AIC Quarterly: Volume 11, No. 2, 1997

Volume 11, No. 2, 1997 (html)



Volume 11. No. 2. 1997



The Agricultural Issues Center has been active these last few months completing projects and planning new work. New publications have been released, other studies are progressing to the editing stages, and some research is just now underway. Also, a few additions to the slate of AIC activities have begun.

We have initiated a new publication series, the AIC Issues Brief. As the name implies, these will be short summaries of research on topics of interest to California agriculture. Our objective is bring to a broad audience information from studies that might not otherwise be widely accessible. The first Issues Briefhas been released and the next few are on the way.

We are actively preparing for AIC participation in the Sacramento Conference of the International Association of Agricultural Economists. I am particularly excited about the plenary session on California agriculture that will include an address by California Secretary of Food and Agriculture Ann Veneman.

In the last AIC Quarterly, I introduced four new associate directors who have agreed to provide leadership to ongoing programs for AIC. In this newsletter, we provide a bit more background on each of these new associate directors and give some further information on plans for the Science and Technology Program led by Professor Julian Alston.

It gives me great pleasure to announce here that UC Berkeley Cooperative Extension Specialist Jerry Siebert has agreed to take on the added role of AIC Associate Director for Agribusiness Issues. Many of you know Jerry from his multi-faceted work with Cooperative Extension. In the next newsletter we will provide more information on Jerry’s background and his plans for the agribusiness area.

Finally, I want to express my appreciation for the job AIC Advisory Board Chair William Allewelt is doing in getting the Harold O. Carter Endowment off to such a great start. Bill Allewelt has long been a great citizen of the university community. I am sure he and his co-chairs will appreciate all the support you can provide as he broadens the Carter Endowment fund-raising efforts.


As indicated in the last AIC Quarterly, the Center has created program areas, each led by an Associate Director. The background and expertise of four new AIC Associate Directors are described below.

Julian M. Alston
Science and Technology

Julian M. Alston is a professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics of the UC Davis. He teaches graduate and undergraduate classes in microeconomic theory and the analysis of agricultural markets and policies.

Prior to beginning his current position in 1988, Alston was Chief Economist in the Department of Agriculture in Victoria, Australia, where he had been employed in various capacities since 1975. His experience in public policy analysis and advice, and in administration of a large scientific organization has shaped Alston’s research interests in the economic analysis of agricultural markets and public policies concerning agricultural incomes, prices, trade, and agricultural research and promotion. Along with many articles in professional journals, he is a co-author of two recent books:  Making Science Pay: The Economics of Agricultural R&D Policy and Science under Scarcity: Principles and Practice for Agricultural Research Evaluation and Priority Setting.

Alston was raised on the family farm in northern Victoria, Australia. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Science from the University of Melbourne in 1974; a Master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from La Trobe University in 1978; and a PhD in Economics from North Carolina State University in 1984.

Colin A. Carter
International Trade

Colin A. Carter has been a Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics at UC Davis for 12 years, after serving as a professor at the University of Manitoba. His research investigates problems related to agricultural policy and trade, with a focus on grain markets in the Pacific Rim. He has written extensively on state trading enterprises in grains. Carter has studied the internal grain economy in China and China’s participation in the international market. From 1986-89, Carter held a fellowship in international food systems from the Kellogg Foundation. Along with scores of professional journal articles, chapters and reports, Carter has co-authored several books, the topics of which include China’s grain markets, futures markets, and U.S. agricultural policy.

Carter was raised on a grain farm in Alberta, Canada, and received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Alberta. His PhD in Agricultural Economics is from UC Berkeley in 1980.

Alvin D. Sokolow
Rural/Urban Interactions

Alvin D. Sokolow is a Public Policy Specialist with UC Cooperative Extension, housed in the Department of Human and Community Development on the Davis campus. Formerly a Professor of Political Science at Davis for 27 years, his research and extension activities deal with issues and processes of community and state governance. He has published 72 journal articles, monographs and other reports. Current and recent work concentrates on farmland and land use policy in California, state-local public finance, and politics and policy in small communities. Sokolow has been a key participant in AIC projects since 1989, including the Williamson Act, Central Valley, and urban-agricultural edge projects. He is the editor of the Center’s series, California Farmland and Open Space Policy.

