Monday, June 18, 2018

Members in the News: Boehm, Batabyal, Brown, Cash, Zhang, and Hayes

Rebecca Boehm, University of Connecticut
The U.S. diet is a climate disaster. Here are four easy fixes.
By: The Washington Post - June 11, 2018
Food requires huge amounts of energy to grow. It must be transported from farms in rail cars or semitrailer trucks. Then it is processed, packaged, stored, shelved, cooked and delivered — a complex industrial supply chain that generates an estimated 16 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, according to a study in the journal Food Policy.

But consumers can make small changes to bring that number down, said Rebecca Boehm, a postdoctoral fellow at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut and lead author of the study. It’s a simple matter of watching your budget, your “food miles” and — most important — your consumption of meat and dairy.

“If people reduced their spending on protein foods by 18 percent, they’d see almost a tenfold reduction in household greenhouse gas emissions,” Boehm said. “That is pretty significant.”

Read more on: The Washington Post

Amitrajeet A. Batabyal, Rochester Institute of Technology
Rules-based trade made the world rich. Trump’s policies may make it poorer
Written by Amitrajeet A. Batabyal: The Conversation - June 10, 2018
Nations sell goods and services to each other because this exchange is generally mutually beneficial.

It’s easy to understand that Iceland should not be growing its own oranges, given its climate. Instead, Iceland should buy oranges from Spain, which can grow them more cheaply, and sell Spaniards fish, which are abundant in its waters.

That’s why the explosion in free trade since the first bilateral deal was penned between Britain and France in the mid-1800s has generated unprecedented wealth and prosperity for the vast majority of the world’s population. Hundreds of trade agreements later, the U.S. and several other countries established an international rules-based trading system after World War II.

Read more on: The Conversation

Zachary Brown, North Carolina State University
Pesticides: What happens if we run out of options?
By: ScienceDaily - May 27, 2018
"We're working down the list of available tools to fight weeds and insect pests," said Zachary Brown, assistant professor of agricultural and resource economics at NC State and a co-author of the paper. "It hasn't been economically feasible to develop new herbicides to replace glyphosate, for example, so what's old is becoming new again. But the current incentives don't seem to be right for getting us off this treadmill."

Besides ecology and economics, the authors stress that sociological and political perspectives also set up roadblocks to solving the problems of pest resistance. Cultural practices by farmers -- whether they till their land or not, how they use so-called refuges in combination with genetically modified crop areas and even how often they rotate their crops -- all play a big role in pest resistance.

Read more on: ScienceDaily

Sean Cash, Tufts University
Rebecca Boehm, University of Connecticut
Consumer food choices can help reduce greenhouse emissions contributing to climate change
By: ScienceDaily - June 8, 2018
"We found that households that spend more of their weekly food budget on beef, chicken, pork and other meats are generating more greenhouse gas emissions. Our study shows that encouraging consumers to make food choices that are lower in greenhouse gas emissions can make a real difference addressing climate change," said Rebecca Boehm, the study's lead author and a University of Connecticut Postdoctoral Fellow with the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity and the Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy, who initiated this work at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.

"It's striking that many of the opportunities for environmentally-friendly dietary changes are with the households that have the most resources," said Sean B. Cash, Ph.D., senior author. Cash is the Bergstrom Foundation Professor in Global Nutrition at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts. "Changes in food consumption in these households could reduce greenhouse gases by a disproportionate amount."
Read more on: ScienceDaily

Sean Cash, Tufts University
A battle is happening over whether natural maple syrup has added sugar
By: Boston Globe - June 14, 2018
Sean Cash, a nutrition economist at Tufts University, said the general idea behind the FDA proposal is to give consumers a way of seeing “unnecessary” sugars in their foods.

“From a dietary viewpoint, these are sugars that are more easily avoided and less functional,” Cash said. “We’re not getting other vitamins, macro-nutrients, micro-nutrients along for the ride, which is not the case with fruit, for example.”

Read more on: Boston Globe

Wendong Zhang, Iowa State University
Iowa farmland owners’ ages creep higher
By: Wallaces Farmer - June 11, 2018
Preliminary results regarding the 2017 Iowa Farmland Ownership and Tenure Survey were recently released. The study is required by Iowa law and is conducted every five years since the 1980s. The goal of the survey is to provide information regarding land ownership, tenure and transitions across Iowa. This is the first and only consistent data collection of land ownership and tenure in the nation.

Wendong Zhang, ISU assistant professor of economics and Extension economist, led the research effort with an update that includes these preliminary findings:

 82% of farmland free of debt, 16% with mortgages and 2% under contract
 60% of farmland owned by people 65 years and older
 35% of farmland owned by someone 74 and older

Read more on: Wallaces Farmer and Iowa Farm Bureau

Dermot Hayes, Iowa State University
Will tariffs force expanding Iowa, U.S. pork industry to reverse gears and downsize?
By: Des Moines Register - June 8, 2018
Dermot Hayes, an Iowa State University economist, said the industry likely would need to downsize if tariffs remained in place for months.

"What happens if we lose demand from our top three markets? We'd need to downsize," Hayes said.

Along with China and Mexico, Japan is likely to cut imports from the U.S. as a new trade deal with the European Union goes into place next year.

Older U.S. plants would likely be most vulnerable, Hayes said.

Read more on: Des Moines Register

See other Member in the News items

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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.

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