Monday, May 20, 2019

Members in the News: Dorfman, Beghin, Van Tassell, Rabinowitz, Court, and Malone

Jeffrey Dorfman, University of Georgia
Hey Dems, The Federal Government Already Offers Free College
Written by Jeffrey Dorfman: Forbes - May 16, 2019
Most of the Democrats running for president, as well as many who are not, seem intent on the federal government offering Americans free college. In most proposals, tuition and fees would disappear, leaving college students to pay their room and board and maybe books depending on the proposal. Of course, free college educations are not free. The cost is simply being transferred from the college student to the taxpayers. The odd part of all these proposals is that Democrats seem to have missed that, according to their definition of “free,” the federal government already offers free college. All a wannabe college student need do to go to college for free is sign up for military service.
The U.S. Armed Forces offer several options to help people pay for college. The GI bill still exists and provides college tuition assistance at the conclusion of military service. There are two versions—the original and the post 9/11 version—and depending on her length of service a person could receive up to $1500 per month, more than enough to fully cover in-state tuition at hundreds of state colleges and universities.
Read more on: Forbes

John Beghin, North Carolina State University
Larry Van Tassell, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Beghin Named Michael Yanney Chair at Nebraska
By: KTIC Radio - May 13, 2019
“With the importance of international trade to Nebraska’s agricultural economy, we are very pleased to have someone with Beghin’s expertise and stature join the department and lead our efforts in this area,” said Larry Van Tassell, head of the Department of Agricultural Economics.
“I am very enthused by the unique opportunity created by Clayton Yeutter’s vision with the named institute and the Michael Yanney Chair,” Beghin said. “I foresee much potential to develop programs for students interested in globalization and international trade, to undertake applied economic research on Nebraska’s agriculture and allied industries, and to engage with stakeholders in the state and the Midwest.”
Read more on: KTIC Radio

Adam Rabinowitz, University of Georgia
Christa Court, University of Florida
Southeast Farmers Still Hurting From Hurricane Michael After-Effects
Written by Adam Rabinowitz and Christa Court: Growing Produce - May 16, 2019
Last October, Hurricane Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach, FL, as a Category 5 hurricane with peak sustained winds estimated at 160 mph. It was the strongest hurricane on record to make landfall in the Florida Panhandle. When it entered Southwest Georgia as a Category 3 hurricane, packing wind gusts as high as 115 mph, it became the first major hurricane to directly hit Georgia since the 1890s.
The storm caused extensive destruction throughout the hurricane’s path, which included substantial agricultural production areas. Before the hurricane hit, the 2017 USDA Census of Agriculture estimated the market value of agricultural products sold in Georgia to be $9.6 billion. Those sold in Florida were valued at $7.4 billion.
Read more on: Growing Produce

Trey Malone, Michigan State University
Craft beer industry helping to power Michigan’s economy
By: WKAR - May 14, 2019
Trey Malone, MSU agricultural economist, is the study's lead author.
“The idea of craft beer isn't very old,” says Malone. “A craft beer or a craft brewery itself has less than six million barrels, which I know sounds like a lot, but relative to some of the big players in the beer industry, that's a drop in the bucket really. One important attribute of craft beer is that it has to be independently produced. It has to be owned by a small private company, and that's something that's very important in the modern era where mergers and acquisitions are standard practice.

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
What research and topics are you working on? Want to be an expert source for journalists working on a story? Contact Allison Scheetz at
*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.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Member Blog: David Zilberman

The gains from working before starting a graduate program

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | May 15, 2019

I am frequently asked whether students should work before going to graduate school. Of course, no single answer fits all, but I owe much of my success to the experience I gained working before graduate school.

I grew up in a low-income family in Israel and went to a warm and friendly neighborhood school, then to a very demanding high school (Leyada) where I gained a sound foundation in math and critical thinking. After high school, I went for more than three years to the army. During my army term, I lived and worked in a kibbutz, an agricultural collective village. I could not have guessed that I would later become an agricultural economist, but in the kibbutz, I worked ploughing and cultivating fields, picking apples, moving irrigation pipes, and removing dead chicken from a highly automated poultry farm. I gained many insights here that became very helpful later in my career as an agricultural economist. I realized the importance of precision in modern agriculture. If a farmer is too late to discover a pest, much of her crop will be gone, and if she does not pay attention, she may end up destroying half the crops that could have been saved through timely weed control activities.  Another lesson was that differences in abilities among workers can result in an incredible difference in productivity, and that even small amounts of the right training may make you a much better farmer. I realized how boring and tough some activities like weeding could be, and learned to appreciate the technologies we had that could replace or make these tasks easier.  Technological change was very salient during the four years I stayed in the Kibbutz.  Plastic irrigation pipes on wheels replaced the massive aluminum pipes, and new tractors and attached machinery allowed farmers to more comfortably and precisely plow and prepare fields for growing cotton. We were trained in the use of these advanced technologies and after a period of adjustment, we were able to get much better results using them.

