Wolf, Christopher A.

By: Ochs, Daniel; Wolf, Christopher A.; Widmar, Nicole J.; Bir, Courtney
Animal welfare–related production attributes are increasingly considered by U.S. consumers making food purchasing decisions and U.S. voters at the ballot box. This research considers U.S. consumer preferences for egg production attributes. The results reveal preferences for less hen stress, more natural hen behavior, and improved worker health and welfare. We propose an index combining animal welfare scores and consumer preference shares for determining preferred combinations of egg production attributes. When weighting hen housing systems by consumer preference for animal and worker welfare attributes, the preferred system is enriched colony housing, which differs from recent retailer commitments to cage-free aviaries.
By: Wolf, Christopher A.; Tonsor, Glynn T.
Consumers are increasingly scrutinizing the animal welfare implications of modern agricultural production processes. We used surveys to examine both the U.S. public willingness-to-pay for and dairy farmer willingness-to-supply or change on-farm production practices related to dairy cattle welfare and find that the public has a positive WTP for all practices examined, while most dairy farms already supply those practices (with the exceptions of employee training programs, third-party certification, and outdoor access). Implications for practice verification and premiums are discussed in the context of dairy markets and policy.
By: Wolf, Christopher A.; Tonsor, Glynn T.
Dairy policy often becomes a contentious topic during U.S. farm bill negotiations. The dairy subtitle of the 2012 farm bill has been debated and discussed since 2009. This research uses best-worst scenario methods to analyze dairy farmer preferences for policy options, including eliminating existing dairy policies, implementing new dairy policies related to income support and growth management, and ending ethanol subsidies. Results indicate that large and small dairy herd operators have differing preferences. Large herd operators prefer to end ethanol subsidies rather than specific dairy policy changes, while small herd operators most preferred support for income over feed-cost margins.
By: Wolf, Christopher A.; Tonsor, Glynn T.; Olynk, Nicole J.
A choice experiment was used to examine the value of various fluid milk attributes. Respondents were surveyed regarding half or whole gallon milk purchases. A split-sample design was used to examine consumer inferences regarding food safety. Willingness to pay for verification of production process attributes varied across attributes and verifying entity. Consumers were generally willing to pay substantial premiums for milk produced without the use of rbST, on local family farms, with assured food safety enhancement, and for these claims to be verified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
By: Olynk, Nicole J.; Wolf, Christopher A.
As dairy farms grow and specialize in milking cows, raising replacement heifers is increasingly outsourced. Perhaps the largest challenge of outsourcing the heifer enterprise involves quality, measured as milk production potential, and the possibility for moral hazard due to hidden action on the part of the custom heifer grower. A principal-agent framework was used to elicit contract terms to provide incentives for the heifer grower to achieve desired growth rates, and enable the return of the heifer to the dairy farm on an accelerated time frame, without sacrificing quality. To mitigate incentive asymmetries, bonuses and deductions are proposed.
By: Olynk, Nicole J.; Tonsor, Glynn T.; Wolf, Christopher A.
A choice experiment was used to determine consumer value for verification of livestock production process attributes. Willingness to pay for verification of production process attributes varied for both milk and pork chops across attributes and verifying entity. Statistically significant evidence of social desirability bias was found by comparing estimates of consumer preferences solicited using direct and indirect questioning. Indirect questioning may yield more accurate representations of consumer value than direct questioning, and therefore more accurate estimates for agribusiness decision making.