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AGree Commissioned Papers and Reports

New and Unique Provisions in the Agricultural Act of 2014:

This paper analyzes the Agricultural Act of 2014, which was signed into law by President Obama on February 7, 2014, following a long and contentious legislative journey. The paper explains new and unique aspects of programs such as conservation; crop insurance; the farm safety net; nutrition; food aid reform; local and regional food systems; and assistance to beginning farmers. Stephanie Mercier, 12 pages. March 2014.

Collaborative Management of Agricultural Landscapes: Achieving Measurable Conservation Improvements:

This report includes a thematic summary of the discussion, abstracts of the presentations, and the project descriptions from an AGree convened workshop on March 21, 2013, of leaders from a sampling of best-in-class watershed projects from across the U.S. 70 pages. July 2013.

Five Perspectives on Improving the U.S. Public Research, Education, and Extension System:

This compilation of five papers was written by independent authors in response to a call for concept notes issued by AGree to elicit bold ideas on strengthening the U.S. public sector agricultural research system, one of AGree’s priority strategies. By Liz Carlisle, Ferd Hoefner, Ariane Lotti, Albie Miles, Meredith Niles, Juli Obudzinski, Marjorie Porter, and Steve Ventura, 82 pages. June 2013.

Agricultural Conservation & Environmental Programs: The Challenge of Measuring Performance:

This report—which is based on a literature review and synthesis, as well as consultation with a diverse group of experts—summarizes the challenges of measuring environmental outcomes and reviews differing types of performance measures and their utility in measuring the effectiveness of practices, programs, and policies. The report seeks to enhance understanding of the ways in which agricultural and environmental policy might be assessed and integrated. By Sarah Bates, and Lynn Scarlett, with contributions from Matthew McKinney, Nathan Stone, and David Whisenand. 34 pages. April 2013.

Assessing the Impacts of Federal Farm Bill Programs on Rural Communities:

This report summarizes the impact of federal farm and food programs (commonly referred to as “the farm bill”) on rural communities in the United States. The report focuses on five areas: farm commodity programs; farm risk management, insurance, and disaster programs; agricultural conservation programs; food and nutrition programs; and rural development programs. By Douglas Jackson-Smith, Jessica D. Ulrich-Schad, and Curt Grimm. 46 pages. April 2013.

Public Food and Agricultural Research in the United States:The Rise and Decline of Public Investments, and Policies for Renewal:

The report shows how public funding for agricultural research and development (R&D) has declined markedly in recent decades. As the authors note, major competitors—most notably China—have not reduced their spending on agricultural R&D, and their agricultural productivity growth continues. The authors call for a doubling of total funding for agricultural R&D over the next 5–10 years. They cite this period as a crucial time to reposition the U.S. food and agricultural research and innovation system to address the changing scientific and market realities and note the related implications for food safety, nutrition, health, the agricultural workforce, and rural and community development. By Philip G. Pardey, Julian M. Alston and Connie Chan-Kang. 58 pages. April 2013.

AGree Year-End (2012) Farm Bill and Fiscal Cliff Update - Jan 4 2013:

Stephanie Mercier, former chief economist for the Senate Agriculture Committee summarizes the year-end Farm Bill and Fiscal Cliff. Congress voted on New Year’s Day to extend provisions of the 2008 farm bill through the end of fiscal year 2013 (FY13), September 30, 2013. This extension did not take the form developed by the leadership of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, which would have included a dairy policy reform package sought by the nation’s dairy producers, agricultural disaster assistance to help livestock and fruit and tree nut producers harmed by severe weather in 2012, and extension of most of 37 programs that were included in the 2008 farm bill but had no mandatory funding in the baseline beyond 2012. These provisions would have been paid for with a modest (2. 9 percent) cut to payment acreage for the direct payment program. By Stephanie Mercier. 3 pages. January 4, 2013

Soil Data Not Considered in Cornerstone U.S. Agricultural Policy:

This academic working paper by Joshua D. Woodard and Leslie J. Verteramo Chiu of Cornell University is not an official AGree publication and is intended to serve as an information resource. Joshua D. Woodard and Leslie J. Verteramo Chiu, February 2016.

Integrating High Resolution Soil Data into Federal Crop Insurance Rates: Actuarial, Policy, and Sustainability Implications:

This academic working paper by Joshua D. Woodard of Cornell University is not an official AGree publication and is intended to serve as an information resource. Joshua D. Woodard, January 2016.

Food and Agricultural Education in the United States:

This paper examines the evolution of U.S. food and ag education, its current structure, and how it must adapt to meet emerging challenges. Stephanie Mercier. 24 pages, July 2015.