Organic Sector Innovations
In October 2005, ERS co-sponsored an interdisciplinary workshop on organic agriculture, “Innovations in Organic Marketing, Technology, and Research,” along with the USDA’s Risk Management Agency; USDA’s Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service; and Farm Foundation. The U.S. organic sector has experienced growing pains and low adoption levels for some crops during the past few years, as well as rapidly growing consumer demand. Speakers from USDA, universities, State agencies, organic associations, and other organizations joined over 100 participants in exploring key challenges and opportunities for organic producers and processors. Speakers’ presentations and a workshop summary are available on the Farm Foundation website. Catherine Greene.
Global Food Markets
In October 2005, ERS hosted the 46th annual conference of the Food Distribution Research Society, in Washington, DC. “Global Food Markets, New Challenges, New Opportunities” was the theme of the 3-day conference, which featured panel sessions covering such topics as firm market access strategies, product quality and safety, global food market strategies for improving diet and health, and the prospects for further growth in global food markets. Panel participants included members of the food industry, university researchers, and government agencies. Invited papers and research presentation abstracts will be published in the Journal of Food Distribution Research, Proceedings issue.
Impacts of Tobacco Program Elimination
In September 2005, ERS and Farm Foundation co-hosted a workshop in Washington, DC, “Impacts of the Tobacco Quota Buyout.” The tobacco industry is facing unprecedented change as the quota and price support program is replaced by free-market policies. With implementation of the Fair and Equitable Tobacco Reform Act of 2004, U.S. tobacco acreage is projected to fall by 25 percent in 2005. This workshop brought together leaf dealers, manufacturers, and representatives from trade associations, government, cooperatives, and higher education to provide insights into such questions as: Which producers have left tobacco production and where is production expanding? How are lower prices, combined with increasing efficiencies, affecting the competitiveness of U.S. tobacco in world markets? How are manufacturers and leaf dealers changing procurement policies? Insights developed through this workshop will be used to guide future research. Tom Capehart.
Second Annual Taylor Lecture
In September 2005, ERS hosted the second annual lecture in the Henry C. Taylor Lecture series. A pioneer in the field of agricultural economics, Taylor helped to create the Bureau of Agricultural Economics, the predecessor of ERS, and served as its first director. Professor Vernon L. Smith, a 2002 Nobel Laureate, traced the development of experimental auctions to simulate and study the functioning of markets. Recognizing that Taylor was also the first leader of the Farm Foundation, the event concluded with a presentation of the Taylor Commemorative Plaque to Smith by current Farm Foundation President Walt Armbruster. This annual lecture series is designed to promote discourse on contemporary economic issues of interest to agricultural economists within and outside ERS and USDA.