2017 Annual Report

Cochran Program for Egypt

In September 2017, NCFAP hosted a delegation from Egypt in the USDA Cochran program that included providing the Fellows with information on U.S. tree nut production, purchasing, marketing, processing, and tree nut-related products.  The delegation was given access to information from tree nut production and marketing representatives, state officials, and processors.  In our discussions, we reviewed information on processors and production practices, export and shipping regulations, food safety, marketing, packaging, and practices for tree nut-related products. They made contacts in the U.S. that will be of value in responding to specific questions or issues that may arise in their work, as well as significant contacts for the importation of tree nuts that will increase trade between the U.S. and Egypt.

2017 Pet Ownership and Demographics Survey

The Pet Ownership and Demographic Survey (PDS) is conducted for the US population (households) every 5 years.  The 2017 PDS survey was conducted by NCFAP under contract with the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).  This survey included techniques that were advanced over those used in previous years in several ways. The survey was stratified, cleaned, and edited to omit schedules that were not complete and post sample weighted.  In addition, the survey contained new questions about veterinary services performed by other entrants onto the service: big box stores, clinics, animal shelters, and treated at home.  The PDS will be published in early 2018 and made available to all veterinarians and service providers by the AVMA.  We are at work developing 6 multi-market surveys to administer during the interim years and that will be used to verify regional and other differences in survey results and provide a basis for updating the PDS on an annual basis.

Cooperative Agreement with USDA/OCE

NCFAP is again working with the USDA/OCE developing papers for journals on international oilseeds markets and the likelihood that China will come into the ethanol market, beginning in 2018. Specifically, we are taking the oilseeds complex (soy, rapeseeds, palm oil, and canola) and using the past series of prices to anticipate the impact of China entering the market. The history on prices will include the US ethanol mandate and the EU biodiesel mandate for comparison.  A second paper will investigate the substitutability of oilseeds for petroleum in terms of prices. There have been significant shifts in petroleum prices in the international price history and we intend to sort out the possibility of substitutability in these oil uses.

Federal Grant Analysis Project with America Institutes for Research

NCFAP participated in a two-year Federal Grant Analysis Project with the America Institutes for Research.  The outcome was a book that was published through Cambridge University Press entitled Measuring the Economic Value of Research: The Case of Food Safety.  The book is co-authored by Kaye Husbands Fealing, Julia I. Lane, Jon L. King, and Stanley R. Johnson. The book takes 19 universities in the US and uses data newly available on PJs, Graduate Students, Post docs, and Census available data on salaries beyond graduation for students and post docs to infer their involvement of food safety research.  This is a pilot study and since NCFAP undertook this study, there are currently there are over 100 universities that have joined the data system.  It is anticipated that this book will be used by other researchers to develop journal papers and additional books. It is featured on the NCFAP website.

  • NCBA Public Lands Council

NCFAP has a contract with the Public Lands Council of the National Cattlemen’s Association to investigate the causes for cattle numbers declining in the Basin and Range Region of the U.S. The decline has been around 30 percent over the past 10 years.  One of the reasons for the decline could be the rapid invasion of invasive species in the Basin and Range Region. The key invasive species is cheatgrass which in many counties now occupies around 20 – 30 percent of the land, much of which is managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the USDA Forest Service. Interestingly these two agencies do not permit the grazing of cheatgrass.  However, research at the University of Nevada has shown that cheatgrass can be grazed during the fall for about 2 months, reducing the fire hazard from this combustible grass.  We will utilize different assumptions about the grazing of cheatgrass, as well as applications of community economic models and fire models to assess the possibility of targeted grazing for cheatgrass and implications for the economy and fire resistance in the Basin and Range Region.

  • U.S. Soybean Export Council

One of the NCFAP Senior Fellows is leading a study for the U.S. Soybean Export Council on the Impacts of Possible Chinese Protection on U.S. Soybeans.  To accomplish the task, the researchers are using the GTAP model as a vehicle to project impacts of imposing a tariff on China’s soybean imports from the US. GTAP was initially developed to study the economic implications of trade policies and has been used in this area more than any other economic model. They are using an advanced version of this model, named GTAP-BIO. This model has been developed and frequently used to examine the economic and land use impacts of biofuel production and policies. This model can trace production, consumption, and trade of all types of goods and services (including soybeans, soybeans oil, and soybean meals) at the global scale. They will update the GTAP-BIO data base, provide a simulation with the updated data, and prepare sensitivity and economic analyses.

  • Agricultural Conversions Project

The agricultural conversions project is underway at the University of California, Davis.  Experiments for crops are being conducted to determine whether or not the conversions process can improve soil and increase fertilization compared to standard commercial fertilizers applied.  The advantage of converted manure in addition to soil conditioner and fertilizer is that it will render a manure product with no smell and one that is pathogen free. We are progressing with these experiments and will have growth chambers results and field results available at the end of the summer. At that point, in time we will have the kind of results that will make it possible to appeal to a commercial company to produce this machinery, which can be adjusted for size to various livestock facilities and treat manure on a daily basis.   We are working with a first-rate soil scientist at Davis to produce these results who is well-connected with the California environmental sector.

  • Agricultural Sector and 4-H Models for Kazakhstan

NCFAP has proposals before the leaders in the Kazakhstan government and we are currently awaiting their approval. This project may or may not materialize, depending on the decisions of the Kazakh government. We have waited for about one year without real response.

  • Proposed Training Program for Agricultural Leaders

NCFAP has developed a proposal for utilizing our fellows and our position in Washington, DC to educate those in commodity associations, universities, state government, and the private sector about the operations of various agencies and the Congress that may interest them. We have presented this proposal to several organizations and believe that is has great possibilities for constituents of these organizations to come to Washington, DC and learn about how the US government and the privates sector located in DC operates.