Monday, August 27, 2018

Members in the News: Goodrich, Swinton, Dorfman, Adesina, Fan, Martin, Howry, Trechter, Jette Nantel, Moeltner, Sumner, Rickard, Boyle, and Vercammen

Brittney Goodrich, Auburn University
A bee economist explains honey bees’ vital role in growing tasty almonds
Written by Brittney Goodrich: The Conversation - August 17, 2018
It’s sometimes reported that one in every three bites of food depends on bees. As is often the case when an easy to grasp notion spreads, there’s a dose of truth and a dollop of exaggeration.
The stat is based on a 2007 study that found that 35 percent of the world’s food crops depend on animal pollinators of one kind or another to enable pollination and seed production.
Read more on: The Conversation

Scott Swinton, Michigan State University
Jeffrey H. Dorfman, University of Georgia
Reorganization of USDA Research Offices Concerns Scientists
By: The Scientist - August 16, 2018
Critics of the plan say it could stifle research and lead to major staff losses. “What really troubles me is that the administration proposed cutting the ERS budget by 48 percent and laying off half its staff six months ago,” Scott Swinton, an agricultural economist at Michigan State University and the former president of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, tells The Washington Post. “My fear is that now this plan will lead to a high number of resignations—and the administration will say, ‘Well, we don’t need as much money now,’ rather than build that capacity again.”
University of Georgia agricultural economist Jeffrey Dorfman writes in Forbes that the relocation plan could save taxpayer dollars by lowering the cost of living for ERS and NIFA employees. It would also distribute taxpayer dollars around the country, rather than centralize it in the capital. However, the reorganization could lead to “less access to funding and loss of political influence” for the two research offices. “Given the well-established high returns on investment in agricultural research, less funding would be a large societal cost,” he writes.
Read more on: The Scientist

Jeffrey H. Dorfman, University of Georgia
Simple Math Reveals CEO Pay Is Not Hurting Workers
Written by Jeffrey Dorfman: Forbes - August 20, 2018
The Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think tank, is out with its annual report on CEO pay. In order to make the problem seem as large as possible, the authors focus on 350 of the largest companies in the U.S., finding those megacompanies pay their CEOs an average of $18.9 million in 2017, or 312 times as much as the average workers at those companies. The idea is that such a huge disparity will spur you to action to fight this injustice to workers. But a little simple math reveals that the issue of CEO pay is a trivial one, not worth the time of policy makers interested in worker welfare.
Read more on: Forbes
The Hidden Cost Of Tariffs Is Slower Growth
Written by Jeffrey Dorfman: Forbes - August 19, 2018
Tariffs help uncompetitive industries. By putting a penalty on imports in the form of a tax, domestic producers that would otherwise lose market share to imports are able to produce more and find domestic markets for those goods. This maintains jobs in the protected industry and by keeping factories open, also means more capital stays in the industry benefiting from the tariffs. These outcomes are pretty much the point of the tariffs, but they impose both obvious and hidden costs on the economy.
Read more on: Forbes
Taxpayers Cannot Afford More Subsidies For The Middle-Class
Written by Jeffrey Dorfman: Forbes - August 5, 2018
The progressive it-candidate of the moment, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, wants Medicare for all, tuition- and debt-free college and vocational-technical schools, and a host of other government-paid benefits. Fiscal conservatives complain that the deficit is already too large and there is no way to pay for all these freebies. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, who will likely be a member of Congress after the November election, has a response to those concerns. As she expressed on Twitter, she wonders why people only worry about affordability when the middle-class stands to benefit. The answer is easy: those are the benefits we can least afford.
Read more on: Forbes

Akinwumi Adesina, African Development Bank
African universities urged to focus on farming technology
By: Business Day - August 13, 2018
According to the bank’s president, Akinwumi Adesina, the rapid pace of growth in the use of drones, automated tractors, artificial intelligence, robotics and blockchain technology, will transform agriculture.
He said technology transfer was needed immediately and evidence from countries such as Nigeria had demonstrated that technology coupled with strong government backing was already yielding positive results.
Read more on: Business Day

Shenggen Fan, International Food Policy Research Institute
Trade conflict is a lose-lose game
Written by Shenggen Fan: China Daily - August 14, 2018
After many years of rapid growth, serious trade tensions have emerged between the United States and China. Since open trade is key to avoiding significant economic and environmental costs and help ensuring food security and nutrition, the ongoing trade conflicts have the potential for disastrous outcomes, as China and the US are key players in global agricultural trade.
Read more on: China Daily, Naver, and China’s Xinhua Outlook Weekly

