Monday, April 15, 2019

Members in the News: Kuethe, MacDonald, Sumner, Doherty, Griffin, Litkowski, Langemeier, and Smith

Todd Kuethe, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
James MacDonald, USDA-Economic Research Service
Daniel Sumner, University of California, Davis
Big, Small or Bust: The Hollowing Out of Mid-Sized U.S. Farms
By: Bloomberg - April 11, 2019
“We’ve had sort of a hallowing out of the middle,” said Todd Kuethe, an agricultural economist at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, in a telephone interview. “Either you’re one of these large farms or you’re one of these rural, residential farms.”
Jim MacDonald, an economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, attributes the increase in smaller farms mostly to better data collection by the government and also to people that may have, for example, retired to a rural area, purchased farm land and some cattle or crops.
Dan Sumner, an agricultural professor at the University of California in Davis, says that consumers have benefited from farm consolidation with low prices for food and options like being able to choose between organic and non-organic, for example. Most farms, even as they’ve grown, are still family-owned, he said.
Read more on: Bloomberg

Mike Doherty, Illinois Farm Bureau
Panel: Trade tariffs affecting McLean County a year later
By: The Daily Pantagraph - April 5, 2019
Agriculture was among the hardest hit sectors, said Mike Doherty, a senior economist and policy analyst for the Illinois Farm Bureau, during the EDC's quarterly meeting at the Bone Student Center at Illinois State University in Normal.
“That is true, especially for soybean farmers,” he said. “The tariffs were announced in March of 2018 and McLean County, then had record-high soybean yields — the highest in the state — and record corn yields."
Read more on: The Daily Pantagraph

Terry Griffin, Kansas State University
Data farming brings actionable intelligence to the field and new management challenges
By: Progressive Farmer - April 2019
"This technology only works for those who can make use of it - those who can deal with a huge amount of information and analyze it to make better farm-management decisions," says Terry Griffin ag economist at Kansas State University. "Our studies indicate that only about 15% of farmers are capturing that value." Griffin bases his estimate on on annual reports from 660 farmers who participate in the Kansas Farm Management Association.
Read more on: Progressive Farmer

Carrie Litkowski, Economic Research Service, USDA
Michael Langemeier, Purdue University
US farmer debt soars as crop output climbs further
By: Argus Media - April 10, 2019
"I think the working capital issue is directly tied to bankruptcies," USDA senior economist Carrie Litkowski said. "If [working capital] continues to go down it might lead to more bankruptcies."
Michael Langemeier, professor of agricultural economics at Purdue University, cites stronger demand amid rapid expansion in the domestic ethanol industry as a factor driving elevated acreage, which has fostered a "new normal" for farmers. But corn demand for ethanol production has plateaued in recent years and inventories have grown in tandem. Corn stocks in March were estimated at 8.6bn bushels, or 218,576 tonnes, according to the USDA. Corn stocks have risen by 62pc from a year ago, and are more than double their 2010 levels, which lowers market prices.
Read more on: Argus Media

Aaron Smith, University of California, Davis
The US Biofuel Mandate Does More Harm Than Good
By: Real Clear Energy - April 9, 2019
New research from the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) by researchers at three universities is the most recent in a long list of evidence showing that the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) are harming the environment. Because the RFS created a huge incentive to grow more corn, farmers began overusing fertilizers and moving into environmentally-sensitive areas. As Dr. Aaron Smith from the University of California, Davis, summarizes, “The ensuing expansion and intensification of crop agriculture has transformed the landscape, leading to a cascade of negative impacts on wildlife habitat, water resources, and the climate.”
Read more on: Real Clear Energy

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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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