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Research Articles

Teaching and Educational Methods

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

Nurturing International Graduate Students for a More Diversified and Inclusive Extension Workforce

Yangxuan Liu and Wendong Zhang

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Posted online: June 17, 2022
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Abstract: The United States exports over 20 percent of its agricultural products; thus, agricultural trade and understanding global markets and partner countries’ agricultural policies is increasingly important to its continued success. International graduate students represent a significant portion of agricultural economics students at many land-grant universities; however, many international graduate students do not receive exposure to Extension. We argue this creates an untapped resource to integrate graduate education and Extension services; thus, Extension misses opportunities to recruit top talent to serve the agricultural industry, and international graduate students have less job market success. Leveraging a survey of department heads and Extension economists in agricultural economics departments, our research documents the status of international Extension agricultural economists, identifies hidden and perceived barriers for international graduate students pursuing academic Extension careers, and provides insights into appropriate education and training programs in university graduate curricula to increase international graduate students’ awareness of and interest in Extension.

Keywords: Economic education; Extension; diversity, graduate education; international graduate student; land-grant university

Can We Foster the Future of Extension through (Friendly) Competition? The Past, Present, and Future of the Graduate Student Extension Competition

Aaron J. Staples, Carlos A. Fontanilla-Diaz, Kate Binzen Fuller, and Maria I. Marshall

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Posted online: June 16, 2022
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Abstract: The year 2022 is the 15th anniversary of the AAEA Graduate Student Extension Competition (GSEC). The GSEC provides an opportunity for applied economics MS and PhD students to develop Extension and/or outreach programs based on their graduate work, present their proposals to a group of outreach experts, and gain feedback. It also serves as an opportunity for networking, informal mentorship, and enhancing professional relationships and collaboration. This competition is one way to encourage applied economics graduate students to enter into Extension careers, or at least better inform them about those careers. We evaluate the competition and its outcomes for both student competitors and judges through historical information and survey data. We find that the GSEC enhances the ability of graduate students to translate research to lay audiences and can serve as a key pipeline for future Extension economists and others in outreach roles. This case study can be used to inform similar efforts for career education and mentorship efforts in Extension and outreach fields of economics.

Keywords: Extension mentorship, Extension pedagogy, adult education, outreach

Extension Programming During a Pandemic: The Cooperative Director Foundations Program

Michael A. Boland, Christopher J. Kopka, Keri L. Jacobs, Courtney Berner, Brian C. Briggeman, Matthew Elliott, Diane Friend, Phil Kenkel, Greg McKee, Frayne Olson, John L. Park, Will Secor, Kristi Schweiss, Hannah Scott, and Tom Worley

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Posted online: June 16, 2022

Abstract: In summer 2020, when it became apparent that our Extension programming was not likely to be done in person in 2020/2021, a broad group of collaborators, representing universities, cooperative centers, and practitioners, began discussions to collaborate on some form of online learning platform to offer our Extension education modules for new directors on agricultural cooperatives boards across state lines and develop a program that was unavailable in most states. The objective is to describe the process, content, and lessons learned from our collaboration two years later. A legal entity was formed to develop and launch a common learning platform across our universities to handle registration fees and to pay for the development of the programs. The result is a comprehensive, peer-reviewed curriculum composed of 23 digital modules comprising 15 hours of content with a workbook written by a collaboration of 11 universities and 15 authors. We used state-of-the-art technology including storyboards, recorded lecturers, animations, vignettes, and online assessments for the digital content. In May 2022, adoption of the programming has begun slower than expected but moving in the right direction. We discuss lessons learned and about evolving new insights about future Extension programming for this largely underserved group.

Keywords: Agribusiness, cooperatives, education, Extension, learning, online

On the Strategic Creation of Extension and Outreach Content in a New Media Environment

Trey Malone, Jim Monahan, Katie Nicpon, K. Aleks Schaefer, and Madelyn Cary

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Posted online: May 23, 2022

Abstract: Colleges of Agriculture across the world have been forced to rapidly adapt new media solutions to confront the challenge of educating and community building in increasingly digital spheres. With prospective and current students, program participants, alumni, and stakeholders at home, the COVID-19 pandemic was a catalyst to creating educational and connection opportunities through new media such as podcasts. Podcasts, like all digital content, require strategic planning and perform best when integrated into an overall communication or teaching strategy. This article uses podcasts as a case study as to discuss how new media can be a complement to the communications and learning goals of agricultural and applied economics departments. We develop a conceptual framework that provides a template for best practices for integrating podcast content into research-based community building and strategic communications development. Our article then utilizes the conceptual framework to describe the development of the Michigan State University Closing Bell podcast, which was implemented as a livestream on College of Agriculture and Natural Resources social media platforms in response to ongoing crises during the early stages of the pandemic.

Keywords: New media, outreach-bases research, podcasts

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