Tuesday, May 3, 2022

GSS & C-FARE 2022 Policy Communications Competition

In today’s market, graduate students may seek careers where they are tasked with evaluating policy issues and effectively communicating their results to policymakers and other stakeholders. Therefore, the Graduate Student Section (GSS) and Council on Food, Agricultural & Resource Economics (C-FARE) partner for the 2nd Annual Policy Communications Competition. This competition provides graduate students with an opportunity to gain experience in both written and verbal policy communication.

Entries can be based on the graduate student's ongoing research. They should address a pressing, relevant policy issue relating to the 2022 Policy Communications Competition theme at the local, state, or federal levels.

2022 Competition Theme

The farm bill is a package of legislation updated by Congress every five years. As the 2018 Farm Bill expires in 2023, Congress has begun negotiating the next Bill. We identify four main topics from the USDA 2022 Budget Summary that tie into critical issues policymakers must consider when drafting the farm bill. These include:

  1. Farm Production and Conservation
  2. Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs
  3. Rural Development
  4. Food and Nutrition Security

Policy briefs for the 2022 Policy Communications Competition should relate to one or more of these four themes.

Objectives for Participants

Evaluate a relevant agricultural, food, or resource policy issue relating to the 2022 Policy Competition theme at the local, state, or federal level.

Provide written and verbal communication that addresses a policy-relevant research question clearly, and concisely. 

Participant Eligibility

Graduate students must be a member of the GSS with a graduation date of Fall 2022 or later. They should be conducting research in agricultural economics, resource economics, regional development, or a related field.

Competition Information

The competition will consist of two rounds. Participants must submit a typed policy brief in the first round, not to exceed two pages (double spaced, 12-point font, including references, figures, and graphics). This document should summarize the background and current status of the issue, key facts (i.e., benefits and costs of government programs or project alternatives), findings, and conclusions. The participant's job is not to convince the policymaker to take a particular position or vote a certain way but rather to evaluate, gather, and present the necessary information to make an informed decision on the issue.

The second round of the competition will consist of an oral presentation by select finalists. Within the presentation, which is not to exceed 10 minutes in length, the student should detail the specifics of the policy issue and identify additional key facts and findings surrounding the topic. An effective presentation will complement the written policy brief and should be easily accessible for policymakers.

Preliminary Timeline

Friday, June 3, 2022: Registration and policy brief due

Friday, June 17, 2022: Finalists announced

Sunday, July 31, 2022: Finalists present at the AAEA Annual Meeting in Anaheim, CA (or via Zoom)

Registration Information & Deadline

Applications should be addressed to Megan Hughes (hughe232@purdue.edu) and Aaron Staples (staple71@msu.edu) and must include:

      A cover page containing:

o    Participant's name and contact information

o    Mentor’s name and contact information

      The student's policy brief (2-page maximum).

Applications must be submitted electronically no later than midnight CT on June 3, 2022.

Finalists at AAEA

Selected finalists will make a 10-minute presentation at the AAEA Annual Meeting in Anaheim, CA, or virtually via Zoom, on Sunday, July 31, 2022. The judges will evaluate presentations using a grading rubric shared with selected finalists. The selection of the finalists will be based on the material submitted and the criteria listed below. Finalists will be notified by June 17, 2022.

Criteria for Selecting Finalists

1.    The participant clearly defines the problem and discusses the feasibility of the policy ideas. The participant provides background and supporting research on the topic, including areas of government failures or unintended consequences, and addresses the proper target audience.

2.    The participant integrates knowledge and research from various sources and provides a clear, concise summary of the issue.

3.    The participant uses formal but non-technical language that is easily accessible to policymakers, and their brief is free of grammatical mistakes.

4.    The policy brief uses appropriate formatting (proper headings, length no more than two pages, proper citation, ordered appearance, etc.).


The top three competitors will be recognized at the AAEA Awards Ceremony and will be invited to present their work at a future C-FARE webinar (more details to come). In addition, the winner of Policy Communication will receive a plaque and a cash prize. The second and third-place competitors will receive certificates and cash awards. Cash prizes are as follows:

First place:       $300

Second place:   $200

Third place:      $100

Additional Resources

      2022 USDA Budget Summary

      House Agriculture Committee Website

      House Agriculture Democrats Videos

      House Agriculture Republican Videos

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