2014 Annual Report

Programs and Projects Accomplished in 2014

Cochran Program for Legal Framework and Compliance Procedures for Organic Products: Brazil – Latin America and Caribbean Region

NCFAP hosted a delegation through the Brazil Ministry of Agriculture (MAPA) that showcased how the USDA handles organic products and the procedures established to guarantee compliance with regulations. The general goal of this training program was to build bilateral cooperation between MAPA and USDA, as the FAS office in Brazil seeks to improve transparency and market access requirements, and reduce bureaucracy, in order to promote exports of organic products from the United States to Brazil. These general objectives were accomplished by personal instruction and visits to USDA to learn of the federal regulations and enforcement procedures, as well as to farms in Nevada and California to learn about farmer perspectives and local regulations.

Cochran Program for Bulgaria on Tree Nut Processing: Eastern Europe and Eurasia

NCFAP hosted the Cochran Program for Bulgaria on Tree Nut Processing, which provided the Fellows with a better understand the processing to the end usage of U.S. tree nuts, specifically almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pecans, and hazelnuts. The training program introduced the Fellows to U.S. methods and technologies, since the goal of this activity was to enhance the sustainability of the Bulgarian horticulture sector in an effort to encourage future U.S. trade relationships. The program included visits with the hazelnut industry in Oregon, as well as in the Central Valley of California to see the pecan, pistachio, almond, and walnut industries. We spent time in each area showing the Bulgarian delegation tree nut production, processing, and regulation in the U.S., as well as access to industry organizations and state officials, retailers, processors, and growers. In our discussions, we reviewed the cultural practices and processes that would assist in their production in Bulgaria.

Price and Income Elasticities for National Veterinary Service Providers

NCFAP contracted with the American Veterinary Medical Association for a study to develop estimates of price and income elasticites for the veterinary services provided by the nearly 100,000 veterinary service providers in the US. This is a three-year project, and will utilize data from the Pet Demographic Survey (PDS) which includes zip codes, census tracts, records of individual consumers and will be combined with other results from previous studies to develop these estimates. To date, veterinarians have used only cost based pricing schemes, more or less ignoring systematic information from the demand side of the pricing equation. We are developing these elasticity estimates for different kinds of veterinary practices, large animal, dogs and cats, equine and mixed practices—first for dogs. Also, the analysis provides new information on the possible over supply of veterinary services in different locations and opportunities for expanding services in markets that are under served. With this information on elasticities, the veterinary services providers will be better positioned to serve their customers in the US.

Space, land and society: challenges and opportunities for production and innovation in agriculture based value chains (AGRISPACE)

NCFAP Senior Fellow Dr. Maureen Kilkenny has been assisting researchers on this four year research project coordinated by The Norwegian Center for Rural Research and financed by The Research Council of Norway. The overarching objective of AGRISPACE is to provide comprehensive knowledge on challenges and opportunities for sustainable growth in production and innovation in land-based bio-production across space. Through interdisciplinary research and innovative and ambitious methods of spatial analysis AGRISPACE reseachers explore the four interrelated thematic areas of: Spatial variation and the effects of this variation on the utilization of land resources; Spatial variation in products and production methods (types); Factors and conditions that promote or restrict value creation in biobased value chains; Goals and goal conflicts in agricultural policy and policy instruments. The researchers are evaluating the effects of these for a bio-economic transition in land-based production. AGRISPACE researchers and stakeholders are discussing various development trajectories or scenarios for Norwegian agriculture and suggesting policies to achieve desirable outcomes. This project began in 2014 and is on-going, with papers to come in 2015.

Federal Grant Analysis Project with America Institutes for Research (AIR)

NCFAP is cooperating in a new major project designed to estimate the relationship of government funded research on research findings and published results on the advancement of science. The grant is to America Institutes for Research (AIR) and covers the USDA, HHS, NSF and other agencies that fund research at major universities. The research approach is be to use new key word association, searching grant proposals and the literature for coincidence in key words or groups to identify areas of research and outcomes in terms of published journal articles and technical reports. NCFAP’s responsibilities will be to relate the development of the statistical models for this “scanning” analysis with the identification of the key words for linking research areas in the proposals and the published research outputs. This new area of research is being led by several major research institutions in the US—AIR and Georgia Tech University as well as NCFAP.

AgroInvest Project in Ukraine

NCFAP has contracted with “AgroInvest,” a USAID funded project to assist in the development of new agricultural policy in Ukraine. We are working through the University of Missouri in providing this policy assistance. Thus far we have provided a background paper on food security policy that followed an initial food security law that was vetoed by the Ukraine President. This law was rather confused relating food security to agricultural production rather than treating it as a social problem to be addressed directly. We provided comments on this initial draft law from last year and now the Ukraine government is considering rewriting it and submitting it again to the political process. NCFAP is also working on the development of a major agricultural reform which is set to be considered next year. This reform if enacted will bring the Ukraine closer to a set of policies that are more market oriented.

Agricultural Conversions Project

NCFAP is in the process of assisting in the commercialization of a process for converting animal manure into a soil enhancement ingredient or low NPK fertilizer. We are supervising the research on the stability of the fertilizer output, the soil capacity for accepting the low NPK fertilizer, and other technical issues. We expect to have these research projects completed in about one year, and ready to commercialize the conversion process. The process uses hydro-dynamic cavatation to produce a fertilizer that is pathogen free, drug residual free, has no odor and minimized GHG emissions It also includes many of the micro nutrients needed for soil health productivity. Projections made for the commercialization indicate that the related company could be quite profitable producing the converted fertilizer at about the same price per ton as compost. We are prepared to start this process this year and have lead scientists for the University of California, Davis and the University of Alberta to manage the technical aspects of the research needed to secure patents and operating permissions from state environmental offices.

Agricultural Sector Model for Kazakhstan

NCFAP continued the project with FAO for assisting to build an agricultural extension system for the country. As a part of the effort, we presented a proposal for developing an annual agricultural sector model for the nation. The project would build a model partnered after the FAPRI system of national models. We are set to learn about the acceptance of the proposal this through an agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture. We have also proposed a national 4 H program for Kazakhstan with the National 4-h Foundation of the USA. When agreed we will start the ag sector model with major commodities, wheat, grain sorghum, barley and others and proceed to more specialty crops for Kazakhstan. The first version of the model was available at the end of 2014.

World Bank IFPRI Policy, Institutions and Markets Project Evaluation

During 2014 the FAO contracted with NCFAP to assist in the evaluation of this relatively new project. NCFAP participated with a team from Germany, France and the USA in the evaluation which snow completed. NCFAP conducted matching analysis for six separate projects all in foreign nations and prepared two longer reports-one on a CGE biofuels model for the EU and one for a Trade Analysis Model.