After the army, I considered studying mathematics and physics as my undergraduate major, but I knew that I could not afford to study full time. I needed to support myself while in school, so I chose “easier” majors – economics and statistics. I simultaneously started working, selling advertisements for the “Blue Book,” a predecessor of the Yellow Pages in Israel. I did this for four months, and I gained a good foundation in sales. I realized that selling is hard work – walking for hours (I destroyed two pairs of shoes during these few months), thinking rigorously about how to pitch your product and adapt it to your customer, and getting rejected most of the time (frequently rudely).  Later I realized that the ability to persevere after rude rejection is an essential skill of an academic economist.  I also gained some insight into the way my customers made their buying decisions. Every potential buyer of advertisements wanted to know which of their competitors had bought ads. My mother’s uncle was a leading accountant and purchased a big advertisement from me.  That impressed many other accountants and opened doors, but didn’t necessarily lead to sales.  Each accountant assessed how the advertisement might serve them and made their choices accordingly.

These experiences served me years later as I started to study the economics of technology adoption.  We consider adoption to understand events such as the spread of the Green Revolution and to conceptualize how to bring farmers to adopt technologies like integrated pest management that may enhance sustainability.

The dominant view until the 1980s was that adoption is a process of imitation. The paradigm assumes that people are homogenous; that they see others use a technology and then with some statistical likelihood, they will follow suit. The imitation model has been beneficial quantitively. It has allowed quite good estimation of the impact of changes in profitability of modern technology on the probability of its adoption. I did not doubt that the diffusion rate (percentage of farmers who adopt technology in a given moment) is an S-shaped function of time, as suggested by the imitation model.  But I found the imitation narrative unrealistic and less useful for practical technology introduction efforts. I contributed to developing an alternative approach to understand adoption behavior. The key elements of this model are (1) heterogeneity among potential adopters – in terms of skills assets and preferences – and how it contributes to differences in the timing of adoption of technologies; (2) individual economic decision-making that includes several elements:  awareness of the technology (individuals are affected by what others do), assessment based on perceived impact of the technology on well-being; and (3) dynamic processes that make technologies cheaper (for example, learning by doing, learning by using, etc). This approach suggests that the people who gain most from adoption are the earliest to adopt and as the technology becomes cheaper and its benefits improve, others join in. It also suggests that in early stages, individuals may not buy new technologies but rent them instead. It further suggests that marketing efforts that reduce the risk that the technology won’t fit individual needs and that increase access to credit are crucial. While myself and others have proven these points mathematically and with empirical evidence, my experience as a salesperson and later in computers provided me with several practical insights which laid the basis for this work.

I worked as sales person for four months, and at the same time took a class in a computer language IBM 360 Assembler and was hired by Koor Computers. The head of the company was Mr. Karpol, a colorful person with 3 missing fingers, who started his career as a construction worker, became a bookkeeper, and later designed computer systems. We had more than 100 clients and provided several packages including billing, inventory management, and payroll. After a few months, I became responsible for the payroll system. The system included a program that assessed input to prevent mistakes in the data, a program that updated the major files and computed salaries, and a third program that produced reports that were sent to the IRS, pension funds, banks, etc. My main job was to update the system as technology improved, oversee about 20 people that were working with clients making sure that there were no complaints, and to work with Mr. Karpol and others to acquire new customers and grow our business. Our salespeople met representatives of the client companies and when they needed a new type of computation, they would tell us and we would write a program to solve this problem. We charged the company for the cost of the program, but once we had written the program, we added it to expand our offering to all of our clients. So over time, we significantly expanded the range of services that we offered our clients, generally reducing their cost and improving their services.

