Monday, September 24, 2018

Members in the News: Offutt, Swinton, Bohman, Dorfman, Countryman, Sheldon, McKendree, Tyner, Barnaby, Zhang, and Beghin

Susan Offutt, FAO
Scott Swinton, Michigan State University
USDA Research Relocation and Reorganization: Perspectives from Former USDA Chief Scientists and Administrators
By: Association of Public Data Users - September 20, 2018
USDA Research Relocation and Reorganization: Perspectives from Former USDA Chief Scientists and Administrators
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in August caught Congress and USDA stakeholders by surprise with a proposal to relocate the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) outside of the Washington, DC area and to move ERS from the USDA research arm to a policy arm.
The panelists will address the many questions and concerns raised about the USDA proposal; address viewer questions; and suggest actions for Congress, USDA, and viewers. [Panelists: Stephen Censky, Cathie Woteki, Gale Buchanan, Susan Offutt, and Scott Swinton]
View the full presentation on: Association of Public Data Users

Susan Offutt, FAO
Scott Swinton, Michigan State University
Mary Bohman, USDA-Economic Research Service
Roberts, Stabenow question econ reorganization, ERS, NIFA moves
By: High Plains/Midwest Ag Journal - September 16, 2018
A brain drain from ERS will hit small farmers the hardest, said Susan Offutt, ERS administrator under President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush. “The ERS informs and helps facilitate competitive markets for agricultural products. Its free and publicly available reports help level the playing field for the 1.9 million small farmers who don’t have the budget to afford the data and analytics provided by the private sector.”
“American consumers don’t realize how much ERS research benefits them,” said Scott Swinton, past president of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association. “The ERS is an indispensable source of objective, national data and analysis for farmers, for industry, for policymakers. If we want to grow our agriculture, improve nutrition, conserve water efficiently—ERS research is key.”
In a recent edition of The Hagstrom Report, it was said that at a goodbye reception for ERS Administrator Mary Bohman, who has been moved to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, a former USDA research official said, “Staff were just scared to death and they wanted to stay in D.C.”
Read more on: High Plains/Midwest Ag Journal

Jeffrey Dorfman, University of Georgia
E-Cigarette Math And The FDA's Regulatory Dilemma
Written by Jeffrey Dorfman: Forbes - September 18, 2018
The FDA has a regulatory dilemma on its hands with e-cigarettes. In one sense, the government might want to encourage e-cigarette use as a public health policy because if e-cigarettes replace regular cigarettes they would save lives and billions of dollars in healthcare costs. On the other hand, claims are multiplying that e-cigarettes appeal to teenagers and may serve as a gateway to real smoking, meaning that e-cigarettes worsen public health.
Read more on: Forbes
Surprising And Successful Business Models
Written by Jeffrey Dorfman: Forbes - September 9, 2018
Most of the time, a company’s business model is pretty straightforward: they make money selling you a product. It’s clear how Apple, Macy’s, and Walmart make money—they sell you products marked up from their wholesale cost. Banks lend money at higher interest rates than they pay for deposits. The dry cleaner charges you for dry cleaning at least a bit more than its cost. However, a surprising number of businesses that you think serve one purpose, actually make money off something else.
Read more on: Forbes

Scott Swinton, Michigan State University
Economist says pulling ERS out of D.C. needs more thought
By: Brownfield Ag News of America - September 10, 2018
Scott Swinton with Michigan State University tells Brownfield USDA split ERS employees between the nation’s Capitol and the states in the 90’s and it didn’t work, “The decision was taken back in 1994 or earlier to bring them all together to do a better job of focusing on national problems.”
Swinton says moving ERS will limit economists’ ability to interact with policy makers and regulators, and potentially create staffing shortages if employees are unwilling to move, “These are not decisions that should be made casually. They might be the right decision, but we need to have a careful benefit/cost analysis.”
Listen to the full interview on: Brownfield Ag News of America

Amanda Countryman, Colorado State University
Lumber trade dispute and tariffs boost U.S. wood products
By: Marketplace - September 20, 2018
The tariffs are great for the U.S. lumber industry, but Amanda Countryman, an agricultural economist at Colorado State University who specializes in international trade, said it’s had negative consequences for other sectors of the economy.
“The cost of protecting the lumber industry is paid for by Americans in the form of higher prices for lumber that make it more expensive to buy a home," she said. 
Read more on: Marketplace

Ian Sheldon, The Ohio State University
Political issues weigh on local farmers as Farm Science Review kicks off
By: abc6 - September 18, 2018
“Farmers have been caught in the crossfire of a trade war," Ian Sheldon, trade policy specialist said. "Farmers often get hurt more than other sectors because they become a political kickball."
“Over a five-year period, on average, they might lose up to 59% percent of their income with this drop-in price," Sheldon said.
Read more on: abc6

Melissa McKendree, Michigan State University
Does beef demand impact you?
By: Beef Magazine - September 19, 2018
Melissa McKendree, now at Michigan State, did her Ph.D at Kansas State and looked at exactly this question. She updated estimates on how 1% changes in retail domestic demand and 1% changes in export demand impact fed and feeder cattle prices.
Estimates are that a 1% increase in domestic demand equals a 2.3% increase in fed cattle prices and 3.5% increase in feeder cattle prices. She estimated a 2% increase in domestic demand, which resulted in realized prices of $118 for fed cattle and $157 for feeders compared with the past two years.
Read more on: Beef Magazine

Wallace Tyner, Purdue University
Broadband blitz to lift economy, study says
By: Indianapolis Business Journal - September 14, 2018
And one of the study’s authors, agricultural economics professor Wallace Tyner, said that estimate might be low.
“The problem with estimating benefits for a transformational technology like this is, you cannot imagine all of them,” Tyner said. “By definition, a transformational technology should transform things beyond what you can imagine.”
Read more on: Indianapolis Business Journal

Art Barnaby, Kansas State University
Cheap grains this year given producers the blues
By: Salina Journal - September 16, 2018
Another whammy came this week when projections for higher domestic production of certain grains put more down pressure on the markets.
“It looks like we’re gonna have a lot of bushels, and a big crop means low prices,” said Art Barnaby, an agricultural economics professor for Kansas State Research & Extension in Manhattan.
Read more on: Salina Journal

Wendong Zhang, Iowa State University
Report: Iowa's farmland values saw decline over past six months
By: cbs2 Iowa - September 12, 2018
“We won’t see a sudden collapse of the market because due to the tariffs with China," said Dr. Wendong Zhang, assistant professor of economics at Iowa State University. He is a farm management specialist that looks at land use and land value. Zhang releases a similar land value report every December.
“A replay of the 1980 farm crisis is unlikely," Zhang said.
That's because most Iowa farmers -- 82% -- own their land. This means that don't necessarily have to sell land under any circumstances, which keeps the land available limited and in turn, helps to keep the market steady. Zhang estimates any further decline of land value won't exceed 5%.
Read more on: cbs2 Iowa

John Beghin, North Carolina State University
Forget Canada's dairy producers, the U.S. 'sugar cartel' has secured an even sweeter deal
By: Ottawa Citizen - September 18, 2018
What’s more, American protections on sugar imports have been around at least as long as supply management. Though the roots of the current U.S. Sugar Program can be found in the 1930s, tariffs on American sugar date all the way back to the founding of the republic, said John Beghin, professor of agriculture and resource economics at North Carolina State University who has studied the program for years.
“There is a very, very long history of government intervention in this sector and it continues to this day,” Beghin said.
Read more on: Ottawa Citizen

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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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