Monday, July 15, 2019

Members in the News: Funk, Boehm, Ferrier, Barnaby, and Anderson

Sam Funk, Iowa Farm Bureau
Massive Gamble on Soy Hoarding Pays Off for America’s Farmers
By: Bloomberg - July 12, 2019
“It’s great for those who had that opportunity” to sell on rallies, said Sam Funk, director of agriculture analytics and research for the Iowa Farm Bureau. “For the entire system to be able to find those profitable marketing opportunities, it’s going to take a reopening of those markets.”
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Read more on: Bloomberg

Rebecca Boehm, Union of Concerned Scientist
Peyton Ferrier, USDA-Economic Research Service
Honeybees hit by Trump budget cuts
By: CNN Politics - July 6, 2019
"This is yet another example of the Trump administration systematically undermining federal research on food safety, farm productivity, and the public interest writ large," said Rebecca Boehm, an economist at the Union of Concerned Scientists.
"We're concerned about whether honeybee colony losses are still high and whether we're making any progress in bringing them down," said Peyton Ferrier, an economist at USDA who conducts research on how honeybee health affects the agriculture industry.
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Read more on: CNN Politics

Art Barnaby, Kansas State University
Use Crop Insurance? Thank Art Barnaby
By: Successful Farming - July 8, 2019
Crop insurance is popular, partly because private companies sell it. It works because farmers can buy revenue insurance with a harvest price tied closely to a crop’s real value. We might not have this valuable resource without the work of Kansas State University (KSU) ag economist Art Barnaby. He helped create the first version of revenue insurance, Market Value Protection, offered in 1991. Barnaby retired from KSU on January 31.
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Read more on: Successful Farming

David Anderson, Texas A&M University
Briskets are Hot - Beef Brisket Values Skyrocket as Popularity Grows
By: Progressive Farmer - July 8, 2019
David Anderson, agricultural economics professor and AgriLife Extension economist at Texas A&M University, said he and others anticipate a record amount of total meat production in the U.S. in 2019, according to a news release from the university. But items like beef briskets, bacon, chicken wings and hamburgers have shown particular strength in recent years.
"For the particular cuts of briskets, demand is really skyrocketing," Anderson said. "We are seeing an increase in prices because of that demand, even though supply is growing." According to Anderson, the comprehensive cutout brisket value was $213.47 per hundredweight as of the end of May--up 19.4% from the same week in 2018.
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Read more on: Progressive Farmer

See other Member in the News items
Know another AAEA Member who has made statewide, national, or international news?
Send a link of the article to Sinais Alvarado at
salvarado@aaea.org
What research and topics are you working on? Want to be an expert source for journalists working on a story? Contact Allison Scheetz at ascheetz@aaea.org.
*Articles in response to the AAEA Communicating Out Strategy Press Releases highlighting: Government Relations, American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy, Choices Magazine, General Media, and/or 2019 AAEA Annual Meeting in Atlanta.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Call for Applications: 2019 AAEA/AARES Heading South Award

The Australasian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society (AARES) and the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) through the AAEA Trust will jointly offer this travel award to attend the 2020 AARES Conference in Perth, Western Australia. It is available to members of AARES or AAEA normally resident in North America. Applicants for the award can be a member of either AARES or AAEA but must be a member of AARES to participate in the conference.

The objective of the award is to provide the winner with an opportunity for professional and personal development and international professional and cultural exchange. The award will have a value of $3,000 USD to be used to assist the winner’s participation in the 2020 AARES Annual Conference to be held in Perth, Western Australia from February 11-14, 2020.

Selection Process
The 2020 Heading South Selection Committee will be chaired by the AAEA President, Keith Coble. Other members will include the President of AARES, John Rolfe, Phil Pardey, President of the AARES North America Branch, and another member of AAEA.