During my five years working for Koor, we also took advantage of improving computer technology to develop new applications that linked billing, inventory, and payroll, and also allowed activities like cost accounting. This experience taught me a few things about the economics of scale and scope that are used in modern business. Once a company writes code and develops the capacity to address a problem, it has human and physical capital that are mostly fixed costs. The management of the company dreams how to take advantage of this new capacity and how to adapt it to increase sales. It is like diffusion of technology on the supply side – first a technology is introduced and then the supplier thinks who the most likely to groups are to adopt it and modifies it so they will be tempted to try it and buy it. This way of thinking allowed me to understand the way that supply chains operate.

The basic dynamics of an organization include refining a basic concept, then building capabilities, human capital, and relationships to provide a certain product or service as the foundation for an organization, and finally expanding and adapting them over space and time to grow. This process is conducted by companies like McDonalds, who took several years to develop a basic concept, first spread nationally and then internationally, and then modified their products to accommodate changes in technologies and preferences. It also applies to food chains like Walmart, computer companies like Apple, and tractor manufacturers like John Deere.
The specifics vary in every sector. Even in our little computer company, I learned how the manager needs to address issues of credit and how the company’s ability to grow depends on this. I also learned how market decisions can affect the company’s ability to grow. When I started studying adoption and I noticed that most of the literature ignored marketing, I realized that this was one area that I could emphasize in my own research. Thus when I teach students about Apple, I emphasize that the genius of Apple is not only offering a better product, but also the better store and their marketing arrangements. That emphasizes the importance of both technical and managerial excellence.

Perhaps the main lesson from working during my time at university was that while I enjoyed my life in the corporate world, that it’s not ideal for me. It was rewarding financially and exciting for a while, but I realized that while I loved programming and system design, the main challenge was to understand the behavioral and economic aspect, and a PhD in applied economics would expand my horizons and make me happier. That motivated me to make many sacrifices and go to a PhD program. Everyone is different, but at least my experience suggests that working while going to undergraduate school and maybe between undergraduate and graduate school is important. I considered living and working as part of the “applied research” that one needs to engage in, before committing to a graduate program.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Members in the News: Boehm, Offutt, Robinson, Michler, Malone, Ellison, Devadoss, Langemeier, Alwang, Norton, Larochelle, and Mintert

Rebecca Boehm, Union of Concerned Scientists
Susan Offutt, DCL Consulting
After outcry, USDA will no longer require scientists to label research ‘preliminary’
By: The Washington Post - May 10, 2019
Rebecca Boehm, an economist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, a D.C.-based organization that advocates for scientists, said that “removing ‘preliminary’ from the disclaimer is a step in the right direction, but there still may be unnecessary obstacles preventing agency researchers from publishing their work in peer-reviewed journals.”
But Susan Offutt, who was the administrator of the Economic Research Service under presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, said the guide twists internal review “into a process by which policy officials get the final say on content.” Because researchers at the Economic Research Service publish statistics to aid policymakers, “just about any output” from that agency could be flagged, she said.
USDA’s “interests apparently concern consistency with prevailing policy,” Offutt said, “not the public’s access to the best, unbiased science and analysis.”
Read more on: The Washington Post

John Robinson, Texas A&M University
U.S. Cotton Production Expected to Reach Highest in 14 Years
By: Bloomberg - May 7, 2019
In March, the USDA forecast that cotton acres would dip to 13.8 million for the 2019-2020 season from 14.1 million a year earlier. Still, anecdotal evidence in states including Texas and Oklahoma suggests the fiber will be sown on 14 million acres nationally, according to John Robinson, a professor of agricultural economics at Texas A&M University.
Relatively low prices for competing crops and rainy weather causing planting delays for corn may make the fiber an attractive alternative, said Robinson, who estimates U.S. cotton production will reach 23 million bales.
Read more on: Bloomberg

Jeffrey Michler, University of Arizona
No one-size-fits-all solution for sustainable agriculture
By: - May 7, 2019
Because of its success in the U.S. and other countries, conservation agriculture, or CA, has been widely promoted as a way for in sub-Saharan Africa to increase yields while also making those yields more resilient to changing . However, research by UA agricultural and resource economics assistant professor Jeffrey Michler in the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences found that benefits of CA are not consistent around the world.
"The farming technique – which consists of low or no tillage of fields, leaving crop cover in place after harvest, and rotating grains and legumes – has been extremely successful in the U.S., Canada and other industrialized nations. In fact, the vast majority of crop acreage in these countries is now farmed using conservation agriculture," Michler said. "It also has a number of climate-smart properties, including reduced greenhouse gas emissions, reduced fertilizer use and improved resilience of yields to rainfall shocks stemming from climate change."
Read more on:

