My research focus areas include Livestock Economics, Animal Health Economics, Farm Business Management, and Rural Development. See below for more detail on research completed and projects in progress.

U.S. Cow-Calf Production Efficiency

The objective of this study is to examine the efficiency of beef cow-calf production across key producing areas in the United States. This study will estimate technical, allocative, scale, and overall efficiency of cow-calf operations, as well as, identify how production characteristics and certain management decisions may impact production efficiency.

trends slideBeef cow-calf production in the United States is widespread, occurring in every state. Nearly 729,046 farms, about 36 percent of the 2.0 million farms in the United States, had a beef cow inventory in 2017. Most of these were small, part-time operations. Nearly 80 percent had fewer than 50 cows. Given that the cow-calf sector is the beginning of the beef industry structure, understanding the factors influencing profitability, efficiency, and changes in structure is very important. Beef cow-calf operations vary considerably in size, available resources, profitability, and the use of technology. This suggests room to improve management practices, both production and financial.

technical eff slideResults from this study will identify characteristics of producers with high efficiency and low efficiency operations in the cow-calf industry. Analysis from this study will provide information about relative efficiency for the different producer classifications and will provide results that are directly applicable to producers within the cow-calf industry. In addition to providing an analysis of cow-calf production efficiencies across the United States, this study will add to the discussion as how to best estimate and parameterize efficiency measures (parametric vs non-parametric, profit maximizing vs cost minimizing, and input vs output orientation).

AAEA slide cover

Preliminary results focusing only on cow-calf production in Kansas were presented virtually as a part of the AAEA 2020 Annual Conference.

Presentation Slides: AAEA 2020  – Assessing Efficiency of US Cow-Calf Operations

Animal ID & Traceability in the Beef Industry

Abstract: Livestock traceability has increasingly become a focus for the USDA, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, high-volume beef-exporting states, and other beef industry stakeholders. The focus on traceability within the U.S. began after several international animal disease outbreaks and continues to be of importance with African Swine Flu spreading across Asia. Mitigating adverse future disease outbreaks, as well as maintaining export markets through a positive international perception of U.S. beef has become a top priority. Implementing a national disease traceability program would enable the industry to track and reduce the potential losses due to an outbreak. However, such a system comes at a large cost, mainly to cow-calf producers.

Cattle-Trace-LogoThis study utilizes an equilibrium displacement model (EDM) to determine the impact of a disease outbreak within the U.S. The analysis compares the impact of a disease outbreak, both with and without a cattle disease traceability system in place. Utilizing the EDM allows us to provide a comparison of how the various beef sectors would need to respond to offset the costs of a national disease traceability program.

Preliminary Results: The direct cost estimate to implement a national beef traceability program is approximately $150 million. The economic impacts of such a program are a little harder to estimate, but a partial equilibrium displacement model is used to determine the impact, as well as what changes in domestic and international beef demand would be needed to offset the cost of implementing a national program. A 17.7% increase in international beef demand would off-set implementation costs, while an increase in 1.9% of domestic demand would offset implementation costs.

Full results presented at the Southern Agricultural Economics Association Annual Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky Feb. 1-4, 2020.

See our industry symposium presentation here: CattleTrace Symposium

making cents

Food Security in West Africa

Abstract: Food security is always a concern for consumers, but especially for those in West Africa, where the population of food insecure people has continued to grow over the past decade despite attempts by initiatives such as the World Food Program and the establishment of Millennium Development Goals. The people of West Africa are subject to repetitive natural disasters and are often in political upheaval. Many economic policies have been established to mitigate the impact that production disasters have on the consumers; one of these policies is the utilization of regional food reserves.

IMG_1231In 2010, the Economic Community of West African States began to develop a Regional Food Reserve. To analyze the effect a Regional Food Reserve could have on West African consumers due to a production shock, a spatial partial equilibrium model was utilized to analyze reserve stock management and its impact on price behavior and food security at a regional level.

The model allowed for projected increases in population and gross domestic product (GDP). After creating a deterministic base year for 2013, 2018, and 2023, the impact of a production shock (based on historical and projected data) was simulated. Analysis of these shocks suggests the maximum reserve size needed to address the greatest decrease in consumption is approximately 187 (1000MT).

Full Report: Regional Food Reserve for West Africa

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