A Chicago native, Sololow’s degrees from the University of Illinois are: undergraduate in Journalism, and M.A. and PhD in Political Science. He has taught at Western Michigan University, Michigan State University, and the University of Illinois, and has been a visiting scholar at Montana State University and Miami University.

Keith Knapp
Resources and the Environment

Keith Knapp was born in Wichita, Kansas, and raised in Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa. He received a B.S. in Economics from Iowa State University in 1972. After two years of military service, his educational career resumed at Johns Hopkins University where he received a PhD from the College of Engineering in 1980, specializing in resource and environmental economics. He has been with UC Riverside since September of 1980. He is currently Professor of Resource Economics and Resource Economist in the Department of Soil and Environmental Sciences at UC Riverside.

Professor Knapp teaches four courses in resource and environmental economics at the undergraduate and graduate level. He has conducted research on irrigation management, salinity and drainage problems in the San Joaquin Valley, renewable resource management with an emphasis on groundwater, agricultural markets (grain reserves and perennial crops), and the implications of exhaustible resources for economic growth. Current research interests are generally the economics of natural resource use and environmental quality as related to irrigated agriculture with an emphasis on water management.



The AIC will co-sponsor an Executive Seminar on Agribusiness Issues at the Sacramento Hyatt on December 11, 1997. The theme of the seminar will be: “Where in the World are the Markets for California Agriculture?” Registration for the seminar will be $125. Watch for a detailed announcement and registration materials in early October.




In each of the next issues, The AIC Quarterly will introduce the new AIC program areas. New technology, resulting from private and public investments in agricultural R&D, has been the mainspring of agricultural economic development, and has driven the growth of agricultural productivity that sustains California’s competitiveness in domestic and world markets. Understanding the relationship between science and technology and agriculture, and the rural sector, has always been important.

A variety of newer policy issues relate to changes in public perceptions of, and policy related to, science and technology, evolving policies for public and private funding of agricultural R&D, changing institutional arrangements governing intellectual property, and changes in the technology of science itself, such as the development of modern biotechnology and information sciences. Emerging concerns about such issues as the relationship between agriculture and the environment, animal welfare, and food safety are bringing new challenges to agricultural science and technology policy.

The Science and Technology program in the Center is devoted to work on these issues. The current program of work includes (a) state-level analysis of the causes of growth in U.S. agricultural productivity over the post-war era, (b) analysis of the state-level variation of funding patterns of agricultural R&D at State Agricultural Experiment Stations during 1890-1990, (c) the effects of the U.S. Plant Variety Protection Act on U.S. wheat variety improvement, (d) the relationship between U.S. agricultural productivity and U.S. investments in international agricultural R&D, (e) measurement of the benefits from policy-oriented social science research, (f) the economics of biodiversity policy, and (g) international comparisons of agricultural R&D institutions and investments.



The AIC joined with the Farm Foundation and the Economic Research Service of the USDA to sponsor a study on farmers’ and managers’ responses to the 1996 FAIR Act. Warren Johnston, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, UC Davis, along with Dr. Lyle Schertz, retired from the USDA, conducted intensive round table discussions with producers and farm managers in eight regions nationally, including one in northern California. The results of this national study will be published by the Economic Research Service, USDA, and the results from the northern California round table will be featured in a forthcoming AIC Issues Brief.



The AIC is initiating a new publication series to provide results of research and analysis in a convenient, non-technical format. The AIC Issues Briefs will cover a variety of topics of interest to California agriculture. The first AIC Issues Brief is now available (see page 5) and the next three are under way. They will appear this summer and be distributed to our newsletter mailing list:

  1. Economic Impacts of Irrigation Water Cuts in the Sacramento Valley
    by Hyunok Lee, Daniel A. Sumner and Richard E. Howitt
  2. A Measure of Subsidy to California Agriculture
    by Daniel A. Sumner and David S. Hart
  3. Agricultural Trade and California Agriculture
    by Colin A. Carter
  4. Technology Innovations in California Agriculture
    by Julian M. Alston and David Zilberman



WILLIAM ALLEWELT, AIC Advisory Board Chair

At its spring meeting Dan Sumner and I proposed that the AIC Advisory Board initiate a campaign to establish a Harold O. Carter Endowment fund to help support Agricultural Issues Center programs. We suggested this as a highly appropriate and lasting tribute for Hal’s invaluable leadership as the Center’s founding Director. With the AIC Board’s encouragement, we formalized the proposal, just recently receiving Chancellor Vanderhoef’s authorization to commence fund raising.

