Council on Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics 
Newsletter
Events in Washington, DC
February 17 at the National Press Club
Successful expansion of the bioeconomy is limited by the availability of affordable, sustainable, high-performance feedstock. Delivery of this valuable resource starts with production on farms, in forests, and in other systems for producing biomass. These systems have been enhanced by valuable innovations that maximize yield, improve harvest efficiencies, and optimize biomass quality characteristics. Still, the cost of harvesting/collecting, transporting, storing, and pre-processing biomass into feedstock that may be converted into biofuels and biobased products is a key factor in determining the market feasibility of the bioeconomy. The event convened biofuel feedstock logistics, production, and economic experts from across the nation to talk about the supply chain logistics and a vision for the future. Videos are available on C-FARE's YouTube page. Sponsored by C-FARE and OCE OEPNU.  
 
Rural Economic Outlook: Setting the Stage for the Next Farm Bill - February 15
The House Committee on Agriculture held a meeting on the rural economic outlook.
  •  Dr. Robert Johansson, Chief Economist, United States Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC
  •  Dr. Nathan Kauffman, Assistant Vice President and Omaha Branch Executive, Omaha Branch - Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Omaha, NE
  •   Dr. Joe Outlaw, Professor and Extension Economist, Texas A&M University, Department of Agricultural Economics, College Station, TX
  • Dr. Patrick Westhoff, Professor, Director for the Food and Agricultural Research Institute, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO
  • Dr. D. Scott Brown, Assistant Extension Professor, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO
House Human Resources Subcommittee held a hearing entitled "The Geography of Poverty". The hearing examined how the geography of poverty has changed over time; the differences between urban, suburban, and rural poverty; and how efforts to address poverty may vary to account for geographical differences.   See the testimony of Mark Partridge, Professor, Swank Chair in Rural-Urban Policy, Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics, The Ohio State University.
 
February 13 at the Russell Senate Office Building & Longworth House Office Building
Researchers discussed the current condition, approaches for communicating and assisting farmers, and policy research. The agricultural economy has changed dramatically over the last decade, going from a position of high commodity prices and strong net income to a situation of increasing financial stress because increased global production and stagnant demand leading to falling commodity prices. Speakers included:
  • Jason R Henderson, Collegeof Agriculture, Associate Dean and Director of Purdue Extension
  • Allen Featherstone, Department Head and Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, Kansas State University
  • Jeff Hopkins, Chief of the Farm Economy Branch in the Resource and Rural Economics Division at the USDA Economic Research Service
Sponsored by C-FARE, NC-FAR, AAEA and the Cooperative Extension System.  
 
The House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture, held a hearing to examine the international market development programs administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service. Members heard from a variety of witnesses in the agricultural industry who discussed the critical nature of these programs in increasing and enhancing access to overseas markets. The hearing was a continuation of the committee's hearing series on the next farm bill. Here is link to the testimony of  Dr. Gary Williams, Professor of Agricultural Economics & Co-Director of the Food, Agribusiness and Consumer Economics Research Center, Texas A&M University, College
 
Upcoming Events in Washington, DC 
The two-day conference is co-hosted by Virginia Tech's Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, and the Port of Virginia (POV).  The event will bring together producers, agribusinesses, entrepreneurs, exporters, foreign ambassadors and government ministers, land-grant university leadership, state and federal government officials, and others to discuss challenges and opportunities for global agricultural exports. Register for event here .
 
March 29, 2017 - Global Food Security Symposium 
Convened annually by the Council's Global Agricultural Development Initiative, the symposium on global agriculture and food security provides a platform for discussion about the US government and international community's progress on addressing the problem of food insecurity. Register here.

Other events can be found at the Hagstrom Report Calendar here.  
Request for Applications
Professional Development Program (PDP) competitive grants emphasize training agricultural educators in extension, Natural Resources Conservation Service, private, and not-for-profit sectors, using farmers as educators and addressing emerging issues in the farm community. Funding: $30,000 to $75,000;Contact: Rob Myers ( myersrob@missouri.edu )
 
Synopsis: The State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) provides financial assistance in the form of grants to implement irrigation systems that reduce greenhouse gases and save water on California agricultural operations. Deadline:  March 14, 2017; Funding: $4,500,000; Contact: grants@cdfa.ca.gov
 
  The overall purpose of this FOA is to establish or enhance State and Territory Produce Safety Programs to encourage the safe production of fresh fruits and vegetables and to promote compliance with the requirements of FDA's Regulation "Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption". Deadline: April 3, 2017; Funding: $130,000,000; Contact: Dan Lukash ( daniel.lukash@fda.hhs.gov )
 
Farm Business Management and Benchmarking (FBMB) Competitive Grants Program
The Farm Business Management and Benchmarking (FBMB) Competitive Grants Program provides funds to (1) improve the farm management knowledge and skills of agricultural producers; and (2) establish and maintain a national, publicly available farm financial management database to support improved farm management. Deadline: April 11, 2017 ; Funding: $1,350,000; Contact: Brent Elrod ( belrod@nifa.usda.gov)

