2015 Annual Report

Cochran Program for Nigeria: Food Supply Chain and Distribution

In April, NCFAP hosted six Fellows from Nigeria in the Cochran Fellowship Program for training on food supply chains and distribution. The Northern California/Nevada region was ideal for the Fellows, as their primary purpose was to understand how producers are connected with buyers/consolidators who provide fresh products to hotels, restaurants, and large scale retail facilities. The six members of the Nigerian delegation include managers and chief operating officers from a hotel, food processing companies, a retail outlet, and wholesale distribution companies. These Fellows all share the goal of creating a push/pull incentive for improving both the supplied quality and the demand for the products, with an end result of increasing sales due to higher quality products appearing in markets for longer periods of time.

Cochran Program for Kazakhstan: Agricultural Extension

During the month of May, NCFAP provided training in agricultural Extension structure and management for six Extension Directors from Kazakhstan in the Cochran Fellowship Program. The visits to Iowa and Washington, DC allowed the Fellows to gain knowledge and skills to improve agricultural policy and make a positive impact on Kazakh agriculture, since the goal of this activity was to assist them in establishing a modern extension system and enhancing agricultural sustainability and food security in Kazakhstan. The training topics focused on an overview of Extension services and management from the federal, state, and local levels, as well as teaching methodologies for system delivery in Kazakhstan.

Cochran Program for Pakistan: Processed Food Importing and Marketing

In June, NCFAP hosted seven importers and retailers from Pakistan for a Cochran Program on U.S. processed foods and procurement/export processes. The goal was to give the Pakistan delegation a well-rounded set of visits in the US covering practices that are different due to the nature of the processed foods and the organization of supply chains and domestic and export markets. The program began by attending the Food Marketing Institute Connect Expo in Chicago, IL, where the Fellows learned about marketing and merchandising best practices, saw new trends in product development, and had opportunities to build new and existing relationships with trading partners. The visit continued in California to further investigate the processed food markets, supply chain management, processing facilities, and import/export possibilities.

AVMA Contract: the Demand for Veterinary Services

2015 was the 2nd year NCFAP worked under contract with the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) to study consumer demand for veterinary services. In 2015, NCFAP Senior Fellows analyzed the AVMA’s 2012 Pet Ownership and Demographic Survey (PDS) data to explain why about 20% of dog owners and 40% of cat owning households did not take their pet to a veterinarian in the past year. Our findings were presented at the 2015 annual meetings of the American Agricultural Economics Association in San Francisco. NCFAP Senior Fellows also led a new project in 2015 that pilot-tested new survey questions, focusing on the market for veterinary services for companion animal health care. NCFAP worked with Iowa State University’s Center for Survey Statistics and Methodology (ISU-CSSM) to design and implement a set of surveys, compared for accuracy by validating a subset of each survey’s responses in collaboration with veterinary industry partners. The findings were presented to the AVMA. This led to an invitation to NCFAP to propose a new plan for the redesign and implementation of the AVMA’s 2017 Pet Ownership and Demographic Survey, and a major new effort to document demand in distinct metropolitan areas, integrate the metro market studies, and annually update the 2017 PDS through 2021.

Cooperative Agreement with USDA/OCE

2015 was the 3rd year of our cooperative agreement with USDA Office of the Chief Economist. We investigated the impacts of biofuel prices on the CPI and PPI. This year (2016) we will investigate the tariffs imposed by the EU on ethanol and soy diesel. The objective is to conduct research to determine the consequences of the impacts and distortions of domestic and world prices. This is a problem because the tariffs are double on imports from the USA. We are evaluating the domestic impacts of these tariffs for the internal market within the EU as well as impacts on international prices. There are indications that the tariff is higher than necessary to protect the EU market, and higher than necessary for adding income in the EU.

America Institutes for Research (AIR) Food Safety Research Project

NCFAP has a subcontract with AIR to investigate the impact of food safety research on modifications in the industry, and more specifically, the downstream impact of federal grants for food safety research from NSF, NIH and USDA on food safety and US industry. The project is financed by the USDA; the research team includes NYU, NCFAP, Georgia Tech, ERS and the University of California, Davis. When complete, it will be the first application of “Big Data” to assess the impacts of university research. We will present findings at the 2016 American Agricultural Economics Association meetings in Boston. In addition, the team has a contract with Cambridge University Press for publication of the results of this work. The project originally looked at 11 universities; now its scope includes two thirds of the major USA Universities.

AgroInvest Project in Ukraine

Agroinvest is a large project by USAID in Ukraine. NCFAP is a subcontractor on this major grant, and was called on during 2015 to review the sub-projects of Agroinvest. A new project is being planned and again (in 2016) NCFAP will be involved, this time for more effort. The new project will address land reform, agricultural markets, rural development, and small farm business in Ukraine.

AgConversions Project

AgConversions is start-up firm whose goal is to commercialize a technology suite that converts animal manures into productive soil amendments that are toxin- and pathogen-free as well as release substantially lower greenhouse gasses. For AgConversions, NCFAP coordinates R&D efforts, reports GHG emission analyses and does regulatory compliance and market research. NCFAP works with the Family Farms Group in Illinois, researchers at the University of California, Davis and the inventor at Amiran Technologies in Wisconsin. The upside potentials for livestock agriculture, soil productivity, the mitigation of climate change, and water quality resulting from this project are substantial.

4-H and Agricultural Sector Modeling for Kazakhstan

This new project builds on the 2014 project in Kazakhstan. In 2015 we further developed two major projects funded by FAO. The first concerned implementing a 4-H program in Kazakhstan. NCFAP is working with 4-H to develop this project. The second is the construction of a set of agricultural sector models for Kazakhstan. We will build crop sector models in year 1, livestock sector models in year 2, and models of sector aggregates such as revenues and expenses in year 3. If approved, the models will be operated domestically and internationally twice per year, in coordination with FAPRI models.

IFPRI “Policy, Institutions and Markets” Project Evaluation

NCFAP, along with a group of international economists, participated in an evaluation of International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) efforts on agricultural sector modeling in and for countries around the world, in collaboration with the World Bank. The UN FAO was the major contractor. There were a number of components to this evaluation: country price and production models, static CGE models, and dynamic CGE models. NCFAP Board Chair Stan Johnson evaluated the dynamic CGE models. The evaluation is now complete and accepted by IFPRI and by the World Bank.

AGRISPACE: Space, land and society (Norway)

2015 was the 2nd year of NCFAP’s research contributions to the AGRISPACE project coordinated by The Norwegian Center for Rural Research, financed by The Research Council of Norway. In 2015 NCFAP Senior Fellow Maureen Kilkenny collaborated with a spatial research expert at the Norwegian Institute for Forest and Land to begin the analysis of geo-referenced Norwegian farm level data, formalizing a set of testable hypotheses about how land use intensity varies with distance from towns or market centers. In March of 2015, NCFAP’s Senior Fellow presented the paper and participated in the annual project meeting in Selbu, Norway. NCFAP’s collaboration on AGRISPACE will continue through 2017.

University of Missouri-Russian Higher Education

NCFAP reviewed and participated in the development of a University of Missouri/Russian Higher Education Proposal. The project is funded by USAID to increase knowledge about food security. The task for NCFAP was to elaborate course curricula, adding content about food security, especially related to food security policy in different countries, and non-agriculture determinants of food security. The proposed classes (short courses) will be offered at Moscow State University beginning in 2016.