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Research Articles

Teaching and Educational Methods

Teaching Forward Contracts in Undergraduate Courses in Agribusiness and Agricultural Economics Programs

Yuliya V. Bolotova

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Posted online: June 27, 2022
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Abstract: This article presents teaching materials for teaching forward contracts in undergraduate courses in agribusiness and agricultural economics programs, as well as educational materials for Extension and outreach activities. The teaching materials include: (a) an introduction to spot and forward contracts as market exchange mechanisms and an explanation of the main differences between these two types of contracts; (b) a discussion of the business rationale for using forward contracts, as compared to spot contracts; (c) a simple economic framework explaining the mechanics of forward contracts; and (d) analytical problem sets demonstrating applications of this framework in the U.S. beef, pork, and milk supply chains. The teaching note includes analytical problem sets, multiple choices questions, and answer keys for all questions.

Keywords: Cattle, dairy, hogs, market coordination, risk management

Coordinating Environmental and Trade Policy to Protect the Environment: A Pedagogical Approach

Patrik T. Hultberg and Darshana Udayanganie

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Posted online: April 26, 2022

Abstract: Establishing appropriate environmental and trade policies is an important issue in today’s globalized economy, and yet there is no comprehensive analysis in most environmental economics and international trade undergraduate textbooks of how such policies are interrelated. The purpose of this article is to provide a straightforward framework for teaching students how environmental and trade policies are indeed interconnected, utilizing the standard tools of intermediate microeconomics. Focusing on a single competitive market and (nonstrategic) welfare maximizing government, optimal environmental and trade policies are derived and explored. The framework is used to address several circumstances, including negative production and consumption externalities, small and large countries, and transboundary pollution.

Keywords: Environment, international trade, teaching of economics

Extension Education

Case Studies

Price-Fixing in the U.S. Broiler Chicken and Pork Industries

Yuliya V. Bolotova

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Posted online: May 26, 2022
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Abstract: The motivations for this case study are recent developments in the U.S. broiler chicken and pork industries involving implementation of agricultural supply control practices by the largest broiler and pork processors in the United States. Buyers of broilers and pork filed antitrust lawsuits alleging that by implementing these supply control practices broiler and pork processors engaged in unlawful price-fixing conspiracies. The case study introduces economic, business, and legal issues related to implementation of supply control practices in the U.S. broiler chicken and pork industries. The case study presents economic models that help explain the conduct and performance of these industries in the analyzed setting, and it includes a basic market and price analysis. The intended audiences are undergraduate and graduate students, as well as extension and outreach communities. The teaching note includes multiple-choice questions and suggested answers to analytical, discussion, and multiple-choice questions. The teaching note also discusses teaching objectives, teaching strategies, and student background knowledge.

Keywords: Broilers, oligopoly, pork, price-fixing, Sherman Act

Economic Dynamics in the Beef Food Supply Chain under Pandemic Conditions

Grace Melo, Luis Peña-Lévano, and Kori Luengo

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Posted online: May 25, 2022
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Abstract: This case study discusses the potential effects of COVID-19 pandemic on the U.S. beef market during the first half of 2020. This sector confronted significant economic distortions caused by the increasing rate of infection in meat processing and packaging plants. We illustrate the COVID-19 related effects on the beef industry by using cattle-meat marketing channel framework, which comprises of two markets: cattle raw meat cuts supplied by farmers, and retailed processed meat sold by retailers and wholesale markets to final consumers as packed and processed products. The case study discusses different supply and demand shocks affecting the meat market system during and after the lockdown period. The article also explores the potential changes in equilibrium prices in alternative meat markets and how these could affect prices in conventional meat products. The teaching note discusses the objectives and provides further recommendations on the delivery of the case study, including a team peer evaluation.

Keywords: Case study, beef, processed food, meat supply, marketing channel, multi-sector model

Teaching and Education Commentaries

Feature Articles

Special Issue on Fostering Diversity and Inclusion in Agribusiness and Agricultural Economics Classrooms and Departments

Special Issue on Extension Education and Teaching

Building Up the Next Generation of Extension Specialists

Tori L. Marshall, Amy D. Hagerman, Hannah E. Shear, Kenneth H. Burdine, and Becca B.R. Jablonski

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Posted online: July 19, 2022

Abstract: This paper is a retrospective summary of the varied ways agricultural economics and agribusiness programs have approached recruiting and training interested graduate students for a career in Extension. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for graduate student recruitment and training. Extension systems vary by state, and departments have different levels of Extension involvement. Aptitude in research and teaching, while critical, should be complemented by skills needed to establish successful Extension programs. We propose a customized approach to Extension career training for graduate students that is adaptable to the Extension presence in the department and college and flexible to meet graduation requirements. This flexible approach will enable faculty graduate advisors, graduate coordinators, and department and Extension leaders to better prepare graduate students for future careers in Extension, furthering the land-grant mission.