Applications should include:

  • a paper for presentation at the AARES Annual Conference in Perth, for which the applicant is the sole or first author and which represents their original and unpublished work, 
  • a one-page biographical statement, and 
  • a one-page statement in support of their application, indicating what they would hope to accomplish through the award, why they would be deserving of the award, and confirming that they would be unable to attend the conference without this financial support.

Submission Deadlines and Details

Electronic submissions (in PDF form) for this award must be emailed to Kristen McGuire by Thursday, September 12, 2019 (for travel in February 2020).

View the Call for Applications on the AAEA website.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Members in the News: Funk, Glauber, Hart, Plastina, Swinton, Irwin, McFadden, Meemken, Banerjee, Lade, Orazem, Fan, Moschini, Jacobs, and Hayes

Sam Funk, Iowa Farm Bureau
After Months of Floods and Tornadoes, Midwest Officials Tally Billions in Damage
By: The Wall Street Journal - July 4, 2019
As the swollen Mississippi and Missouri rivers slowly recede, communities across the Midwest are starting to add up the damage and make plans for repairs with the help of federal aid.
AccuWeather estimates $12.5 billion in damages and losses from flooding across the Midwest this spring, which would make it one of the costliest in the region in more than a decade. But many state and local officials say they have barely begun tallying the costs.
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Read more on: The Wall Street Journal

Joseph Glauber, International Food Policy Research Institute
Chad Hart,
Iowa State University
Trump's Trade War Aid to Farmers Risks Worsening Crop Stockpiles
By: Bloomberg - May 17, 2019
“This is serious,” said Joseph Glauber, former chief economist for the U.S. Agriculture Department. “It’s worrisome to me that you could set prices that would really influence planting decisions, potentially distorting production.”
Chad Hart, a crop markets economist at Iowa State University, said the mere announcement of the trade aid will shape farmers’ planting decisions, even if the administration doesn’t provide details of its plan or payment rates soon.
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Read more on: Bloomberg

Alejandro Plastina, Iowa State University
U.S.-China tensions knock soyabeans to post-crisis low
By: Financial Times - May 13, 2019
Alejandro Plastina, assistant professor, was interviewed by Greg Meyer from the Financial Times last week, and his extension publication was referenced in the article “US-China tensions knock soyabeans to post-crisis low.
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Read more on: Financial Times

Scott Swinton, Michigan State University
This is not the way to move USDA agencies out of Washington
Written by Scott Swinton: The Hill - July 2, 2019
The public debate over the announced move of the USDA Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture has focused on whether a move is sensible. Equally important is how this move has been planned and implemented.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced on June 13 that the 80 percent of staff at the two agencies will move to Kansas City by the end of September. He justified the move as putting the agencies closer to their agricultural constituency and as saving taxpayer money. I am one of the agricultural economists who wrote a critique of the USDA cost-benefit analysis, finding two major costs that were omitted from the USDA justification.
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Read more on: The Hill

Scott Irwin, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Corn prices plummet as USDA shows far more acres planted than predicted
By: UPI - June 28, 2019
"At the time of this survey, the number of acres farmers intended to plant, but had not planted, was 15.5 million acres," said Scott Irwin, a professor of agricultural economics at the University of Illinois. "That's 15.5 million acres that the USDA reported as planted that we have no idea what happened to in this survey."
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Read more on: UPI and Gephardt Daily

Brandon McFadden, University of Delaware
Meatless Burgers Look to Sizzle on Your July 4th Cookout
By: Fortune - July 3, 2019
Brandon McFadden, an assistant professor in economics at the University of Delaware, wonders if "part of the reason Impossible Burger has not been scaled up so much is that they're trying to [manage] the cost."
Then there's push back on issues like labeling. According to McFadden, Missouri passed a law that "you couldn't call something meat or a burger unless it was derived from an animal." If companies can't call their products meat or burgers, or maybe even sausages, gaining the attention of carnivores becomes much harder.
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Read more on: Fortune

