Journal Issue:
Agricultural Policy Review: Volume 2017, Issue 2

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Ag Trade and Trade Agreements
( 2017-04-01) Hart, Chad ; Schulz, Lee ; Center for Agricultural and Rural Development

INTERNATIONAL TRADE and trade agreements have been a major part of the political discussion during the Presidential election and in the first few months of the Trump administration.

Redistribution or Public Good: Which Direction for the New Farm Bill?
( 2017-04-01) Babcock, Bruce ; Center for Agricultural and Rural Development

FARM BILL programs run the gamut from crop insurance to conservation, from invasive species control to nutrition subsidies, from agricultural research to commodity subsidies. These programs fall into two broad categories. Some, such as the nutrition programs, commodity programs, and the crop insurance program have an objective of redistributing income from taxpayers to speciβic groups of people. Others, such as agricultural research, conservation, and food inspection programs have an objective of improving economic efβiciency by providing goods and services that the private sector under- provides, or by mitigating undesirable market outcomes. The key decision that the Senate and House Agricultural Committees will need to make in the 2018 Farm Bill is how to split up a βixed amount of funds between redistributive programs and those that improve efβiciency.

US Export Beef Competitiveness: Do Cattle Inventories Matter?
( 2017-04-01) Crespi, John ; Chen, Chen-Ti ; Schulz, Lee ; Center for Agricultural and Rural Development

T HE US beef industry operates in a highly competitive world market. As a global leader in the production of beef cattle, its competitive advantage in beef production stems from a well-developed infrastructure as well as a reputation for quality. Nevertheless, US beef has a disadvantage in the relative cost of production. For instance, the majority of US beef is grain-fed, while a pound of grass-fed beef can be produced at a lower cost. Lack of animal traceability and mandatory national identiβication systems can also put US beef in a vulnerable position competing with other major export countries. There is no doubt that the US beef industry today faces a highly competitive global market place. However, are US beef exports facing signiβicantly greater economic competition today than they did in the past, or have those export markets always been highly competitive? The beef industry has become more concentrated over the past 30 years, suggesting that examinations of export competitiveness should consider the possibility of market power. We also question whether global competition is affected by the inherent dynamics of cattle production and marketing in beef exporting nations. Livestock production is impacted by a biological cycle that affects the production of βinal meat products, and as cattle are capital and consumption goods, current breeding and consumption decisions impact future stocks.

Four Reasons Why We Aren’t Likely to See a Replay of the 1980’s Farm Crisis
( 2017-04-01) Zhang, Wendong ; Center for Agricultural and Rural Development

T HERE ARE plenty of alarming signs indicating a possible farm crisis: current corn prices are half the 2013 peak level of US $7/bushel; farm income has declined for major commodities (corn, wheat, cattle), falling from the previous year to levels well below recent years; weak farm income and worsening credit conditions continue to trim farmland values, which are expected to trend lower in the months ahead, thus weakening the equity position of producers and the collateral value for lenders. Given the heightening farm βinancial crisis, many agricultural lenders, academics, and other stakeholders in the US farm sector worry another farm crisis is looming. However, there are four economic and legal reasons why this farm downturn is unlikely to slide into a sudden collapse of agricultural markets.

Cover Crop Adoption Decisions in Iowa: Insights from an In-Person Survey
( 2017-04-01) Gonzalez-Ramirez, M. Jimena ; Kling, Catherine ; Arbuckle, J. Gordon ; Morton, Lois ; McGuire, Jean ; Benning, Jamie ; Center for Agricultural and Rural Development

CURRENT NITROGEN and phosphorus applications in the Midwest have been connected to increasing water quality problems.