Trey Malone, Michigan State University
What's on tap? Michigan's economy
By: - May 7, 2019
The industry is a substantial driver in Michigan, too, generating nearly $500 million in in 2016, contributing nearly $1 billion and 9,738 jobs in total aggregate economic contributions. The impact could change the lens in which craft beer is viewed, said Trey Malone, MSU agricultural economist and the study's lead author.
"Our results show that state governments might generate by creating a business climate that's conducive to the growth of the craft beer value chain," he said. "It's definitely an industry worth fostering."
Read more on:

Brenna Ellison, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Discrepancies in Estimates on Food Insecurity
By: Inside Higher ED - April 30, 2019
A group of researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign says more research is needed to accurately estimate the number of college students facing food insecurity and hunger, as awareness of the problem grows and lawmakers and colleges grapple with it.
The researchers analyzed multiple studies on food insecurity and found discrepancies in the way hunger is measured. Those discrepancies cast doubt on estimates of the share of college students who are reportedly hungry or food insecure, according to a paper the researchers, Cassandra J. Nikolaus, Breanna Ellison and Sharon Nickols-Richardson, published in PLOS ONE last week.
Read more on: Inside Higher ED

Stephen Devadoss, Texas Tech University
More dependence on H-2A expected
By: Brownfield Ag News - May 1, 2019
An ag economist says immigration policy and aging migrant workers has led to a significant increase in the H-2A guest worker program over the past decade.
“Now it’s close to 250,000 workers are brought into this program.”       
Stephen Devadoss with Texas Tech University tells Brownfield labor-intensive crops like tree fruits as well as dairy are the largest users of the program and need a streamlined application process to meet time-sensitive needs. “On one hand, there’s an immigration problem—the government wants to crack down on these workers coming into the U.S.  But, on the opposite end of the spectrum, farmers have this continued labor shortfall.”
Read more on: Brownfield Ag News

Michael Langemeier, Purdue University
America's farmworkers are aging, not being replaced
By: UPI - May 8, 2019
"This is a pretty big concern," said Michael Langemeier, an agricultural economics professor at Purdue University. "If that group is aging, farmers are going to have more problems finding workers. Their bottom lines will be under pressure."
Read more on: UPI

Jeffrey Alwang, Virginia Tech
George Norton, Virginia Tech
Catherine Larochelle, Virginia Tech
Why IPM Adoption is Lower in Developing Countries
By: Entomology Today - May 7, 2019
While most farmers in developed countries have made the change to IPM, those in developing countries have been slower to get on the IPM bandwagon, according to Jeffrey Alwang, Ph.D., a Virginia Tech professor of agricultural and applied economics who has spent decades studying agricultural practices in such places as Ecuador, Guatemala, Uganda, and Bangladesh. In a new report published in April in the Journal of Integrated Pest Management, Alwang and his Virginia Tech co-authors George Norton, Ph.D., and Catherine Larochelle, Ph.D., explore the reasons these growers haven’t adopted IPM and the strategies that might encourage them to try it.
Read more on: Entomology Today

James Mintert, Purdue University
The Opening Bell 5/9/19: The Ag Economy Is Feeling Stuck in The Mud
By: WGN Radio - May 9, 2019
It seems like this time last year, all people were talking about were rising mortgage rates, but it now seems like a thing of the past. Steve Grzanich and Ed Currie (Certified Mortgage Planner & Construction Loan Specialist at Associated Bank) caught up on the mortgage industry during this week’s Associated Bank Thought Leader Conversation and reminded listeners about the recent changes. (At 22:25) Jim Mintert (Professor and Extension Economist in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University) then shared the data from the April Agriculture Barometer and it looks bleak at the moment.
Listen on: WGN Radio

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
What research and topics are you working on? Want to be an expert source for journalists working on a story? Contact Allison Scheetz at
*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.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Members in the News: Gundersen, Boehm, Zilberman, Harris, and Coble

Craig Gundersen, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Every county in the U.S. is home to people who can't afford food, study shows
By: USA Today - April 30, 2019
According to lead researcher Craig Gundersen, during the Great Recession, food insecurity rose 30% from 2007 to 2008. Then, when the economy got better, the rates didn't decline, rather they stayed the same from 2009 to 2014.
"Only in the last few years did they decline," said the professor of agricultural and consumer economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "The levels today are still higher than they were in 2007. While in many dimensions the United State recovered from the Great Recession, the most vulnerable among us still haven't recovered."
Read more on: USA Today

