Monday, July 1, 2019

Members in the News: Thilmany, Ortega, Lusk, Dinterman, Unnevehr, Zilberman, Bolotova, Swinton, Luckstead, Tsiboe, Crane-Droesch, Zhang, Malone, Schulz, Brown, and Anderson

Dawn Thilmany, Colorado State University
ERS union predicts mass exodus ahead of relocation
By: Politico - June 25, 2019
“The loss in expertise is extremely concerning for those who create policy, rely on sound market and industry research and who collaborate with USDA ERS to address field-based questions that arise,” said Dawn Thilmany, an associate department head at Colorado State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences, when POLITICO asked her to review the survey results.
But an analysis conducted by researchers at the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association disputed the department’s estimate, suggesting relocation could cost as much as $128 million over time. That group’s analysis said USDA didn’t take into account the value of future research that would be lost after veteran economists leaving the agencies, and also argued the department overstated the costs of keeping the agencies in Washington.
Read more on: Politico

David Ortega, Michigan State University
Michigan Farm Leaders Skewer Donald Trump’s Trade War
By: Huffington Post - May 14, 2019
Even once a trade deal is reached with China, rebuilding ties will be difficult. A study by Michigan State University’s College of Agriculture revealed that 68 percent of China consumers find America’s trade policy toward China to be unfair, research author David Ortega noted.
Read more on: Huffington Post

Jayson Lusk, Purdue University
Economist identifies consumer trends and the future of food
By: Beef Magazine - June 23, 2019
To kick things off, here is a recap from the opening session at SPAC, where Jayson Lusk, Purdue University distinguished professor and head of the Agricultural Economics department, talked about the future of food and agriculture, as well as the trends, opportunities and challenges ahead for producers.
“The dollars we spend on research and innovation are really important to the success story of U.S. agriculture,” said Lusk. “What makes us successful? It’s not because we have the cheapest labor or land; it’s because we have the best access to the latest technologies.”
Read more on: Beef Magazine

Robert Dinterman, The Ohio State University
Trends Show Chapter 12 Bankruptcies Not Rising At An Alarming Rate
By: Agweb - April 17, 2019
Economists from the Ohio State University looked at the trends in Chapter 12 filings each year, evaluating whether the recent downturn in commodity prices is impacting the number of bankruptcies agriculture is seeing.
“What our study kind of looked at is how have the trends in filing rates for chapter 12 trended over time. And since 2005, we're kind of at a range that on average we probably see around 450 to 500 bankruptcies filed for farmers each year,” said Robert Dinterman, co-author of the report released in “The Feed.”
Read more on: Agweb

Dawn Thilmany, Colorado State University
Laurian Unnevehr, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Colorado's food system relies on a strong USDA research base
Written by Dawn Thilmany and Laurian Unnevehr: The Daily Sentenial - June 23, 2019
Farmer's market season is here, baby animals are grazing alongside their mothers, and field crops are mostly planted and starting to yield their bounty, signaling another season to enjoy the unique variety of foods produced here in Colorado: Everything from Palisade peaches to San Luis Valley potatoes to beef pastured and finished on the Eastern Plains.
Colorado farmers and ranchers work hard under adverse conditions to provide us with delicious food. But in addition to their efforts, much of what we take for granted in our food system relies on the agricultural research and outreach from public organizations like the U.S. Department of Agriculture and our own land grant university, Colorado State University.
Read more on: The Daily Sentenial

David Zilberman, University of California, Berkeley
Group Says USDA Relocation to Cost Taxpayers
By: KTIC Radio - June 21, 2019
An organization representing agricultural economists says a relocation effort by the Department of Agriculture will cost taxpayers. The Agricultural and Applied Economics Association claims the plan by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue would cost taxpayers $83 to $182 million dollars, instead of saving them $300 million as USDA claims.
Additionally, the organization says a rushed, unplanned move will “undermine the quality of USDA agricultural economic information at a critical time for the nation’s agricultural and rural economy.”  Given the economy, AAEA president David Zilberman says, “This is the worst possible time” for such a much by USDA.
Read more on: KTIC Radio

Yuliya Bolotova, Clemson University
How Common Is Price-Fixing in the Food Industry?
By: Pacific Standard Magazine - June 27, 2019
"Unfortunately, price-fixing has become too common in the modern food industry," Yuliya Bolotova, an assistant professor of agribusiness at Clemson University, writes in an email.
According to Bolotova, who has studied price-fixing in the food industry, the recent cases began because the chicken and pork industries were over-producing: The meat-processing companies weren't able to sell product at a cost that was profitable to them, so they "implemented a series of production cuts," writes Bolotova in a 2019 working paper presented to the Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
Read more on: Pacific Standard Magazine

