D. Woodard, Bruce J. Sherrick, Jim Moseley, Collin O’Mara, Barry Gold, John Piotti, et. al.

Relevant public and private agriculture data in the United States tend to be decentralized and disorganized. Section 12618 of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 is an important first step toward promoting research that will enable changes in agriculture policies and practices.

California Direct Marketer Perceptions of the Food Safety Modernization Act

3rd Quarter 2019
Cristina Connolly and Sara Degraff

Direct marketing of agricultural products is a billion-dollar industry, but Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) compliance costs may reduce short-term profitability. We discuss the results of a survey of California direct marketers. Respondents generally had negative perceptions of FSMA, and almost 40% were unfamiliar with the legislation.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Do Protectionist Trade Policies Protect? The Unintended Consequences of an Antidumping Tariff

3rd Quarter 2003

Sustainable Agriculture for Midsized Farms

3rd Quarter 2003

Meat Supplier Opportunities in Food Service

3rd Quarter 2003

The Promise of Food Irradiation: Will Consumers Accept It?

3rd Quarter 2003

A Tale of Two Businesses: Intellectual Property Rights and the Marketing of Agricultural Biotechnology

3rd Quarter 2003

What are Farmland Amenities Worth?

3rd Quarter 2003

Biodiesel: An Industry Poised for Growth?

3rd Quarter 2003

Who Benefits from Government Farm Payments?

3rd Quarter 2003

Lessons from the Danish Ban on Feed-Grade Antibiotics

3rd Quarter 2003

Reducing Seasonality in Dairy Production

4th Quarter 2003

Marketing Loan Rates and Acreage Responses

4th Quarter 2003

Technological Changes in Beef and Pork Production: Effects on Marketing Margins and Prices

4th Quarter 2003

Conservation Compliance: The Once and Future Farm Environmental Policy Tool

4th Quarter 2003

Is There a Future for Wholesaler-Supplied Supermarkets?

4th Quarter 2003

Rural Area Brain Drain: Is It a Reality?

4th Quarter 2003

Doing Good-Doing Well: Public Policy and the Financial Fortunes of Commercial Farm Businesses in Iowa

4th Quarter 2003

Cuban Agriculture: A Green and Red Revolution

4th Quarter 2003

Health Concerns or Price: Which Takes Credit for Declining Cigarette Consumption in the United States?

1st Quarter 2004

The Agricultural Establishment: Giving Farmers Too Much of What They Want and Not Enough of What They Need

1st Quarter 2004

King or Pawn? Consumer Preference in International Trade

1st Quarter 2004

The Dilemma of Safer and Freer Trade: The Case of the US Nursery Industry

1st Quarter 2004

Live Cattle Exports from Mexico into the United States: Where Do the Cattle Come From and Where Do They Go?

1st Quarter 2004

Agricultural Patents: Are They Developing Bad Habits?

1st Quarter 2004

Acrylamide: The Next Food Safety Issue?

1st Quarter 2004

Many Fewer Steps for Pickers A Leap for Harvestkind? Emerging Change in Strawberry Harvest Technology

1st Quarter 2004

AgJOBS: New Solution or New Problem?

1st Quarter 2004

Biotech Labeling Standards and Compliance Costs in Seed Production

1st Quarter 2004

PL480 Food Aid: We Can Do Better

3rd Quarter 2004

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.

Tracking and Testing of US and Canadian Cattle Herds for BSE: A Risk Management Dilemma

4th Quarter 2004

Animal tracking and testing programs are considered, including programs that focus on Canadian animals. Calculations show that the economic value of a more aggressive tracking and testing program may exceed $500 million per year.

Severing the Link between Farm Program Payments and Farm Production: Motivation, International Efforts, and Lessons

4th Quarter 2004

Decoupling is being considered or implemented worldwide to reduce production distortions, facilitate trade, improve environmental health, and lower commodity program costs. Decoupling approaches in Europe and North America are analyzed, drawing lessons for the future.

The Farmapine Model: A Cooperative Marketing Strategy and a Market-Based Development Approach in Sub-Saharan Africa

1st Quarter 2005

Sub-Saharan Africa has been a major recipient of development aid. This level of donor support has not made a dent in alleviating poverty and improving the standard of living in the subregion. This paper highlights the Farmapine model, a market-based development approach that provides a basis for sustainable rural development. The paper also discusses the factors that facilitate replication of the model in other communities.

Are E-Grocers Serving the Right Markets?

1st Quarter 2005

Despite early stumbles, the E-grocery market rebounded and has grown dramatically since 2003. New entrants many of them traditional grocery retailers venturing into E-commerce are offering more products and services to broader geographic areas. This paper addresses the question of whether or not surviving E-grocers are entering the "right" markets the ones containing enough of the kinds of customers inclined to use this service and generate profits and what a right market looks like.

Beef Packers' Captive Supplies: An Upward Trend? A Pricing Edge?

2nd Quarter 2005

Captive supplies in the livestock industry continue to be a divisive, contentious issue. New data to better track captive supplies are available since mandatory price reporting (MPR) was established. Data for the first three years since the beginning of MPR in 2001 show no upward trend in buyers' use of captive supplies and generally small price differences with cash market prices.

The Business of an Agricultural "Way of Life"

2nd Quarter 2005

Producers enjoying an agricultural "way of life" may not all be "hobby farmers" as often thought. Many may be real estate investors using off-farm income to help them stay on the farm until they choose to capture their capital gains. Whether this rural lifestyle can be called a "farm" worthy of government support is debated.

Farmers and Social Security Reform

2nd Quarter 2005

According to the 2002 US Census of Agriculture, 40% of US farmers are (or will soon be) eligible for Social Security retirement benefits. This article looks at how the Social Security system might be reformed and the potential difficulties some farmers might face with the new system.

The Sweet Smell of Subsidies Revisited

3rd Quarter 2005

The popular saying that a picture is worth a thousand words may be misleading when the media displays widely accessible aerial photographs of the world's surface to formulate conclusions about interregional land use and resource policy differences. This paper shows that "ground truthing" is essential to avoid small sample bias from selected images.

Counter-Cyclical Payments Under the 2002 Farm Act: Production Effects Likely to be Limited

3rd Quarter 2005

The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (2002 Farm Act) introduced counter-cyclical payments (CCPs) to the array of income-support programs for agricultural commodities in the United States. CCPs are available for specified crops when market prices are below levels set forth in the legislation. As such, these payments can reduce price-related revenue risks faced by farmers, which may influence agricultural production decisions. Several mitigating factors, however, suggest that overall production effects of CCPs through revenue risk reduction are likely to be limited.

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.

Updating the Farm Bill Safety Net in an Expanding Sea of Risk

Issue 1: June 2008

Acquisitions and Integration in the Beef Industry

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.

Agriculture and Greenhouse Gas Cap-and-Trade

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.

Using Farm Sales as a Means Test for Receiving Direct Payments

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.

Immigration Reform: What Does It Mean for Agriculture?

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.

Why Trade Negotiations Still Matter to U.S. Agriculture

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.

Net Farm Income and Land Use Under a U.S. Greenhouse Gas Cap and Trade

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.