Keywords: Extension education, graduate student training, mentoring

The Role of Mentoring in Increasing New Extension Faculty Success Rates

Amy D. Hagerman, Tori L. Marshall, Martha J. Sullins, and Kenneth H. Burdine

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Posted online: July 25, 2022

Abstract: Mentoring is a key element in the success and retention of Extension faculty, but one that has not often been explored in the literature and in practice. This paper uses a semi-structured interview process to obtain feedback from early career Extension faculty about their experiences with mentoring, how mentoring could be improved to make them more successful, and specific challenges for which mentoring would be especially helpful early in their careers. While a great deal of variation existed among participants concerning formal mentoring programs within their departments, almost all indicated they used and valued mentors as part of their professional development. Departmental mentoring programs seemed to be largely focused on helping faculty members navigate the promotion and tenure process. Interviews revealed several areas where mentoring would be especially valuable to new Extension faculty as they developed their Extension programs. These areas included evaluating Extension programs, obtaining grants and program funding, building stakeholder networks, balancing appointments, feeling valued, incorporating ongoing personal development, and improving time management. Almost all interview participants indicated a willingness to serve as mentors for new faculty as they progress in their careers.

Keywords: Extension education, faculty retention, mentoring, semi-structured interviews

Challenges with Developing an Extension Program for Markets Evolving under an Uncertain Framework: Lessons from Program Development for Carbon and Hemp Markets

Charley C. Martinez, S. Aaron Smith, Tyler Mark, and Paul Goeringer

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Posted online: July 28, 2022

Abstract: Extension programs are the link between producers, applied research, and policy. Additionally, Extension educators are often the initial point of contact for producers when new agricultural markets emerge. Emerging markets provide opportunities and challenges for all producers. However, developing an Extension program to assist producers can be difficult due to limited production information (or process clarity), a lack of infrastructure, uncertain marketing channels, and uncertain policy direction. During the emergence of new commodities or markets, the development of Extension programming is necessary to aid producers and other agricultural stakeholders in clarifying the risks and rewards of entering or participating in the market. A further complication is a bimodal distribution of clientele ranging from those operators new to agriculture to established operators.
           The development of carbon and hemp markets in the United States highlights the difficulties in providing producers with timely information when a highly uncertain policy and regulatory environment exists. This paper discusses how to develop an Extension program to address producers’ needs for emerging markets effectively. Specifically, we highlight the benefits of collaboration, obtaining grant funding, program development, and identifying research topics. Finally, the program development discussed can be utilized by Extension educators when developing programming for future emerging markets.

Keywords: Carbon markets, Extension, hemp, new markets, programming

Linking Research and Practice: The Role of Extension on Agritourism Development in the United States

Claudia Schmidt, Lisa Chase, Carla Barbieri, Ellie Rilla, Doolarie Singh Knights, Dawn Thilmany, Stacy Tomas, Lori Dickes, Sarah Cornelisse, R. David Lamie, Rachael Callahan, Holly George, and Penny Leff

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Posted online: August 10, 2022

Abstract: Agritourism is a critical farm diversification strategy for farmers to enhance income and profit potential with benefits related to rural community development, increased awareness of sustainability practices, and local heritage preservation. For rural community and economic development professionals, agritourism has become an important strategy to develop local tourism, grow small businesses, and enhance regional economic diversification. We propose that the agritourism ecosystem would arguably benefit from more robust Extension programming and network development. A discussion of two state case studies, Vermont and California, provides an overview of the critical elements necessary to build a statewide agritourism program. The role of Extension in rural development and tourism underscores the opportunity to utilize agritourism as a broader development strategy. Finally, we make recommendations for growing the role of Extension in agritourism. More robust training and education for Extension professionals, stronger connections to state tourism departments, and more robust advocacy with university and state-level decision makers on the value of agritourism investments are all highlighted as crucial next steps.

Keywords: Agritourism, Extension, Community Development

Extension Program Development for Early Career Faculty

Melissa G.S. McKendree and Mykel R. Taylor

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Posted online: August 10, 2022
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Abstract: Early career Extension economists seeking advice on Extension and research program development and mentorship have fewer places to turn due to the declining number of Extension economists in the profession. As such, we conduct a survey of Extension economists that ask about research and Extension integration, funding models, challenges to the profession, mentorship of graduate students, and philosophies of developing Extension programs. We find that networking with stakeholders to design research and Extension programs is viewed as a key element to a successful career. We also find that there is an insufficient level of formal mentorship and training occurring for preparing graduate students for Extension work. In the authors’ opinion, results of the study suggest that formal mentoring programs that teach networking and communication skills to graduate students would greatly benefit them in their professional pursuits in Extension.

Keywords: Career advice, Extension, graduate students, mentorship

Special Issue on Contemporary Adjustments Needed to Teaching Water Economics in Light of Challenges Facing the Water Sector and its User