Eva-Marie Meemken, Cornell University
Simanti Banerjee, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Many cocoa farm workers aren’t reaping the benefits of Fairtrade certification
By: PBS/NOVA Next - July 3, 2019
While several studies have assessed the impacts of Fairtrade certification on farmers, there’s been a bit of a “blind spot” when it comes to the welfare of the rural workers they hire, says study author Eva-Marie Meemken, an agricultural economist at Cornell University. Part of the problem, she says, is access: Many farm workers come from other countries, leading to language barriers, and a good number of them work on a temporary basis in remote, inaccessible regions.
However, these results aren’t all that surprising, and mirror what’s been suggested by other studies of sustainability certifications, says Simanti Banerjee, an agricultural and behavioral economist at the University of Nebraska Lincoln who was not involved in the study.
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Read more on: PBS/NOVA Next

Gabriel Lade, Iowa State University
Trump Will Try To Bolster Iowa Farmers Hurt By Trade, Weather
By: National Public Radio - June 11, 2019
GABRIEL LADE: In the long run, this could benefit the ethanol industry, but that's certainly not, you know, the way it's being spun right now. It's being spun as an immediate benefit to farmers, which it won't be.
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Read more on: National Public Radio

Peter Orazem, Iowa State University
In This Town, You Apply For A Job And You Get It
By: National Public Radio - May 23, 2019
So why are jobs so plentiful in this small city of more than 65,000 residents tucked amid farm fields 45 minutes north of Des Moines? One reason is that Ames is home to Iowa State University. College towns emerged from the Great Recession in stronger shape than other places, says Iowa State economist Peter Orazem.
"Where the U.S. economy is growing tends to be in the sorts of things that universities are typically good at producing — educated employees and research," he says.
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Read more on: National Public Radio

Shenggen Fan, International Food Policy Research Institute
FAO drive towards zero hunger goal in Asia Pacific
By: SciDev.Net - June 5, 2019
Shenggen Fan, director-general, International Food Policy Research Institute, tells SciDev.Net that innovative approaches in policy, institutions and technologies are key to improving progress on zero hunger. “We must promote nutritious, sustainable and healthy diets with fiscal policy, social protection and increased investment in research on nutritious foods and subsidies to support production of healthy foods.”

Fan says that agri-food systems in the region must be inclusive, allowing women, children, youth and marginal or vulnerable population groups to benefit.
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Read more on: SciDev.Net

GianCarlo Moschini, Iowa State University
Banning neonicotinoids not cure-all for bee health, researchers find
By: Farm Progress - June 26, 2019
New research shows a neonicotinoid ban in the United States may not be a risk-free solution to the problem of declining bee populations. According to research from GianCarlo Moschini at the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development at Iowa State University and Ed Perry at Kansas State University, a total agricultural ban in U.S. maize, similar to one introduced in the European Union in 2013, could have unintended consequences.
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Read more on: Farm Progress

Keri Jacobs, Iowa State University
SF Special: Minnesota Cooperative Falls Prey to Its General Manager
By: Successful Farming - May 20, 2019
“What failed is the oversight of the process,” says Keri Jacobs, an associate professor at Iowa State University. “While it’s important to place your trust in the person hired to lead your business, there must also be checks and balances in place to verify what he or she is doing.”
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Read more on: Successful Farming

Joseph Glauber, International Food Policy Research Institute
The Grain Exchange presented advances in the NASA Harvest Conference 2019
By: Argentina’s El Economista - June 27, 2019
Subsequently, a series of panels with presentations by different members of the consortium began. The Grain Exchange had its space at the opening of the day, with a focus on Technologies for Earth Observation, Agricultural Markets and Price Volatility. Agronomist Esteban Copati made a presentation on the impact of Earth Observation technologies on agricultural estimates in Argentina. This first panel was also composed of Joe Glauber (IFPRI) and Matt Hansen (UMD), in turn also had the presence of Abdolreza Abbassian (FAO), Seth Meyer (USDA), Arnaud Petit (IGC) and Ian Jarvis (GEOGLAM).
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Read more on: Argentina’s El Economista and Argentina's Clarin Rural

Dermot Hayes, Iowa State University
Ongoing trade uncertainty hurts producers
By: Ag|Update - May 31, 2019
Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes has estimated that U.S. pork exports to Japan could grow from $1.6 billion last year up to $2.2 billion over the next 15 years if such an agreement is reached. But shipments could drop dramatically if a deal is not reached.