Will Martin, International Food Policy Research Institute
Agriculture key to poverty reduction
By: India’s Financial Express - August 11, 2018
The view that a productive agriculture is critical for employment creation and poverty reduction is now widely shared within the development community. Yet, this has not always been the case. In the run-up to the 2008 world food price crisis, many development practitioners, government officials, and economists doubted whether agriculture could still play this role, especially in Africa. Agro-pessimism had set in during the 1990s and 2000s, with a decline in policy attention and agricultural investment. The food price spikes of 2008 brought a realisation that more needed to be done to strengthen agriculture in developing countries.
Read more on: India’s Financial Express

Sierra Howry, University of Wisconsin, River Falls
David Trechter, University of Wisconsin, River Falls
UWRF Ag Prof Honored with National Teaching Award
By: Wisconsin Ag Connection - August 23, 2018
An associate professor of agricultural economics at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls has received the 2018 Agricultural and Applied Economics Association Distinguished Teaching: Less than Ten Years' Experience Award. Sierra Howry is the first recipient of this award in the program's 22-year history to come from a small, regional, undergraduate teaching university. The honor was presented during the AAEA's annual meeting in Washington, D.C. earlier this month.

In their letter of nomination, her department colleagues Brenda Boetel and David Trechter noted how Howry consistently ranks at or near the top on her student evaluations but went on to say that her teaching is not confined to the classroom.

Read more on: Wisconsin Ag Connection

Simon Jette Nantel, University of Wisconsin, River Falls
Wisconsin Dairy Navigates Gaps In Immigrant Labor Policy
By: WisContext - August 23, 2018
"I believe it has a positive impact on the local economies, because without those foreign workers, pretty much all the farmers wouldn't be able to operate at the scale that they operate on," Jette Nantel said. "And they wouldn't be able to offer produce that is competitive at such a cost. In the end, they allow for those farms to produce at a higher scale."
Read more on: WisContext

*Klaus Moeltner, Virginia Tech
Students need more time in school breakfast routines to consume food properly
By: Deccan Chronicle - August 18, 2018
Klaus Moeltner, a professor of agricultural and applied economics in the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences said, "The percentage of students that go without breakfast because they didn't eat at home and they didn't have time to eat at school dropped from four per cent to zero per cent when given 10 minutes more to eat, so the most vulnerable segment is taken care of."
Read more on: Deccan Chronicle, Live 5 News, Science Blog, ScienMag, and Science Daily

Daniel Sumner, University of California, Davis
Brad Rickard, Cornell University
Opinion: UC Davis study on impact of tariffs on U.S. producers
By: Fresh Fruit Portal - August 21, 2018
Daniel A Sumner is the Frank H. Buck, Jr. Distinguished Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of California, Davis, and with a graduate student, Tristan M. Hanon, theyrecently published a paper titled,Economic Impacts of Increased Tariffs that have Reduced Import Access for U.S. Fruit and Tree Nuts Exports to Important Markets. The focus of the paper is an attempt to analyze the costs to US producers of fruit and nuts of tariffs that various countries, most notably China, have imposed in reaction to tariffs imposed by President Trump. The gist of their findings is expressed here:
In addition to his scholarly and governmental achievements, which are hard to overstate, Professor Sumner happens to also be a really nice guy. We’ve noted over the years that he includes many graduate students as co-authors on his papers and is generous with his time with industry institutions. He also is a mentor to a whole generation of agricultural economists. Pundit readers will note that one of his advisees, Brad Rickard, now the Ruth and William Morgan associate professor at Cornell, has been profiled in these pages many times, including herehereherehere, here, and here.
Read more on: Fresh Fruit Portal

Kevin Boyle, Virginia Tech
Environmental economist recognized for decades of research
By: Augusta Free Press - August 8, 2018
Virginia Tech Professor Kevin Boyle experienced that phenomenon recently at the World Congress of Environmental and Resource Economists in Gothenburg, Sweden, where he was named a Fellow of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.
“It was an emotional experience,” said Boyle, a professor in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics in the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “A person I had mentored presented the award and made some comments about our working relationship that were very moving. And the ceremony was in front of the best people in the profession from all around the globe – many who were also deserving and could have been chosen.”
Read more on: Augusta Free Press

James Vercammen, University of British Columbia
The business of heat: Weather raises cost pressures on B.C. farmers
By: Richmond News - August 21, 2018
“The biggest impact we would see as consumers are those of us who go to farmer’s markets,” explained James Vercammen, a professor in the faculty of land food systems at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and the former editor of the American Journal of Agricultural Economics.
“They’re going to see a lot more variability and probably higher prices,” said Vercammen, noting that the same is likely true for meals at restaurants that rely on local ingredients.
Read more on: Richmond News

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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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