Rebecca Boehm, Union of Concerned Scientists
Meal Kits Have A Smaller Carbon Footprint Than Grocery Shopping, Study Says
By: National Public Radio - April 22, 2019
"This study is a good first step towards understanding the environmental impacts of meal kits," says Rebecca Boehm, an economist who studies food and environment at the Union of Concerned Scientists, "but more research will be needed to understand the whole picture." She was not involved in the new study.
The outsize role of food production on emissions is consistent with Boehm's research as well. "The largest share of emissions from U.S. household food purchases comes fairly early in the food supply chain at production," she says.
Read more on: National Public Radio

David Zilberman, University of California, Berkeley
Historic number of women elected to National Academy of Sciences
By: EurekAlert - April 30, 2019
The National Academy of Sciences announced today the election of 100 new members and 25 foreign associates in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.
AAEA President, David Zilberman is amoung the list of newly elected members.
Zilberman, David; professor of agricultural and resource economics, and Robinson Chair, department of agriculture and resource economics, University of California, Berkeley
Read more on: EurekAlert

Thomas Harris, University of Nevada, Reno
Dairy, livestock summit offers mixed results
By: Nevada Appeal - April 30, 2019
“There’s a lot of farm distress,” said Cooperative Extension Economic Specialist Dr. Tom Harris, who is also the director of the University of Nevada, Reno Center for Economic Development.
Harris, who has provided information to area farmers for years, said at least every two weeks, a farm or dairy, specifically in the Midwest, ceases operation. In Nevada, he said the drought and reduced surface water irrigation has affected dairy operations as has milk prices and trade policies with other countries. He said the problems with Chinese trade is impacting the agriculture sector. From 2014 to 2017, for example, he said the net farm income dropped 93 percent.
Read more on: Nevada Appeal

Keith Coble, Mississippi State University
Agriculture industry expected to change
By: Starkville Daily News - April 26, 2019
Mississippi State University Professor and Head of Agricultural Economics Keith Coble believes there are a lot of transitions to occur in the agriculture industry based on the 2017 USDA Farm Census.
The transition that interests him the most is the future transition of older farmers to younger farmers. There are 55,000 farmers in Mississippi with an increasing percentage over time being female.
Coble said the average age of farmers continue to rise., with the average Mississippi farmer at 59 years old, and 7,000 are over 75 years old.
Read more on: Starkville Daily News

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
What research and topics are you working on? Want to be an expert source for journalists working on a story? Contact Allison Scheetz at
*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.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Members in the News: Hayes, Zhang, Burdine, Shockley, Davis, Hart, and Schulz

Dermot Hayes, Iowa state University
China eyes U.S. poultry, pork imports in trade talks -sources
By: CNBC - April 16, 2019
Iowa State University agricultural economist Dermot Hayes said he expects China will import about 4 million to 6 million tonnes of pork in 2020, following losses in Chinese herds. The amount imported from the United States will depend on a trade deal, because Beijing maintains tariffs on shipments of American pork and has alternative suppliers, he said.
Read more on: CNBC
Iowa’s U.S. senators express frustration with lack of trade progress
By: Daily Iowan - April 7, 2019
Dermot Hayes, an Iowa State University economics professor and coauthor of the September report, said the Iowa senators are correct that there could be a potential agreement with China that would override the damage done by tariffs.
“I do believe that Sen. Ernst is right in that regard,” Hayes said. “Just as soon as the agreement is signed, I think China will announce pretty large purchases of corn, soybeans, and pork.”
Read more on: Daily Iowan

Wendong Zhang, Iowa State University
8 Reasons Why the Livestock Industry Is on a Roll
By: Successful Farming - April 19, 2019
Wendong Zhang, Extension economist with Iowa State University, says the impact on land values is most distinct in northwest Iowa, where there are a lot more livestock producers competing for land because they need nearby acres to spread manure. “Livestock intensify the local competitiveness and help boost the local land prices,” he says.
Zhang does a yearly land values survey. Since 2014, northwest Iowa has been the strongest district in land values. He thinks that will hold true again this year.
Read more on: Successful Farming