See other Member in the News items
Know another AAEA Member who has made statewide, national, or international news?
Send a link of the article to Sinais Alvarado at
salvarado@aaea.org
What research and topics are you working on? Want to be an expert source for journalists working on a story? Contact Allison Scheetz at ascheetz@aaea.org.
*Articles in response to the AAEA Communicating Out Strategy Press Releases highlighting: Government Relations, American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy, Choices Magazine, General Media, and/or 2019 AAEA Annual Meeting in Atlanta.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Members in the News: Thilmany, Ortega, Lusk, Dinterman, Unnevehr, Zilberman, Bolotova, Swinton, Luckstead, Tsiboe, Crane-Droesch, Zhang, Malone, Schulz, Brown, and Anderson

Dawn Thilmany, Colorado State University
ERS union predicts mass exodus ahead of relocation
By: Politico - June 25, 2019
“The loss in expertise is extremely concerning for those who create policy, rely on sound market and industry research and who collaborate with USDA ERS to address field-based questions that arise,” said Dawn Thilmany, an associate department head at Colorado State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences, when POLITICO asked her to review the survey results.
But an analysis conducted by researchers at the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association disputed the department’s estimate, suggesting relocation could cost as much as $128 million over time. That group’s analysis said USDA didn’t take into account the value of future research that would be lost after veteran economists leaving the agencies, and also argued the department overstated the costs of keeping the agencies in Washington.
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Read more on: Politico

David Ortega, Michigan State University
Michigan Farm Leaders Skewer Donald Trump’s Trade War
By: Huffington Post - May 14, 2019
Even once a trade deal is reached with China, rebuilding ties will be difficult. A study by Michigan State University’s College of Agriculture revealed that 68 percent of China consumers find America’s trade policy toward China to be unfair, research author David Ortega noted.
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Read more on: Huffington Post

Jayson Lusk, Purdue University
Economist identifies consumer trends and the future of food
By: Beef Magazine - June 23, 2019
To kick things off, here is a recap from the opening session at SPAC, where Jayson Lusk, Purdue University distinguished professor and head of the Agricultural Economics department, talked about the future of food and agriculture, as well as the trends, opportunities and challenges ahead for producers.
“The dollars we spend on research and innovation are really important to the success story of U.S. agriculture,” said Lusk. “What makes us successful? It’s not because we have the cheapest labor or land; it’s because we have the best access to the latest technologies.”
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Read more on: Beef Magazine

Robert Dinterman, The Ohio State University
Trends Show Chapter 12 Bankruptcies Not Rising At An Alarming Rate
By: Agweb - April 17, 2019
Economists from the Ohio State University looked at the trends in Chapter 12 filings each year, evaluating whether the recent downturn in commodity prices is impacting the number of bankruptcies agriculture is seeing.
“What our study kind of looked at is how have the trends in filing rates for chapter 12 trended over time. And since 2005, we're kind of at a range that on average we probably see around 450 to 500 bankruptcies filed for farmers each year,” said Robert Dinterman, co-author of the report released in “The Feed.”
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Read more on: Agweb

