Rebecca Boehm

Economist

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Rebecca Boehm is an economist with the Food & Environment program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. In her role, she conducts applied economic research to advance the development of a healthier, more sustainable, and equitable food system. See Rebecca's full bio.

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Photo: aisletwentytwo/CC BY 2.0 (Flickr)

Is the USDA Relocation Just Good Old-Fashioned Rent Seeking?

One of things I cherish about economists is their ability to call BS when they see it. In research settings economists tend to have a reputation for asking hard-hitting questions during seminars. They are known for having the most unpopular opinion and for being unabashedly proud of it. I’ve personally seen non-economists bristle at the thought of giving a talk to an economics-oriented audience. As someone who straddles the worlds of public health and economics I get it, trust me. I’ve been there. Read more >

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U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue takes a big bite out of his bacon cheeseburger at the Discovery Elementary School cafeteria, in Arlington, VA. Photo: USDA

Secretary Perdue is Moving The Cheese and It’s Not Good For Any Of Us

In a recent interview by the North Carolina News and Observer, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue discussed the current proposal to relocate the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) outside Washington DC. When asked if he was worried about employee backlash he replied, “anytime you make change or move people’s cheese, there’s always anxiety.”

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Photo: USDA
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USDA Provides Blueprint for Dismantling a Government Research Agency

For scientists, it’s a significant accomplishment to get your work published in a peer-reviewed journal. The process of submitting a paper, fielding reviewer comments, and revising the work can take months (or years!), and final publication in a respected journal lends credibility to any researcher’s work. So it was odd when the Washington Post reported last week that USDA was now requiring its researchers to label outside peer-reviewed scientific publications with the word “preliminary”. But this wasn’t actually news to me. And it isn’t the only way the Trump administration is undermining the USDA’s important research role. Read more >

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Photo: iStock.com//Alija

Vegetable Production in the US: Lots of Potatoes, More Kale, and Other Trends

Vegetables—they’ve got me working overtime lately. That’s because my preschool-age daughter recently seems less than excited about these healthy foods. She’ll likely outgrow her (very common) picky-eater phase and enjoy vegetables. I hope.

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Map: USDA/NASS
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