Agricultural yields have increased steadily in the last half century, particularly since the Green Revolution. At the same time, inflation-adjusted agricultural commodity prices have been trending downward as increases in supply outpace the growth of demand. Recent severe weather events, biofuel mandates, and a switch toward a more meat-heavy diet in emerging economies have nevertheless boosted commodity prices. Whether this is a temporary jump or the beginning of a longer-term trend is an open question. Agricultural Productivity and Producer Behavior examines the factors contributing to the remarkably steady increase in global yields and assesses whether yield growth can continue. This research also considers whether agricultural productivity growth has been, and will be, associated with significant environmental externalities. Among the topics studied are genetically modified crops; changing climatic factors; farm production responses to government regulations including crop insurance, transport subsidies, and electricity subsidies for groundwater extraction; and the role of specific farm practices such as crop diversification, disease management, and water-saving methods. This research provides new evidence that technological as well as policy choices influence agricultural productivity.
The Farm Bill is one of the most important pieces of legislation the American president signs. Negotiated every five to seven years, it has tremendous implications for food production, nutrition assistance, habitat conservation, international trade, and much more. Yet at nearly 1,000 pages, it is difficult to understand for policymakers, let alone citizens. In this primer, Dan Imhoff and Christina Badaracco translate all the “legalease" and political jargon into an accessible, graphics-rich 200 pages.
Readers will learn the basic elements of the bill, its origins and history, and perhaps most importantly, the battles that will determine the direction of food policy in the coming years. The authors trace how the legislation has evolved, from its first incarnation during the Great Depression, to today, when America has become the world’s leading agricultural powerhouse. They explain the three main components of the bill—farm subsidies, food stamps or SNAP, and conservation programs—as well as how crucial public policies are changing.
As Congress ramps up debate about the next farm bill, we all need to understand the implications of their decisions. Will there be limits on subsidies to huge agribusinesses? Can we shift toward programs that reward sustainable farming practices? Will hungry kids get the help they need? These are questions that affect not only farmers, but everyone who eats. You have a stake in the answers. The Farm Bill is your guide.
Using economic models and empirical analysis, this volume examines a wide range of agricultural and biofuel policy issues and their effects on American agricultural and related agrarian insurance markets. Beginning with a look at the distribution of funds by insurance programs—created to support farmers but often benefiting crop processors instead—the book then examines the demand for biofuel and the effects of biofuel policies on agricultural price uncertainty. Also discussed are genetically engineered crops, which are assuming an increasingly important role in arbitrating tensions between energy production, environmental protection, and the global food supply. Other contributions discuss the major effects of genetic engineering on worldwide food markets. By addressing some of the most challenging topics at the intersection of agriculture and biotechnology, this volume informs crucial debates.
Agricultural protectionism is a basic factor underlying the U.S. trade deficit, Third World debt, and global underemployment. Yet despite the seriousness of the problem and attention given to it by many researchers, little progress has been made in formulating and implementing policies to deal with it. The scholars and experts here assembled present for the first time a quantification and analysis of the impact upon the world economy of reduction or elimination of agricultural protectionism. They question why, give the magnitude of the problem, inferior policies endure despite the weight of evidence that they have failed. The answer they derive is that there is no general understanding of the true cost of the failure, and therefore it is necessary to initiate reform from outside agricultural circles.