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Research Articles


Teaching and Educational Methods

Structure, Flexibility, and Consistency: A Dynamic Learning Approach for an Online Asynchronous Course

Julien Picault

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Posted online: October 11, 2021

Abstract: COVID-19 forced many instructors to migrate their practice online and created a need to develop a new online teaching model. This article proposes an online asynchronous model specifically designed for an economics course. This teaching model was designed with three objectives: consistency, structure, and flexibility. It builds on the capability of learning management systems (LMSs) to create a straightforward learning path for students. The model delivers theoretical and practical knowledge and, although asynchronous, describes the instructor’s key role. It embraces strategies to reduce social isolation arising from online, asynchronous teaching models.

Keywords: Asynchronous, economics, group learning, online teaching, videos, teaching

Integrating Experiential Learning into a Food Systems Framework: An Application to Promote Food Deserts and Food Access Concepts Among College Students

Renee Shaw Hughner, Claudia Dumitrescu, Lauren Chenarides, Christopher Wharton, and Gina Lacagnina

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Posted online: September 20, 2021

Abstract: Food access is a transdisciplinary topic that may or may not be included in college curricula. Central to this concept is the notion of a “food desert,” or an area without access to food outlets that sell nutritious foods at affordable prices. The U.S. Department of Agriculture provided competitive grants to higher education institutions to develop course modules that raise awareness of the issue of food deserts among future decision makers and equip them with the problem-solving skills needed to address this social problem. In this paper, we describe the outcome of one such educational grant, a course module focused on the introduction of food deserts and the factors involved in addressing the problem of access to healthy food for lower socioeconomic segments of the population.

Keywords: Cross-disciplinary, education, food access, food deserts, food marketing, food systems


Extension Education


Case Studies

Market Power in the United States Potato Industry

Yuliya V. Bolotova

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Posted online: October 18, 2021
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Abstract: This case study is motivated by developments in the U.S. potato industry involving implementation of a potato supply management program by a nationwide group of cooperatives of potato growers from 2005 to 2010. This program aimed to mitigate potato oversupply, which adversely affected potato growers’ profitability. The potato supply management program raised legal issues leading to antitrust lawsuits filed by potato buyers against potato growers and their cooperatives, which resulted in a large settlement. The case study introduces economic, business, and legal issues related to the program’s implementation. It presents a theoretical economic framework, which explains the conduct and performance of the U.S. potato industry under alternative market scenarios, along with a basic market and price analysis. The intended audiences are undergraduate and graduate students as well as extension and outreach communities. A teaching note discusses teaching objectives, teaching strategies, and student background knowledge. In addition, it includes multiple-choice questions and suggested answers to discussion and multiple-choice questions.

Keywords: Antitrust, Capper-Volstead Act, cooperatives, potato industry, price-fixing, seller market power, supply management, Sherman Act

High Stakes: Managing Risk and Policy Uncertainty in the Market for CBD Food Products

Andrew W. Stevens and Joy M. Pahl

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Posted online: October 4, 2021
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Abstract: Consumer demand for food products containing cannabidiol (CBD) has skyrocketed in recent years. This spike in demand has presented an opening for entrepreneurial small businesses to seize a lucrative market opportunity. However, sourcing CBD is risky due to volatile prices and spotty availability in the wholesale market. Consequently, some entrepreneurs have considered producing their own CBD by growing hemp and vertically integrating their supply chains. This strategy poses its own risks: hemp that contains too much tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) must be destroyed; hemp yields are variable; and state- and federal-level policies about hemp production are changing rapidly. This case study follows the story of Levi Budz, a young entrepreneur from northeast Wisconsin, as he founded and grew Budz Butter: a 2017 startup company that produced CBD food products. This case focuses on risk management and decision making under uncertainty with particular attention to a shifting policy landscape, price volatility for a key input (CBD extract), hemp production risks, and uncertainty about consumer demand and competition in the retail marketplace. These themes are broadly applicable to other emerging opportunities in the agricultural and food sectors, and especially applicable to entrepreneurial ventures.

Keywords: CBD, hemp, risk, start-up, uncertainty


Teaching and Education Commentaries


Feature Articles


Special Issue on Innovations in Teaching Environmental and Resource Economics