With this, we are now recruiting friends of the Center to join us in providing leadership and direction to the fund-raising campaign. As we set out to identify prospective donors and set a campaign goal, we would very much appreciate help from readers of this newsletter.

If you can join us in this worthy effort, or know someone who might, simply inform an Advisory Board member or the Center. Your help can be vital. A successful campaign will depend on a broad base of support from everyone who has been touched by the Center’s important work.

It is most satisfying to be able to close this reporting with word that the campaign has already secured a very generous gift from Hal and Carol Sconyers. Hal is a Davis graduate and now serves on the Board of Trustees of the UC Davis Foundation. Carol is actively engaged with UC Davis affairs, most especially UC Davis Presents, an annual series of performing arts events sponsored by the campus.

Recently the Sconyers named the campus as beneficiary of a charitable trust to be shared equally by four designated programs. The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences is one of the four, but no specific college program was identified initially. Well, now it is. Their gift to the Harold O. Carter endowment is valued at $147,500! That’s a great start. Let’s make it grow!



With “Economic Impacts of Irrigation Water Cuts in the Sacramento Valley,” the Center initiates the AIC Issues Brief publication series.  AIC Issues Brief, Number One, by Hyunok Lee, Daniel A. Sumner and Richard E. Howitt focuses on the relationship between water, agriculture and the local economies of eight Sacramento Valley counties. Using a simulation model, the authors show that a 25 percent cutback in surface water supply for irrigation in a normal non-drought year (and without supplemental groundwater pumping) would result in substantial loss of farm revenue, jobs, and personal income in the Sacramento Valley counties most dependent upon agriculture. Moreover, the poorest counties would be hardest hit.

Our first AIC Issues Brief precedes the more extensive AIC publication which will describe the economic model and the complete results of this scenario, and three others.



On August 10-16, 1997, Sacramento hosts the triennial conference of the International Association of Agricultural Economists. The Center is well represented at these meetings with presentations by the Director and Associate Directors. The AIC is also sponsoring a display to make information on the Center more widely available.

Among the conference highlights is a plenary session on California agriculture chaired by AIC Director Dan Sumner. This session leads off with a presentation by California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman. It also features presentations by UC faculty on the economic history and breadth of California agriculture, marketing and resource issues, and agricultural policy. These faculty presentations are based on chapters from the book, California Agriculture: Issues and Challenges, edited by Jerome B. Siebert, UC Giannini Foundation, August 1997.



California’s Future: Maintaining Viable Agriculture at the Urban Edge

Who holds the keys to maintaining agriculture at the urban edge? What are the roles for legislators, genetic engineers, planners and waste management specialists? These questions, and the more specific challenge of reducing conflicts at the agricultural-urban edge, were issues that the AIC posed to a select group of experts that included farmers, developers and land use planners. The Center’s summary report on its December 1996 conference, California’s Future: Maintaining Viable Agriculture at the Urban Edge, is now available.

The report explores in detail the complementary roles of agricultural production technologies/practices and public sector policies and land use planning tools. Innovative agricultural technologies discussed include precision spraying, use of bioengineered disease-resistant crops, integrated pest management, proper manure management, and others. The public policy chapters focus on farm-city and regional cooperation, urban growth boundaries, buffer and edge design, parcel sizes and appropriate uses in agricultural areas, and fiscal policies.

For long term stability at the edge, approaches that “cry for attention,” according to contributing author Alvin Sokolow, Òinvolve state support and guidance of local land use decision-making.Ó Most important is changing the state’s fiscal rules under which local governments in California operate. California’s Future: Maintaining Viable Agriculture at the Urban Edge is available from the UC Agricultural Issues Center for $15.


Pathogens Excreted by Livestock and Transmitted to Humans through Water

Reviewing knowledge about pathogens which could be transmitted from livestock to humans, Pathogens Excreted by Livestock and Transmitted to Humans through Water is our latest joint publication with the UC Davis Animal Agricultural Research Center. It is available from the AIC for $10.00


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