Dawn Thilmany, Colorado State University
Laurian Unnevehr, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Colorado's food system relies on a strong USDA research base
Written by Dawn Thilmany and Laurian Unnevehr: The Daily Sentenial - June 23, 2019
Farmer's market season is here, baby animals are grazing alongside their mothers, and field crops are mostly planted and starting to yield their bounty, signaling another season to enjoy the unique variety of foods produced here in Colorado: Everything from Palisade peaches to San Luis Valley potatoes to beef pastured and finished on the Eastern Plains.
Colorado farmers and ranchers work hard under adverse conditions to provide us with delicious food. But in addition to their efforts, much of what we take for granted in our food system relies on the agricultural research and outreach from public organizations like the U.S. Department of Agriculture and our own land grant university, Colorado State University.
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Read more on: The Daily Sentenial

David Zilberman, University of California, Berkeley
Group Says USDA Relocation to Cost Taxpayers
By: KTIC Radio - June 21, 2019
An organization representing agricultural economists says a relocation effort by the Department of Agriculture will cost taxpayers. The Agricultural and Applied Economics Association claims the plan by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue would cost taxpayers $83 to $182 million dollars, instead of saving them $300 million as USDA claims.
Additionally, the organization says a rushed, unplanned move will “undermine the quality of USDA agricultural economic information at a critical time for the nation’s agricultural and rural economy.”  Given the economy, AAEA president David Zilberman says, “This is the worst possible time” for such a much by USDA.
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Read more on: KTIC Radio

Yuliya Bolotova, Clemson University
How Common Is Price-Fixing in the Food Industry?
By: Pacific Standard Magazine - June 27, 2019
"Unfortunately, price-fixing has become too common in the modern food industry," Yuliya Bolotova, an assistant professor of agribusiness at Clemson University, writes in an email.
According to Bolotova, who has studied price-fixing in the food industry, the recent cases began because the chicken and pork industries were over-producing: The meat-processing companies weren't able to sell product at a cost that was profitable to them, so they "implemented a series of production cuts," writes Bolotova in a 2019 working paper presented to the Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
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Read more on: Pacific Standard Magazine

Scott Swinton, Michigan State University
MSU agricultural economics professor receives prestigious faculty honor
By: WLNS.com - June 27, 2019
The Michigan State University Board of Trustees honored an agricultural economics professor with the University Distinguished Professor.
Professor Scott Swinton from the department of agricultural, food and resource economics received the award which honors faculty members whose achievements have garnered national and international recognition, have superior teaching skills and an impressive record of public service and scholarly achievements.
“I like to work on research that makes a difference,” said Swinton. “That’s the fundamental idea in the land grant system, that we’re not just kind of doing research and education because it’s interesting, but we’re doing it because it helps improve people’s lives.”
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Read more on: WLNS.com

Jeff Luckstead, University of Arkansas
Francis Tsiboe, Kansas State University
Economic incentives may curb child labor in cocoa industry, Arkansas researchers think
By: Magnolia Reporter - June 24, 2019
An article assessing child labor in the cocoa industry, recently published by University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture economists Jeff Luckstead and Lanier Nalley and Francis Tsiboe of Kansas State University, has sparked an international conversation.
The article, titled "Estimating the economic incentives necessary for eliminating child labor in Ghanaian cocoa production" and published in PLoS ONE, theorizes that a modest price increase of less than 3 percent could eliminate Ghana's use of child labor for hazardous work without weakening farmers’ earnings.
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Read more on: Magnolia Reporter

Andrew Crane-Droesch, USDA – Economic Research Service
David Zilberman, University of California, Berkeley
‘Mixture of outrage and resignation.’ Why USDA employees aren’t thrilled with KC move
By: The Kansas City Star - June 24, 2019
For USDA researcher Andrew Crane-Droesch, a cross-country move from the nation’s capital to Kansas City is out of the question. He’s among more than 550 federal workers whose jobs will be shipped from Washington, D.C., to the Kansas City area after the region won out in a competition between cities in 35 states.
 “To be frank, America’s agricultural economy today faces serious challenges,” AAEA president David Zilberman said in a news release. “This is the worst possible time to dismantle the USDA’s capability to analyze agricultural markets, crop insurance, and trade policy.”
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Read more on: The Kansas City Star