Scott Swinton, Michigan State University
MSU agricultural economics professor receives prestigious faculty honor
By: - June 27, 2019
The Michigan State University Board of Trustees honored an agricultural economics professor with the University Distinguished Professor.
Professor Scott Swinton from the department of agricultural, food and resource economics received the award which honors faculty members whose achievements have garnered national and international recognition, have superior teaching skills and an impressive record of public service and scholarly achievements.
“I like to work on research that makes a difference,” said Swinton. “That’s the fundamental idea in the land grant system, that we’re not just kind of doing research and education because it’s interesting, but we’re doing it because it helps improve people’s lives.”
Read more on:

Jeff Luckstead, University of Arkansas
Francis Tsiboe, Kansas State University
Economic incentives may curb child labor in cocoa industry, Arkansas researchers think
By: Magnolia Reporter - June 24, 2019
An article assessing child labor in the cocoa industry, recently published by University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture economists Jeff Luckstead and Lanier Nalley and Francis Tsiboe of Kansas State University, has sparked an international conversation.
The article, titled "Estimating the economic incentives necessary for eliminating child labor in Ghanaian cocoa production" and published in PLoS ONE, theorizes that a modest price increase of less than 3 percent could eliminate Ghana's use of child labor for hazardous work without weakening farmers’ earnings.
Read more on: Magnolia Reporter

Andrew Crane-Droesch, USDA – Economic Research Service
David Zilberman, University of California, Berkeley
‘Mixture of outrage and resignation.’ Why USDA employees aren’t thrilled with KC move
By: The Kansas City Star - June 24, 2019
For USDA researcher Andrew Crane-Droesch, a cross-country move from the nation’s capital to Kansas City is out of the question. He’s among more than 550 federal workers whose jobs will be shipped from Washington, D.C., to the Kansas City area after the region won out in a competition between cities in 35 states.
 “To be frank, America’s agricultural economy today faces serious challenges,” AAEA president David Zilberman said in a news release. “This is the worst possible time to dismantle the USDA’s capability to analyze agricultural markets, crop insurance, and trade policy.”
Read more on: The Kansas City Star

Wendong Zhang, Iowa State University
Sharing Information Can Bridge the Divide with Landowners
By: 4U Plus - June 2019
Ownership of Iowa farmland is increasingly shifting to landowners with little to no understanding of the conservation practices that improve soil resiliency, said Wendong Zhang, Ph.D., an assistant professor of economics at Iowa State University. He encourages tenants to communicate with landowners and share what‘s happening on the land to bridge the divide.
Farming is complex and conservation practices add another layer to the challenges of communicating what tenants are doing or want to do to improve the land, Zhang explains. “When you ask landowners if they want to sustain the land and improve long-term soil health and water quality, they are in agreement,” he said. “But they may not understand what that means for the tenant in terms of investment in different machinery for tillage, for example.”
Read more on: 4U PlusChina Daily Hong Kong, and The Oskaloosa Herald

Trey Malone, Michigan State University
Stress builds as Michigan farmers are ‘hit from all directions’
By: Bridge - June 25, 2019
Food and agriculture in Michigan is a huge industry, contributing over $101 billion to the state’s economy and employing over 900,000 workers. There are just under 48,000 farms covering roughly 9.8 million acres and producing about 300 products, making Michigan second only to California in diversity of products, said Trey Malone, an agriculture economist at Michigan State University.
Although many Michigan farmers have been hurt, dairy farmers have been among the worst hit by weather and trade issues, said Trey Malone, an agriculture economist for Michigan State University.
Read more on: Bridge

Lee Schulz, Iowa State University
Scott Brown, University of Missouri
Markets Jump on Skyrocketing Hog Inventory
By: Farm Journal’s Pork - June 27, 2019
Looking at the weight breakdown of market hog inventory, of particular note was the 7½% increase in the number of pigs in the 180-lb. and over category compared to year ago levels, said Lee Schulz, associate professor of agricultural economics, Iowa State University. The number was three percentage points higher than pre-report expectations.
“When you look at Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, all with growth in excess of 4/10ths of a pig relative to the year ago, it certainly suggests to me that some of the disease issues that we've seen in the industry are becoming better controlled, PRRS being one that sticks out,” said Scott Brown, University of Missouri economist.
Read more on: Farm Journal’s Pork

David Anderson, Texas A&M University
Texas A&M experts: Brisket prices rising along with demand
By: The Eagle - June 27, 2019
David Anderson, an agricultural economics professor and AgriLife Extension economist at Texas A&M, said Wednesday that he and others anticipate a record amount of total meat production in the U.S. in 2019. He said briskets, bacon, chicken wings and hamburgers have shown particular strength in recent years.
“For the particular cuts of briskets, demand is really skyrocketing because of, I think, the growth of barbecue restaurants,” Anderson said. “What we are seeing is an increase in prices because of that demand, even though the supply is growing.”
Read more on: The Eagle

See other Member in the News items
Know another AAEA Member who has made statewide, national, or international news?
Send a link of the article to Sinais Alvarado at
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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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