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Senior Section Sponsors Session on the Evolution of Health Insurance Issues

Health insurance is a hot-button issue, fueled in part by political differences over the Affordable Care Act. The continuing evolution of health insurance policy provides a challenge for employers, employees, taxpayers, consumers and policymakers at the state and national levels. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) changed many aspects of health insurance markets. Regardless of the success or failure of the ACA in addressing the numerous policy dimensions of the health insurance problem, the debate and evolution of public policy in this area will continue in coming years.

What contributions can agricultural economists make, whether in extension, research or teaching?  The answer to that question requires better understanding of the ACA, health insurance markets and the policy issues requiring further analysis. The Senior Section is sponsoring a session at the 2014 AAEA Annual Meeting in Minneapolis to inform participants by examining  (a) the state of Health Care Marketplaces (Exchanges), particularly at the state level, (b) consumer enrollment in and insurer participation in state Exchanges, (c) health insurance premiums on state Exchanges, and (d) future public policy issues for state governments, employers and health care consumers. The experience of the Minnesota MNSure Exchange provides a useful case study for examining these issues because it is recognized as a state exchange that has been successful in enrolling consumers. Top industry and academic experts on health insurance will set the stage for what is expected to be a lively discussion among presenters and attendees.

 Don’t miss this session "The Continuing Evolution of Health Insurance Issues: The Affordable Care Act and Beyond" at 2:45 p.m. on Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Come early if you want a seat!

Graduate Extension Competition

Each year, the Extension Section in collaboration with the Graduate Student Section (GSS) holds and sponsors the Graduate Student Extension Competition. This competition provides graduate student competitors the opportunity to develop extension and outreach programs from their research. The development of education materials and presentations suitable for a general public audience is expected. Cash prizes are awarded to the top three teams.

We encourage all departments with graduate students in agricultural economics, agribusiness, natural resource economics, community resource economics, applied economics or similar programs related to agriculture and/or the food system to inform their students about this important competition.

Purpose of the Competition
The competition provides incentives to graduate students to learn to prepare and present appropriate analytical results for an extension (usually non-economist) audience. This can be based upon the graduate student’s research for a thesis or dissertation. Participation in the competition is expected to enhance the professional growth of the participating students regarding extension programs.

Who’s Eligible?
Eligible applicants are:

  • Graduate students currently engaged in agricultural economics, agribusiness, natural resources, and community resource economics, applied or similar economics MS or PhD programs related to agriculture and/or the food system
  • Those who graduated from such programs in 2013 or later

Note: Participants must identify and work with a mentor with experience in outreach or extension activities.

Competition Application Information
Applications should be addressed to Maria Marshall and must include:

  • Student’s name, university, department, address and contact information
  • Title of the extension program to be delivered
  • A summary of the proposed extension program. This should include target audience, delivery plans, communication methods and activities planned for distributing the information to the public such as with fact sheets, pamphlets, press releases, reports, web sites, streaming videos, spreadsheets, workshops, PowerPoint presentations and training activities to be conducted (4 page maximum)
  • A profile of the student applicant’s background as well as the related thesis title and brief description of the research (maximum 1 page)
  • The mentor’s name, address and description of the mentor’s role in assisting the student with this project

Submission Deadline
Applications must be submitted electronically no later than May 16, 2014.

Selection of Finalists
Finalists will be selected to make an extension/outreach presentation at the AAEA Annual Meeting in Minneapolis MN, July 27, 2014, to a panel of judges. Selection of the finalists will be based on the material submitted and the criteria listed below.

Criteria for Selecting Finalists
Criteria for judging the finalist and winners will include:

  1. Identification of a target audience.
    1. An explanation of the issue/problem/opportunity being addressed
    2. An explanation on how this target audience was identified
  2. Development of an extension program for the target audience that includes:
    1. An outline of the goals of the extension program
    2. A summary and an explanation of the main elements of the thesis or dissertation results to be included in the extension program. Include a description of how the research results will address the issue/problem/opportunity and benefit the target audience
    3. A summary of the program in an extension report, or extension PowerPoint presentation, or other appropriate extension communication media that the audience can take home. This summary should be an explanation that would be effective in accomplishing the extension goals as identified in step 2a above
  3. An explanation of extension team development and responsibilities in terms of program development and delivery should be addressed, if appropriate
  4. Plans for evaluating the effectiveness of the extension program

Extension/Outreach presentation at the AAEA Annual Meeting
Each finalist must develop oral and visual presentations (15-20 minutes in length) for delivery at the AAEA Annual Meeting. The top three finalists are be expected to make presentations during an AAEA Extension section track session.

Cash awards will be given to the top three graduate students in this competition. Award funding is provided by the Farm Foundation and the AAEA Extension Section. Awards are:

  • First Place: $1,000 and a plaque
  • Second Place: $300 and a certificate
  • Third Place: $200 and a certificate
  • Other finalists receive finalist certificates

The top three competitors selected will be recognized at the AAEA Awards ceremony. All finalists are guests at the Extension Luncheon during the AAEA Annual Meeting. Luncheon tickets will be provided to all finalists.

Submit Entries to:
Dr. Maria Marshall
Competition Committee Chair
Agriculture Economics Department
Purdue University
Phone: 765-494-4268

AEM/GSS Case Study Competition

The case study competition is a long and prestigious tradition in the Graduate Student Section. Every year, groups of students have a chance to show off their case study skills and win prize money as well as the great honor of being a case study competition winner. In collaboration with the Agribusiness Econometrics and Management Section, the Graduate Student Section Case Study Competition allows graduate students to test their communication skills and their ability to apply their knowledge of agricultural economics and agribusiness subjects to practical situations. Students competing in the competition will receive a copy of the case study at least two weeks in advance of the AAEA Annual Meeting.

AEM/GSS Case Study Competition Rules:

Each team should prepare an oral summary of their solution to the case that will last no more than 15 minutes. Presentations lasting over 15 minutes will be penalized. After the presentation, teams should be prepared to answer questions from the judges on their interpretation of the case.

Teams can be comprised of up to three graduate students. Students may either compete as a team from the same school, or may choose to be mixed with students from other schools. If there is only one student from a school that wants to participate, the student can compete on their own, or he/she can be matched with other students. In the case of teams that are matched with individuals from different universities, competitors will be notified of their teammates as soon as possible, but no later than the same day the case is announced.

AEM/GSS Case Study Competition Prizes:

The top three teams will receive plaques and cash prizes.

  • First Place: $300
  • Second Place: $200
  • Third Place: $100

Specific Information for the 2014 Case Study Competition:

The number of rounds will be determined by the number of teams entered. The final round will be composed of the top 3 teams. In addition to plaques and cash prizes, the three finalist teams will also be recognized during the AAEA Awards Ceremony.

  • Sunday, July 27, 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.: First Rounds of Competition
  • Monday, July 28, 1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.: Final Round
  • Monday, July 28, 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.: Awards Ceremony

Students participating in the case study competition will need to be registered for the Annual Meeting AND the Case Study Competition.

Students should register for the AAEA Annual Meeting through the 2014 Annual Meeting Registration Form which is available online.

Each team must also complete the Case Study registration form identifying their teammates and send it to AAEA no later than June 16, 2014.

Please direct any questions regarding the 2014 AAEA Case Study Competition to Dr. Aslihan Spaulding ( or GSS Section Chair, Brandon McFadden (