Research Briefs from the ISU Department of Economics

AgDM Newsletter
July 2013

Duffy honored by American Agricultural Editors’ Association

Mike Duffy, an Iowa State University professor of economics, will be presented the Distinguished Service Award this summer by the American Agricultural Editors’ Association (AAEA).

“Mike’s leadership in helping beginning farmers for nearly 20 years has helped to facilitate the transfer and transition of farm operations between multiple generations,” said Dan Zinkand, an agricultural journalist and AAEA member who led Duffy’s nomination effort.

Duffy served as director of Iowa State’s Beginning Farmer Center from its creation by the Iowa Legislature in 1994 through the end of 2012.

“The center may be unique in the nation, and Mike’s expertise and management has been influential not only in Iowa, but also to farm families nationwide in thinking differently and smartly about inheritance, succession and retirement,” said Zinkand.

Duffy joined Iowa State University in 1984 as an extension farm management field specialist and began as an economics department faculty member in 1985. He earned a doctorate in agricultural economics from Pennsylvania State University in 1981, a master’s degree in agricultural economics and a bachelor’s degree in natural resources, parks and recreation management from the University of Nebraska in 1977 and 1975, respectively.

He is an expert in Iowa land valuation, having coordinated the annual Iowa State land value survey for 27 years, and conducts the Iowa Land Ownership survey. Duffy also serves as administrator for the ISU Extension Farm Financial Management Program and is director of graduate education for the Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture.

The AAEA, a professional organization of communicators in agriculture media, will present the award to Duffy at the Agricultural Media Summit this August in Buffalo, N.Y.

Read the news release


Factors constraining Iowa labor force growth through 2020

Swenson, David A., March 2013

Iowa endured high outmigration rates among young adults during the 2000 to 2010 period. In light of accelerating exits from the labor force as the “baby boom” generation reaches retirement age and Iowa’s somewhat smaller labor force ages 25 through 44 than the national average, the state’s labor force is projected to contract.

This report uses age and gender specific mortality and migration rates from the 2000 to 2010 period to project Iowa’s working age population by 2020. Overall, the projections indicate an expected contraction in the Iowa population ages 16 to 64 of 74,142 persons. If that is the case, Iowa’s economy may have trouble expanding.

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Agriculture and agriculture-related manufacturing economic impacts in Iowa

Swenson, David A., March 2013

Agriculture is an important component of the Iowa economy. When considered in combination with Iowa’s food manufacturing and Iowa’s industries that specifically produce agricultural inputs, the broader agriculture and agriculture-related manufacturing sectors explain a substantial fraction of the state’s jobs and labor incomes. If those industries are analyzed in terms of their contributions toward final demand sales (the preponderance of which are exports from Iowa), all of the jobs linked to those final demand sales can be quantified. By doing so, it is possible to estimate the total number of jobs in Iowa that are directly or indirectly linked to agriculture and agriculture-related manufacturing.

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Economic importance of the Iowa egg industry

Otto, Daniel; Ibarburu, Maro; Schulz, Lee L., ISU Extension: Economic Importance of the Iowa Egg Industry, January 2013

Iowa leads the nation in egg production, producing more than the second and third largest states combined. The United States Department of Agriculture estimates that approximately 52.9 million layers in Iowa produced 14.5 billion eggs in 2011. This level of production consumes 49.2 million bushels of corn and 452,200 tons of soybean meal to feed the layers and 4.2 million bushels of corn and 38,500 tons of soybean meal to feed the growing pullets. In addition, the egg industry is an important value-added activity in Iowa, directly employing an estimated 3,700 hatchery, production and processing workers in 2011 and generating over $156 million in direct payroll. The multiplier impacts on the Iowa economy are even more impressive, with total labor income of $424 million, nearly 7,960 total jobs and an economic boost of $657 million.

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Scaling up from smallholder agriculture in China, North Branch River Vegetable Cooperative

Kimle, Kevin; HongdongGuo, WP #12028, December 2012

Zhang Guan Liang is a Chinese agricultural entrepreneur, who lives in Fuyang, China. In 2009, he founded North Branch River Vegetable Cooperative with a vision of creating a vegetable production and distribution entity of significant scale. He has successfully launched the venture, with more than 200 farmers producing vegetables for it. Today, he faces significant challenges to further growth: some common to entrepreneurs, others unique to agriculture and others unique to growing an agricultural venture in China. The case charts Zhang’s efforts to increase production capacity, access growth capital and manage food safety issues. In a larger sense, the case charts the agrifood supply chain struggles that are particularly acute in China today.

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Identifying the effects of SNAP (food stamps) on child health outcomes when participation is endogenous and misreported

Kreider, Brent; Pepper, John V.; Gundersen, Craig; Jolliffe, Dean, Forthcoming in Journal of the American Statistical Association

The literature assessing the efficacy of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, has long puzzled over positive associations between SNAP receipt and various undesirable health outcomes such as food insecurity. Assessing the causal impacts of SNAP, however, is hampered by two key identification problems: endogenous selection into participation and extensive systematic underreporting of participation status. Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), we extend partial identification bounding methods to account for these two identification problems in a single unifying framework. Specifically, we derive informative bounds on the average treatment effect of SNAP on child food insecurity, general poor health, obesity, and anemia across a range of different assumptions used to address the selection and classification error problems. In particular, to address the selection problem we apply relatively weak nonparametric assumptions on the latent outcomes, selected treatments, and observed covariates. To address the classification error problem, we formalize a new approach that uses auxiliary administrative data on the size of the SNAP caseload to restrict the magnitudes and patterns of SNAP reporting errors. Layering successively stronger assumptions, an objective of our analysis is to make transparent how the strength of the conclusions varies with the strength of the identifying assumptions. Under the weakest restrictions, there is substantial ambiguity: we cannot rule out the possibility that SNAP increases or decreases poor health. Under stronger but plausible assumptions used to address the selection and classification error problems, we find that commonly cited relationships between SNAP and poor health outcomes provide a misleading picture about the true impacts of the program. Our tightest bounds identify favorable impacts of SNAP on child health.

Published Version