Synopsis: The Pollinator Health Fund focuses on research and technology development with direct impacts on pollinators in agricultural landscapes and applications to beekeeping, land management, and farming practices. Partnerships with businesses and non-profit organizations are encouraged to ground projects in the social and economic realities of beekeeping, farming, and ranching. Deadline: April 17, 2017; Funding: $4,000,000; Contact: Tawny Mata, Ph.D. ( tmata@foundationfar.org )
 
Synopsis: Depending on appropriations, NOAA Sea Grant expects to have available a total of $10,000,000-$12,000,000 across fiscal years 2017, 2018, and 2019 for a national initiative to increase aquaculture production in the short-term (2-4 years). This competition is designed to foster the expansion of sustainable U.S. marine, coastal, and Great Lakes aquaculture. Successful applications must outline integrated projects that clearly address major constraints, barriers, or hurdles limiting United States aquaculture production. See full FFO for examples. Deadline:  May 09, 2017; Funding: $12,000,000; Contact:  Ahlishia J'Nae Shipley ( ashipley@nifa.usda.gov)
 
Synopsis: The Energy for Sustainability program is part of the Chemical Process Systems cluster, which includes also 1) Catalysis; 2) Process Separations; and 3) Process Systems, Reaction Engineering, and Molecular Thermodynamics. The goal of the Energy for Sustainability program is to support fundamental engineering research that will enable innovative processes for the sustainable production of electricity and fuels, and for energy storage. Deadline: October 20, 2017; Funding: $13,093,00; Contact: grantsgovsupport@nsf.gov
Advisory Opportunities 
The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) seeks expert reviewers from academia, federal and state governments, industry, commodity groups, professional organizations, and other stakeholder groups to evaluate research proposals submitted in response to calls for proposals.

Interested parties are invited to submit a curriculum vitae (CV). The CV should include a description of education, work experience, and a list of peer-reviewed publications.  Experts will be placed in the FFAR database. Read more
here . Furthermore, The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) will now release Seeds of Innovation , a monthly newsletter bringing you the latest news and opportunities "fresh from FFAR"
 
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is seeking nominations for individuals to serve on the Committee to Advise the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). This standing committee provides ongoing and focused advice to the USGCRP. The committee convenes key thought leaders and decision makers at semiannual meetings, provides strategic advice and reviews, and supports climate communication activities across the Academies. 

News & Press Releases
  • February 24 - Trump's Deportation Policy Stands to Drive Up Farm WagesAcross America's orchards and crop fields, a shrinking supply of migrants has already driven pay up faster than in the broader workforce. President Donald Trump's immigration policy may turbocharge that trend.
  • February 23 - Retail Foods; The Retail Landscape of CanadaThe report provides an overview of the Canadian retail food sector for U.S. food producers that are exploring opportunities to export their products to Canada. In 2016, U.S. agricultural exports surpassed $20 billion to Canada, with $16 billion or nearly 80% comprised of high-value consumer food products (HVP).
  • February 16 - Mexican ag minister head to Argentina, BrazilMexican Agriculture Minister Jose Calzada is planning to travel to Argentina and Brazil to talk about easing Mexican imports of commodities from those countries.
  • February 15 - President Trump trade advisers take friendly fire before Senate Finance - The Senate Finance Committee members held back-to-back closed-door meetings the Administration's two trade advisers - Peter Navarro, chairman of the newly created White House National Trade Council, and Jason Greenblatt, President Trump's special representative for international negotiations.
  • February 14 - Trudeau talks dairy with Ryan - House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., noted in a statement today that he had raised the issue of Canadian market access for U.S. dairy producers in his meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (source: The Hagstrom Report)
  • February 10, 2017 - ICE conducts immigration raids, California farmers worried - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) authorities arrested hundreds of undocumented immigrants in at least a half-dozen states in a series of raids. (source: The Hagstrom Report)
  • February 8, 2017 - The Next American Farm Bust Is Upon Us - A multi-year slump in prices for commodities is pushing farmers further into debt, raising concerns the U.S. could see its biggest wave of farm closures since the 1980s.
  • February 7 - Highlights From the February 2017 Farm Income Forecast - Farm sector profitability measures are mixed for 2017. A narrow cash-based measure, net cash farm income, is forecast to rise by $1.6 billion to $93.5 billion from the 2016 value, an increase of 1.8 percent. In contrast, net farm income is forecast to decline by 8.7 percent to $62.3 billion, the fourth consecutive year of declines after reaching a record high in 2013. The difference between the two profitability measures is expected to increase in 2017 largely due to an additional $8.2 billion in cash receipts from the sale of crop inventories. The net cash farm income measure counts those sales as part of current-year income while the net farm income measure counted the value of those inventories as part of prior year income. If realized, net farm income in 2017 will be the lowest since 2002, in inflation-adjusted terms.