Kenneth Burdine, University of Kentucky
Jordan Shockley,
University of Kentucky
Alison Davis, University of Kentucky
UK ag economists offer info for farmers dealing with financial challenges
By: The Lake News - April 25, 2019
“Our goal was to compile a set of resources for agricultural producers as they consider their options and look to improve their financial situations,” said Kenny Burdine, extension agricultural economist in the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.
“Luckily, there are numerous resources available to farmers to aid in developing financial statements and key financial performance measures,” said Jordan Shockley, UK extension agricultural economist. “Producers should remember that a lender is one of their resources. Keeping open communication with a lender can help producers track their financial performance measures and identify any trends that may indicate future financial stress.”
“A difficult farm financial situation can create stress and mental health concerns for the farm family,” said Alison Davis, UK extension agricultural economist. “The University of Kentucky and its partners are preparing communities of practice to help farmers who are facing challenging times.”
Read more on: The Lake News
and The Lane Report

Chad Hart, Iowa State University
'Mexico touches everything we do in Iowa:' Economist says Trump's plans could hurt entire economy
By: Dispatch Argus - April 4, 2019
Chad Hart, an economist with Iowa State University, said unlike the trade dispute with China, "where it's highly concentrated within a few products or commodities," Iowa has a much broader trade relationship with Mexico.
"With China, it was all concentrated in soybeans and pork. But Mexico is a big market for us with corn, soybeans, pork, beef and more," Hart said. "Looking at the agriculture side, I'd almost argue there's no more important market than Mexico, because Mexico touches everything we do in Iowa."
Read more on: Dispatch Argus

Lee Schulz, Iowa State University
Missouri River Flooding Didn't Just Damage Farms, It Impacted The Global Supply Chain
By: Iowa Public Radio - March 28, 2019
Iowa State University livestock economist Lee Schulz said it’s too early to know what the flooding’s impact is on livestock producers, many of whom are still taking stock of what they’ve lost. Looking at ag overall, Iowa officials say it could be $214 million and Nebraska officials said $1 billion.
Initially, Schulz said, he heard about some livestock trucks that had to take longer routes or deliver animals to different packing plants. Some farms and feedlots had to keep animals a few days longer than usual, while others may have trucked animals a little farther to reach slaughter facilities.
Read more on: Iowa Public Radio

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
What research and topics are you working on? Want to be an expert source for journalists working on a story? Contact Allison Scheetz at
*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, April 24, 2019

AEM/Graduate Student Section Case Study Competition

2019 AAEA Annual Meeting

The Agribusiness Economics and Management/Graduate Student Section Case Study Competition allows graduate students to test their communication skills and their ability to apply their knowledge of agricultural economics and agribusiness subjects to practical situations. Students competing in the competition will receive a copy of the case study at least two weeks in advance of the AAEA annual meetings.

Competition Rules: Each team should prepare an oral summary of their solution to the case that will last no more than 15 minutes. Presentations lasting over 15 minutes will be penalized. After the presentation, teams should be prepared to answer questions from the judges on their interpretation of the case.

Teams can be comprised of up to three graduate students. Students may either compete as a team from the same school, or may choose to be mixed with students from other schools. If there is only one student from a school that wants to participate, the student can compete on his/her own or he/she can be matched with other students. In the case of teams that are matched with individuals from different universities, competitors will be notified of their teammates as soon as possible, but no later than the same day the case is announced.

Competition Prizes: The top three teams will receive plaques and cash prizes.
·         First Place: $300
·         Second Place: $200
·         Third Place: $100

Specific Information for the 2019 Case Study Competition: The number of rounds will be determined by the number of teams entered. The final round will be composed of the top 3 teams. In addition to plaques and cash prizes, the three finalist teams will also be recognized during the AAEA Awards Ceremony.

  • Sunday, July 21, 8:00am – 3:00pm: First Rounds of Competition
  • Monday, July 22, 1:30pm – 4:00pm: Final Round (if necessary)
  • Monday, July 22, 6:00pm – 7:15pm: Awards Ceremony  
Students participating in the case study competition will need to be registered for the Annual Meeting AND the Case Study Competition.
  1. Students should register for the AAEA Annual Meeting through the 2019 Annual Meeting Registration Form which is available online at
  2. Each team must also complete the Case Study registration form identifying their teammates and send it to AAEA no later than June 15 2019.
Please direct any questions regarding the 2019 AAEA Case Study Competition to Dr. Michael Gunderson ( or GSS Section Chair, Logan Britton (