Wendong Zhang, Iowa State University
Sharing Information Can Bridge the Divide with Landowners
By: 4U Plus - June 2019
Ownership of Iowa farmland is increasingly shifting to landowners with little to no understanding of the conservation practices that improve soil resiliency, said Wendong Zhang, Ph.D., an assistant professor of economics at Iowa State University. He encourages tenants to communicate with landowners and share what‘s happening on the land to bridge the divide.
Farming is complex and conservation practices add another layer to the challenges of communicating what tenants are doing or want to do to improve the land, Zhang explains. “When you ask landowners if they want to sustain the land and improve long-term soil health and water quality, they are in agreement,” he said. “But they may not understand what that means for the tenant in terms of investment in different machinery for tillage, for example.”
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Read more on: 4U PlusChina Daily Hong Kong, and The Oskaloosa Herald

Trey Malone, Michigan State University
Stress builds as Michigan farmers are ‘hit from all directions’
By: Bridge - June 25, 2019
Food and agriculture in Michigan is a huge industry, contributing over $101 billion to the state’s economy and employing over 900,000 workers. There are just under 48,000 farms covering roughly 9.8 million acres and producing about 300 products, making Michigan second only to California in diversity of products, said Trey Malone, an agriculture economist at Michigan State University.
Although many Michigan farmers have been hurt, dairy farmers have been among the worst hit by weather and trade issues, said Trey Malone, an agriculture economist for Michigan State University.
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Read more on: Bridge

Lee Schulz, Iowa State University
Scott Brown, University of Missouri
Markets Jump on Skyrocketing Hog Inventory
By: Farm Journal’s Pork - June 27, 2019
Looking at the weight breakdown of market hog inventory, of particular note was the 7½% increase in the number of pigs in the 180-lb. and over category compared to year ago levels, said Lee Schulz, associate professor of agricultural economics, Iowa State University. The number was three percentage points higher than pre-report expectations.
“When you look at Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, all with growth in excess of 4/10ths of a pig relative to the year ago, it certainly suggests to me that some of the disease issues that we've seen in the industry are becoming better controlled, PRRS being one that sticks out,” said Scott Brown, University of Missouri economist.
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Read more on: Farm Journal’s Pork

David Anderson, Texas A&M University
Texas A&M experts: Brisket prices rising along with demand
By: The Eagle - June 27, 2019
David Anderson, an agricultural economics professor and AgriLife Extension economist at Texas A&M, said Wednesday that he and others anticipate a record amount of total meat production in the U.S. in 2019. He said briskets, bacon, chicken wings and hamburgers have shown particular strength in recent years.
“For the particular cuts of briskets, demand is really skyrocketing because of, I think, the growth of barbecue restaurants,” Anderson said. “What we are seeing is an increase in prices because of that demand, even though the supply is growing.”
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Read more on: The Eagle

See other Member in the News items
Know another AAEA Member who has made statewide, national, or international news?
Send a link of the article to Sinais Alvarado at
salvarado@aaea.org
What research and topics are you working on? Want to be an expert source for journalists working on a story? Contact Allison Scheetz at ascheetz@aaea.org.
*Articles in response to the AAEA Communicating Out Strategy Press Releases highlighting: Government Relations, American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy, Choices Magazine, General Media, and/or 2018 AAEA Annual Meeting in Washington D.C.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Member Blog: David Zilberman

On receiving the Wolf Prize and on the scholar as an intellectual athlete

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | June 24, 2019
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On May 30 I received the Wolf Prize in Agriculture in Jerusalem. It is considered the “Nobel Prize” of agriculture and mathematics. Many of the Wolf Prize laureates in Medicine and Chemistry go on to receive the Nobel Prize. I was honored and humbled to get the prize – especially because I am the first economist, the second Israeli, and the third recipient from Berkeley to receive the award in agriculture. The competition is international with the award given by the Israeli President of the Knesset.

