Research Briefs from the ISU Department of Economics

AgDM Newsletter
November 2012

Research Briefs from the ISU Department of Economics: Streamlined access to data reflects change at ICIP

Open access to data on the Internet doesn’t always mean that it’s easy to find. That’s why Liesl Eathington, director of the Iowa Community Indicators Program (ICIP), has worked to streamline what she now offers on a revamped website found at

ICIP, housed in the Department of Economics at Iowa State University, provides data resources to the general public as a means for understanding regional economic and demographic change. The center also provides data and analysis services that help inform local decision making, policy develop­ment and strategic planning processes.

The new site coincides with an official name change to ICIP, formerly called the Regional Economics & Community Analysis Program (ReCAP). Says Eathington, “Both of these changes reflect an effort to speed up the search process for people seeking community-level indicators for a variety of purposes.”

ICIP’s new site is easier for users to navigate, makes frequently requested items more prominent and hones in on a smaller range of offerings. “As more data is available on more sites, there’s less need for us to try to do everything,” she says. “We want to try to help people locate things quickly and to put things into formats that are easy to understand.”

Construction of the site is not complete, and the addition of an expanded reference section with help and other resources is yet to come. “It’s challenging to make the site keep up with the demands that people have and the amounts and types of data that are available,” she says.

Eathington appreciates feedback on these changes and is receptive to any direct questions through a phone call or e-mail. “You can waste hours searching for something,” she admits. “With ICIP, there’s a person behind the site who is happy to answer your questions.”

ICIP is a coordinating agency in the State Data Center of Iowa network, part of a federal-state cooperative program providing census data and expertise to local data users. It is supported by the ISU Department of Economics, ISU Department of Sociology and ISU Extension and Outreach Community and Economic Development.


Research Briefs from the ISU Department of Economics: Dan Otto retires

Dan Otto, professor, extension economist and associate program director of ISU Extension and Outreach Community and Economic Development, retired at the beginning of November after 32 years with the department. “I’ve enjoyed the people in the department and appreciate the cali­ber of the programs and the respect and acknowledgment that we receive,” he said.
Otto plans to pursue hobbies and interests such as biking, traveling, cooking and history. He and his wife, Fran Antonovitz, formerly with the ISU Department of Economics, will continue to reside in Ames, but will enjoy part of their year in Florida. View photos of Otto’s retirement reception at


Research Briefs from the ISU Department of Economics: Recent publication by Hennessy and Jensen

David Hennessy, Helen Jensen, and Fengxia Dong’s article, “Factors determining milk quality and implications for production structure under somatic cell count standard modification,” was recently accepted for publication in the November issue of the Journal of Dairy Science, and has been selected as a highlighted article of the month. It will be available for viewing in November at


Research Briefs from the ISU Department of Economics: Hayes participates in U.S.-China agricultural investment group

Dermot Hayes, professor of economics and finance and the Pioneer Chair in Agribusiness at Iowa State University, is participating in a recent collaboration, supported by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs and The Paulson Institute, designed to discuss opportunities and constraints in U.S.-China agriculture-related cross-investment, examine successes and failures and explore po­tential investment models. Learn more about this work at


Research Briefs from the ISU Department of Economics: USDA funds department's ag co-op work

Keri Jacobs, Georgeanne Artz and Kevin Kimle of the Department of Economics were recent recipients of a $175,000 grant from the USDA to fund their work in agricultural cooperatives as part of the Iowa Alliance for Cooperative Business Development (IACBD).