Monday, April 22, 2019

Members in the News: Smith, Funk, Rickard, Zhang, Kolodinsky, Lusk, and Sumner

Martin D. Smith, Duke University
How not to fish: New rule would turn back clock for US fishing industry
Written by Martin D. Smith: The Hill - April 9, 2019
In the second half of the 20th century, the U.S. fishing industry was plagued by too many boats chasing too few fish. Overfishing was rampant, profits for fishermen were low and the federal government fueled the flames by subsidizing the construction of new fishing vessels with taxpayer dollars. 
By the mid-1990s, we had learned our lessons the hard way. We began to implement policies to curtail overfishing, allow stocks of fish to recover, eliminate subsidies and increase profitability. To address the legacy that our own policies had created, we spent $140 million between 1995 and 2001 to buy out fishermen by retiring fishing vessels, gear, permits.
Read more on: The Hill

Sam Funk, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation
Record-Breaking Flood Could Cost $2 Billion to Iowa
By: WHO-TV - April 8, 2019
Dr. Sam Funk with Iowa Farm Bureau says their analysis looked beyond the cost of lost crops, "But also looking at other activities such as lost labor income, looking at lost sales that might take place for what those farm families would normally buy in a year."
Funk says the damage is bigger than other flooding events and will likely last longer. Even more flooding anticipated from the Mississippi River has not hit yet.
Read more on: WHO-TV, NAFB, and NPR
I-80 Planting Tour Central Iowa: Corn Acres Climb
By: AgWeb - April 17, 2019
Economists say he’s not alone with his thought. “There’s a big difference on what’s going to happen with global trade,” said Sam Funk, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation Economist. “If we are going to have those markets jeopardized out there in the United States, that is going to back up a lot of marketplace here into Iowa. When you think of some of the basis levels, it’s not just talking about the price of the board of trade, it’s also about talking about the [the basis] level.”
Read more on: AgWeb

Bradley Rickard, Cornell University
Yes, more of your fruits and veggies are from overseas
By: Times Union - April 13, 2019
"What (an increase in imports) does is it brings food products into a country so consumers have access to more things, and the same things at lower prices," said Brad Rickard, an associate professor at Cornell University and an expert in food and agricultural economics. "As a society, we should embrace more imports of fruits and vegetables."
"It's possible that, in the process, some producers are made worse off if they're trying to compete," he said, but "the gains that accrue to these consumers are far greater than the losses."
Read more on: Times Union

Wendong Zhang, Iowa State University
Siouxlanders discuss land value trends, Chinese impact on agriculture during session
By: KTIV - April 15, 2019
Dr. Wendong Zhang, an economist at Iowa State University, spoke about the ongoing trade negotiations between the two countries and the impact the trade war has had on Iowa’s ag future.
He says this topic is important because China is one of the major trading partners with the United States for agriculture.
“We’re at a critical juncture. We essentially have witnessed the largest trade war in human history and voted on in the last year,” said Zhang.
Read more on: KTIV

Jane Kolodinsky, University of Vermont
Jayson Lusk, Purdue University
Will GMO/BE Labeling Hurt Food and Beverage Sales?
By: Food Processing Magazine - April 8, 2019
Jane Kolodinsky, a professor and chair of the department of Community Development and Applied Economics at the University of Vermont, wanted to see if consumer perceptions had changed since Vermont’s label mandate. She analyzed the responses of consumers who were asked to rank their attitudes about the use of GMOs in food on a scale of 1 (“strongly support”) to 5 (“strongly oppose”) between 2014 and 2017. She then compared those results to a national consumer survey, led by Purdue University economist Jayson Lusk, that asked similar questions. All told, 7,800 people were surveyed.
In Vermont, Kolodinsky found opposition to GMO food fell significantly after the labeling law went into effect – by 19 percent. In the rest of the country, where the federal labeling law was not yet in effect, opposition continued to rise.
Read more on: Food Processing Magazine

Daniel Sumner, University of California, Davis
Ag Census: Don't panic over numbers, expert says
By: Farm Progress - April 12, 2019
Daniel Sumner, director of the University of California’s Agricultural Issues Center in Davis, says some of the data points in the just-released 2017 census “deserve interpretation,” such as an apparent increase in female producers from 969,672 to more than 1.2 million nationwide.
“One of the really interesting changes is who reports as a farmer,” Sumner tells Western Farm Press. While for many years respondents would simply list the principal operator, the latest census gave farms a chance to list as many as four operators, up from three in 2012.
Read more on: Farm Progress and Farm Progress

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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.