Monday, March 18, 2019

Members in the News: Coble, Shoemaker, Karali, Isengildina-Massa, Tack, Johansson, Mintert, Langemeier, Chepeliev, Tyner, Gundersen, Hendricks, Zhang, and Smith

Keith Coble, Mississippi State University
Robbin Shoemaker, National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Gro Intelligence looks to reap rewards from crop data
By: Financial Times - March 14, 2019
For Keith Coble, professor of agricultural economics at Mississippi State University, the question of how big data affects small stakeholders is one he struggles with. “In some instances the economies of scale here are such that you’re not going to be able to use this technology unless you have a high-tech office,” he says. He adds, however, that big data could help create better insurance products for small farms in a development context. “In some sense you will see the larger producer being the one to benefit the most, but I don’t think every aspect of this will benefit the large farmers only,” says Coble.
Other key questions are how private data are curated, their reliability and their statistical veracity, says Robbin Shoemaker, national program leader for the Division of Agricultural Systems at the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. “Data from private sources can be packaged and sold without any understanding of the quality of it. There could be big issues there when it comes to determining actuarially sound premiums for insurance,” he says.
Read more on: Financial Times

Berna Karali, University of Georgia
Olga Isengildina-Massa, Virginia Tech University
Jesse Tack, Kansas State University
Robert Johansson, USDA-Office of the Chief Economist
New crop data providers cash in on US shutdown
By: Financial Times - March 7, 2019
The paper, whose lead author is Berna Karali of the University of Georgia, finds that USDA reports have not lost their ability to surprise markets. In fact, the surprises seem to be increasing from data on corn stocks and winter wheat production. “Competition from alternative data sources has not reduced the news component of USDA crop reports,” the study found.
Another new paper led by Olga Isengildina-Massa of Virginia Tech University ran statistical tests and concluded that public information was becoming more valuable, not less, in crop markets.
“The current (government) approach is costly but reliable, while the new approach is cheap but potentially unreliable,” Jesse Tack, the lead author, said in an interview printed on the Kansas State University website.
Two of the three papers had USDA chief economist Robert Johansson as a co-author. Mr Johansson acknowledges that alternative data providers “may nail it better than we do” for any given crop, season or region.
Read more on: Financial Times

James Mintert, Purdue University
Michael Langemeier, Purdue University
TippecaNews: Farmers' sentiments for 2019 weaken around market uncertainty, Ag Economy Barometer says
By: Journal & Courier - March 8, 2019
James Mintert, the Ag Economy Barometer’s principal investigator and director of Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture, said January saw a significant boost in optimism among agricultural producers after the announcement of the second round of Market Facilitation Program payments, but it appears the positive impact eroded quickly.
Michael Langemeier, associate director of the Center for Commercial Agriculture and professor in the department of agricultural economics, said the decisions to halt the purchases of machinery or additional agricultural structures creates a strain on agribusiness.
Read more on: Journal & Courier

Maksym Chepeliev, Purdue University
Wallace E. Tyner, Purdue University
Farmers need USMCA to preserve and build upon a successful trading relationship
By: The Hill - March 15, 2019
The president has threatened to withdraw from NAFTA if Congress does not approve USMCA. We take this threat seriously and recognize that without USMCA, American agriculture and rural communities would be devastated. A Purdue University and Farm Foundation study found that this action would amount to a $9.4 billion loss in agricultural exports annually.
Read more on: The Hill

Craig Gundersen, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Food stamp changes would mainly hurt those living in extreme poverty, study finds
By: KVOA Tucson News - March 14, 2019
Craig Gundersen, an agricultural and consumer economics professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who has studied the program for more than two decades, maintains that using SNAP to compel people to work is fundamentally opposed to the mission of the program, which is to help feed the 12 percent of American households that the USDA says face food insecurity.
Gundersen said that it’s incorrect to think that these SNAP recipients are taking advantage of the system.
“It’s not like you have people who are college educated who previously had good jobs and are deciding to go on these programs,” Gundersen said. “These individuals are facing a lot of other issues, and a lot of these people could be considered disabled.”
Read more on: KVOA Tucson News

Nathan Hendricks, Kansas State University
Report: Feds’ Biofuel Policy produced unintended environmental consequences
By: The Orange Leader - March 10, 2019
Producing a single gallon of ethanol can require up to two thousand gallons of water. Nathan Hendricks, associate professor of agricultural economics with Kansas State University, says federal policies promoting biofuel production led to higher prices for corn, soybeans and other crops.
“Changes in market prices change the incentive for farmers,” says Hendricks. “There’s going to be more planting of corn on existing cropland, and there’s going to be an incentive to bring non-crop land into crop production.”
Read more on: The Orange Leader

Wendong Zhang, Iowa State University
Land Trends and Values Survey shows decrease in cropland prices in Iowa
By: Ames Tribune - March 14, 2019
One of the positive aspects, though, is that a lower amount of land is available, which can drive up the price of the few plots that are available, said Wendong Zhang, an Iowa State University economics professor.
“They pay higher because there are only a few parcels for them to choose from,” Zhang said.
He said that a few years ago, people who were looking to buy land “could find five or six plots to potentially buy, but now it’s about two to three,” which makes people have to “bid up for the available parcels.”
Read more on: Ames Tribune

Nathan Hendricks, Kansas State University
Aaron Smith, University of California, Davis
New research finds LCFS bad for environment
By: The Lens - March 12, 2019
“These changes have implications for greenhouse gas emissions, habitat, and water resources,” study coauthor Nathan Hendricks said in a statement. He is an associate professor of agricultural economics at Kansas State University.
“There is no dispute that U.S. biofuels policy is driving environmental harm,” study coauthor Aaron Smith said in statement. Smith is a professor of agricultural and resource economics at the University of California, Davis.
Read more on: The Lens

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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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