Volume 36, Issue 3, December 2011

By: Tronstad, Russell
Parallels are drawn between shortcomings and events that occurred in our western heritage with current issues facing agricultural economists. Challenges are made in relation to conflict of interest policies, external funding, cultivating connections with experts outside our discipline, and relevance of research priorities. Survey data on research priorities of upper administrators and faculty within colleges of agriculture are compared to those of Western Agricultural Economics Association members. Upper administrators from land grant colleges rank research focused in the area of competitiveness and profitability less than areas of water usage, food safety, renewable energy, global climate change, or sustainability.
By: Shi, Guanming; Chavas, Jean-Paul
We investigate differentiated product pricing and the effects of vertical organization under imperfect competition. We rely on vertical measures of concentration (termed VHHI) to study how the exercise of market power varies with substitution/complementarity relationships among products and vertical structures. This approach is applied to U.S. soybean seed pricing under vertical integration versus licensing. We find evidence that vertical organization affects seed prices, with an impact ranging from 1.87% to 13.6% of the mean price. These effects vary by institutional setup.We also find that complementarity can mitigate price enhancements associated with market concentration.
By: Huffman, Wallace E.
The paper develops a new productive household model and a consistent household fullincome/ expenditure demand system for inputs and leisure of U.S. households. The demand system is fitted to U.S. annual aggregate data over the last half of the 20th century and findings include that the price and income elasticity of demand for food-at-home are roughly two times larger than for food-away-from-home and that food-at-home and away-from-home are substitutes. The price and income elasticity of demand for men’s unpaid housework are twice as large as for women’s unpaid housework and women’s and men’s unpaid housework are shown to be complements.
By: Volpe, Richard J., III
This study draws upon literature from the fields of agricultural economics, industrial organization, and business to study the performance of supermarkets in the United States. The empirical work draws from a rich dataset on the characteristics of supermarkets across the U.S. to test several hypotheses. Supermarkets utilizing everyday low pricing operate more efficiently than those using other strategies. Stores increase their performance by using strategies of their closest competitors. Competition with hypermarkets results in decreased supermarket performance, especially for smaller stores. Increases in private label sales relative to national brand sales are not necessarily related to increased performance.
By: Elbakidze, Levan; Lu, Liang; Eigenbrode, Sanford
This study examines the effects of climatic conditions on interactions among pea and lentil yields, pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum (Harris) infestations, and outbreaks of PEMV (Pea enation mosaic) and BLRV (Bean leaf roll) viruses in the Palouse region of easternWashington. The study analytically and empirically evaluates the effects of aphid outbreaks on per acre yields, implicitly including the effects of adopted pest management activities and explicitly taking into account possible effects of climatic conditions on the severity of pea aphid outbreaks. The results show that aphid outbreaks have historically decreased pea and lentil yields by approximately 5% and 7% on average respectively.
By: Schroeder, Ted C.; Tonsor, Glynn T.
The Food and Drug Administration recently approved the feeding of Zilmax(R) for cattle in the United States. This study determines direct net return benefits for early-adopting cattle feeders and beef packers. In addition, longer-run producer and consumer surplus measures are estimated as adoption impacts market prices and quantities. After markets adjust, cow-calf producers, cattle feeders, and consumers will gain from adopting the new technology.
By: Qiu, Feng; Goodwin, Barry K.; Gervais, Jean-Philippe
This article investigates the impacts of decoupled and coupled program payments on farmland rental contract choices for a subset of U.S. crop farms using a principal-agent model.We consider cash and share contracts as well as hybrid contracts, which represent an increasingly prominent feature of U.S. agriculture. The conceptual framework suggests that restrictions on payments between contracting parties are ineffective and induce an offsetting contractual rearrangement. Empirical results from a multinomial logit model confirm that government support programs have large, significant effects on contract choices and that these effects vary by types of programs.
By: Williamson, James M.
This article investigates the impact of agronomic and price information on nitrogen fertilizer management. Excessive nitrogen applications can cause environmental degradation, and it is important to understand how information influences the application decision in order to develop effective conservation policies. The impact of soil N-tests on the rate of applied nitrogen is estimated. Farmers who use a soil test reduce their use of commercial nitrogen by up to 83 lbs/acre relative to non-testers. New evidence indicates that rising fertilizer prices encourage farmers to manage nitrogen more carefully. Estimated price elasticities of quantity demanded range from -1.67 to -1.87.
By: Campiche, Jody L.; Dicks, Michael R.; Shideler, David W.; Dickson, Amanda
The Food Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 included a new provision that allowed managed haying and grazing (including the harvest of biomass), if consistent with the conservation of soil, water quality, and wildlife habitat, in return for partial reductions in the annual CRP payments. The legislation provided for managed (or limited use) haying and grazing on the CRP acreage rather than prohibiting all use. This research analyzed whether or not the alternative grazing and haying scenarios would dramatically impact the price of beef or hay, and we estimated the impact such changes would have on state economies.
By: Sneeringer, Stacy E.
Environmental regulatory compliance costs are often cited as a factor in dairy location decisions, but few studies estimate the impacts of regulation in this sector. This article uses California dairy regulations to examine the pollution haven hypothesis in agriculture. Dairy industry regulation has varied regionally within the state, with the more strictly regulated Southern California region losing production and the more environmentally lenient Central Valley gaining production. Results show that even after controlling for population density and property values, regulation had significant negative effects on dairying in Southern California.
By: McCullough, Michael; Holland, David W.; Painter, Kathleen M.; Stodick, Leroy; Yoder, Jonathan K.
A computable general equilibrium model is used to analyze the effectiveness of policy alternatives at achieving biofuel-related goals in Washington State. Policy regimes compared include blend mandates, generally funded volumetric and CO2e (CO2 equivalent) emissions-based tax/subsidy regimes, and revenue-neutral funded tax/subsidy regimes that use fossil fuel taxes to fund renewable fuel subsidies. Results suggest that a revenue-neutral CO2e emissions-based tax/subsidy is arguably the most effective single alternative for pursuing the full set of objectives emphasized in recent Washington State legislation.
By: Ubilava, David; Barnett, Barry J.; Coble, Keith H.; Harri, Ardian
We investigate potential effects of the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) program introduced in the 2008 Farm Bill. Results suggest little impact on optimal crop insurance purchase decisions, though the SURE program does seem to provide an incentive for mid-level insurance coverage. For producers in the price counter-cyclical payment (PCCP) program, SURE payments are actually higher (lower) when commodity prices are high (low). This is not the case for producers in the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program.