agricultural economics


Ian Ransley/Flickr

Baby Shark Cereal and Maple Syrup Collusion: Why Competition in Our Food System Matters

, Economist

The cereal aisle in your typical American supermarket is remarkable. Though dazzling to the eyes, it’s overstimulating, especially to any parent who has bravely marched down this aisle with a child in tow. But behind the cast of cereal box characters – Tony the Tiger, Toucam Sam, Dig’em Frog, Lucky, Snap, Crackle and Pop – is a story about competition in our food system and how it impacts consumers, the farmers who grow our food and quite possibly the very soil they grow it in. Read more >

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Photo: aisletwentytwo/CC BY 2.0 (Flickr)

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

, Economist

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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Is Scientific Integrity Safe at the USDA?

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

Science is critical to everything the US Department of Agriculture does—helping farmers produce a safe, abundant food supply, protecting our soil and water for the future, and advising all of us about good nutrition to stay healthy. I recently wrote about the Trump administration’s new USDA chief scientist nominee, Scott Hutchins, and the conflicts he would bring from a career narrowly focused on developing pesticides for Dow.

But meanwhile, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue last week abruptly announced a proposed reorganization of the USDA’s research agencies. This move has implications for whoever takes up the post of chief scientist—as do new survey findings released yesterday, which suggest that the Trump administration is already having detrimental effects on science and scientists at the USDA. Read more >

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Economist to Team Trump: More Trade Won’t Avert a Farm Crisis

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

On the face of it, new and expanded global markets might seem like a way out for US farmers suffering from low commodity prices and declining farm incomes. But will it work? I walked down the hall to ask an expert. Read more >

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Did the Local Food Movement Trickle Down to Local Farmers?

Dawn Thilmany McFadden, , UCS

We are quickly approaching the 10th anniversary of the March 2007 Time magazine cover on local food, a milestone indicating that the local food movement became a mainstream phenomenon. Today, there is continued public interest in local and regional food systems. But have these systems actually been able to support the farms and ranches that they depend on? Read more >

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