The Wolf Prize was established by Ricardo Wolf to complement the Nobel Prize by adding awards in important fields like agriculture, arts, and mathematics, which were not covered by the Nobel. Wolf was a German Jew who emigrated to Cuba and was a successful inventor, with significant earnings from patents in the steel production process. He provided financial support to Fidel Castro, then became the Cuban Ambassador to Israel, and finally an Israeli citizen.

I won the award for my interdisciplinary research approach, integrating biophysical considerations with the economic models of agricultural systems. My collaborative efforts lead to the development of methods to predict the impacts of the adoption of water conservation and pest-control technologies, to design incentives for agricultural conservation activities, and to improve biofuel and biotechnology policies.

I was excited to accept the prize in the city where I was born and still have a large family. Receiving the award in the Knesset from the Israeli President, who is no Trump or Netanyahu but rather admired for his civility and integrity (and a distant relative of mine), made the whole experience even better. I had a posse joining me too – my wife, three sons, a daughter-in-law (I really thank Davina’s parents for taking care of the kids so that she could make it), my nominator, friends, mentors, and collaborators (Jill McCluskey, Richard Just, Gordon Rausser, Tom Reardon, and Dick Beahrs) and my friend from grade school (Shlomo Nezer). I arrived in Israel with Leorah a week before the award ceremony and the visit was full of highlights. I was touched watching my cousins and uncles clapping when we arrived in Jerusalem and enjoyed meeting old friends at a reception on the beach in Tel Aviv. I was thrilled to participate in a class reunion at my high school, Lyada. At the time I had resented the uncompromising commitment to excellence of our high school, but without it, I probably would not be receiving a Wolf Prize. The building of our high school has hardly changed in 53 years – but we ourselves all surely looked different. One of the benefits of teaching at the university is that you mingle with students and you don’t realize that you’ve aged.

The Wolf Prize festivities included a tour of Jerusalem, and fortunately, Moshe Safadie, who won the Wolf Prize in Architecture, designed the Mamila area linking the old and new parts of Jerusalem.  We could not have found a better guide of the city. He invited us to his house in the old city, which offers a spectacular view of the holy sites, as you can see. We also met with young scholars, where each of us presented our life’s work, and I was amazed and humbled by the accomplishments of the other laureates. Their discoveries may allow for improved control of obesity, reductions in the costs of drug manufacturing, and better quantification of the behavior of complex systems with random elements.

The award ceremony was amazing. The Knesset sits at the top of a hill and has a beautiful view of the city. The ceremony was short and sweet.  For the first time in my life, I wore a tuxedo. They showed a video clip of each of us when we were introduced, we received the award from the Israeli President, and then gave a short acceptance speech. I had the feeling of participating in an academic Oscar ceremony. I was so glad that my family and friends were at the event since we have all shared this journey. I believe it takes a village (family, friends, and collaborators) to nurture long-term achievement.

To receive the Wolf Prize meant needing to skip the NBA Finals. Tom Reardon, who I introduced to the fun of the NBA recently, told me, “Now you are the MVP!” This made me think about the parallel between sports and scholarship. I realized that I’m actually like an athlete – not in a popular sport, but in the pursuit of excellence in research. We are, to a large extent, both the players and the audience of our ‘sport.’ At times, it is lonely because people outside our area of work cannot relate to what we are doing. The Wolf Prize, for me, was a public affirmation of achievement. It was really enjoyable that my children, who decry my incompetence as a driver and user of high tech, were able to see that in some areas I am a star.

There is an old Jewish saying that “the jealousy of scholars increases wisdom.” I do not believe that I possess Kobe Bryant’s “killer instinct” when writing papers – when I write my papers, I do not compete explicitly against other scholars, but rather against frontier of knowledge. My aim is to make novel and meaningful contributions. Adam Smith showed that competition among firms can enhance social welfare, and the same is true about scholars. But we know that mismanaged markets can fail, and in the same way, ruthless competition among scholars without honesty, disclosure of information, acknowledgment of others’ contributions, and care can be a detriment.

