Blank, Steven C.

By: Blank, Steven C.; Saitone, Tina L.; Sexton, Richard J.
This paper investigates spatial, quality, and temporal factors impacting prices of calves and yearlings in the western United States using satellite video auction data and a hedonic regression framework. Prices received by western ranchers are discounted by approximately the costs of shipping cattle to the Midwest for processing. Other key results include identifying the presence of temporal price premiums for seller-offered forward contracts, providing new estimates of the marginal value associated with key quality attributes and management practices and finding support for the price benefits of third-party quality certification. We also link variability in estimated valuations for value-added attributes to the stage of the cattle cycle.
By: Blank, Steven C.; Erickson, Kenneth W.; Moss, Charles B.
To remain viable, agriculture in each location must offer returns that are competitive with those from alternative investments and sufficient to cover producers' financial obligations. Economic theory says that rates of return converge over time as resources flow into more-profitable industries and out of less-profitable industries, causing factor price changes. Both traditional growth and trade theories say factor markets will adjust to equalize commodity returns over time. This study examines spatial relationships in agriculture's profitability over time. Results show temporal and spatial convergence of returns consistent with trade and development theories. However, there are profit patterns unique to state/regional agriculture, raising policy implications.
By: Blank, Steven C.
The increasing globalization of agricultural markets in recent decades appears to be changing the economics of the American production agriculture sector, reducing its economic importance and raising questions about its life cycle. This study contributes to the product life cycle literature by creating tests of hypotheses about the economic life of American production agriculture. A methodology to test the hypotheses is proposed and then applied in an empirical analysis. In general, it appears that a new stage in American agriculture's life began during the 1973-1983 period. Finally, the results and their implications for the American production agriculture sector are discussed.
By: Tadesse, Dawit; Blank, Steven C.
Risk reduction through diversification across cultivars is evaluated. A case study of peach growers in California shows that cultivar diversity reduces both yield and revenue variability. As a result, the probability of falling below minimum income requirements set using a safety-first model is reduced using this strategy.
By: Blank, Steven C.
A multi-part test is proposed for the hypothesis that American production agriculture is shrinking. The results of the three tests presented here are consistent with a shrinking American agricultural sector that is on the verge of, but not yet in, the final decline stage of its "life cycle." The sector is clearly shrinking in relative size and importance, and in absolute size, and its economic performance has been weak for decades. These changes in agriculture and their implications for the agricultural economics profession are discussed. Finally, (at least) two challenges to American agriculture and the agricultural economics profession are raised.
By: Blank, Steven C.; Orloff, Steve B.; Putnam, Daniel H.
The "optimal cutting schedule" for alfalfa hay is described as a function of the trade-off between rising yield and falling quality of alfalfa over time and the local market prices being offered for different qualities of hay during the harvest season. Field test results quantify the yield/quality tradeoff for a California case study. A general decision rule is then derived to assist growers in making cutting decisions during a season. Finally, the optimal cutting schedule is shown to be the sum of sequential decisions for cuttings throughout the harvest season, with no schedule being best a priori.