We didn’t ignore the social challenges related to practicing good science during the Wolf Prize events. In our discussions with other scientists, especially young ones, we emphasized the moral responsibility of scientists and the need to adhere to procedures and mechanisms that will lead to peace, sustainability, and prosperity. The Wolf Prize aspires towards the recognition of scientific and artistic excellence and the attainment of social good.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Members in the News: Lusk, Langemeier, Charlton, Taylor, Rutledge, Boehm, and Bekkerman

Jayson Lusk, Purdue University
Egg industry struggles to meet 'cage-free' demands
By: Agri-Pulse - June 19, 2019
The impact of higher prices on consumer behavior could be dramatic, according to a study by Jayson Lusk, head of agricultural economics at Purdue, ...
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Read more on: Agri-Pulse

Michael Langemeier, Purdue University
Commercial corn prices are going up. Here's what that could mean for your grocery bill
By: IndyStar. - June 17, 2019
However, Michael Langemeier, an agricultural economics professor at Purdue, said commercial corn prices aren’t estimated to go much above the average since 2007 of $4.55 a bushel.
He added that any current predictions of corn yields and prices are preliminary and said there is about a 25% chance commercial corn prices could rise steeply, to more than $5 a bushel. 
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Read more on: IndyStar.

Diane Charlton, Montana State University
J. Edward Taylor, University of California, Davis
Zachariah Rutledge, University of California, Davis
Innovations for shrinking agricultural workforce
By: Farm and Dairy - June 15, 2019
Editor’s note: The following was adapted from an article in Choices, a publication of the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association, written by Diane Charlton, J. Edward Taylor, Stavros Vougioukas, and Zachariah Rutledge.
MILWAUKEE, Wis. — A diminishing farm labor supply puts pressure on the agricultural sector to adopt new technologies for difficult-to-mechanize tasks.
The competitiveness of U.S. agriculture, as well as the welfare of farm workers and the communities in which they live, depends on how we as a society adapt to a new era of farm labor scarcity.
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Read more on: Farm and Dairy

Rebecca Boehm, Union of Concerned Scientists
Union Organizers Score Another Win at USDA
By: Government Executive - June 12, 2019
Rebecca Boehm, economist at the Union of Concerned Scientists—one of numerous academic and advocacy groups that oppose the office moves as disruptive—said, "USDA employees are rightly frustrated by the lack clarity and transparency throughout the relocation process. Hopefully, unionizing will give them a strong voice moving forward and allow them to get back to producing vital research for farmers and consumers."
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Read more on: Government Executive

Anton Bekkerman, Montana State University
New Trade Agreement Could Boost Montana Beef Exports To Europe
By: Montana Public Radio - June 17, 2019
“This is a really great deal for the United States, especially because European Union has a lot of high-income consumers who may be willing to pay for that premium-quality beef,” says Anton Bekkerman, a professor with Montana State University’s Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics.
Bekkerman says high-quality beef is something Montana producers do really well. Another advantage is that Montana already has a robust system in place to verify cattle were raised without growth-promoting hormones.
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Read more on: Montana Public Radio

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*Articles in response to the AAEA Communicating Out Strategy Press Releases highlighting: Government Relations, American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy, Choices Magazine, General Media, and/or 2018 AAEA Annual Meeting in Washington D.C.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Webinar: USDA - The U.S. and EU Animal Pharmeceutical Industries in the Age of Antibiotic Resistance

In this webinar, Economic Research Service Senior Economist Stacy Sneeringer discusses how increased scrutiny from policymakers and consumers about antibiotic use in agriculture is changing the animal pharmaceutical industry’ sales of antibiotics and how it develops and sells its drugs.

June 25, 2019
1:00 PM EDT
Stacy Sneeringer
Streaming audio Available through your computer