E-Newsletter from the K-State Department of Agricultural Economics

From the Desk of Allen Featherstone

Allen Featherstone July 2014The fall semester 2014 has certainly quickly passed. As we wrap up the fall semester, we want to bring you up to date on Departmental activities. First of all, we would like to thank the many faithful and dedicated alumni that provide scholarships to our undergraduate and graduate students. During the last year, the Department was able to provide in excess of $250,000 in scholarships to our well deserving students. As tuition continues to increase and as the number of undergraduate majors continues to increase, scholarships are certainly an important mechanism that many students use to further their education. The Departments appreciates your generosity.

During the fall semester, we were pleased to welcome Jorge Gattini back to campus to allow him to interact with our students. Jorge Gattini originally came to Kansas on a 4-H exchange program, came back to Kansas State University to receive his master’s in Agricultural Economics, and now serves as Minister of Agriculture in Paraguay. Mr. Gattini is responsible for formulating and executing agricultural policy for the country of Paraguay where agriculture ranges all the way from subsistence to precision agriculture that is competitive on the global scale.

Transition continues to occur as Dr. Arlo Biere and Dr. Joe Arata will retire at the end of the semester. They have both left a lasting legacy on the Department and will certainly be missed. We thank them for the many years of service to the State of Kansas in educating future generations of Agricultural leaders. We will be welcoming Dr. Elizabeth Yeager to the staff. She will be joining us from a faculty position at Purdue University and will teach in the undergraduate program in the areas of farm management, agricultural finance, and grain and livestock marketing.

I encourage you to examine a taste of the many other exciting developments in the Department. We would love to hear about your career and family developments and share them in upcoming issues of our quarterly E-Newsletter. Please email me at afeather@ksu.edu or Amanda Erichsen, our communication coordinator, at aerichsen@ksu.edu with information you would like to share with your fellow alumni.

Go Cats!
Dr. Allen Featherstone, afeather@ksu.edu
Department Head, Professor, Master of Agribusiness Program Director


View this E-Newsletter as a PDF or on the department website.  Headlines include:
Jorge Gattini, Paraguay’s Minister of Agriculture, delights K-State with campus visit
Introducing Ben Schwab
Summer Internship summary
2014 Scholarship recipients
New class of Risk Management Student Fellows
Lynes attends fifth Lindau Meeting
Andrew Barkley’s new book
Office of Local Government market approach to pollution reduction
MAB program and staff awarded honors
Farm Bill meetings led by Mykel Taylor and Art Barnaby
Upcoming events
Gifting opportunities


For more information about the Department or this e-newsletter, please contact Amanda Erichsen at 785.532.6994 or aerichsen@k-state.edu.


Bill Golden on the lineup for February K-State Sorghum Production Schools

Sorghum producers are often faced with issues including weed and insect control, crop production practices, soil fertility, nutrient management, irrigation and risk management. It’s how the producer tends to the issues that often becomes the most important part.

Four one-day Sorghum Production Schools led by K-State will address these concerns with in-depth training to present producers with the best response. The schools are scheduled for the following dates and locations:

  • Feb. 10: Garden City, Clarion Inn, 1911 E Kansas Ave
    Local Research and Extension office contacts:
    Andrea Burns, Ford County, aburns@ksu.edu 620-227-4542
    Barbara Addison, Finney County, baddison@ksu.edu 620-272-3670
  • Feb. 11: Oakley, Buffalo Bill Center, 3083 U.S. 83
    Local Research and Extension office contact:
    Julie Niehage, Golden Prairie District, Oakley, julienie@ksu.edu 785-671-3245
  • Feb. 12: Hutchinson, Hutchinson Community College, 1300 N Plum St
    Local Research and Extension office contact:
    Darren Busick, Reno County, darrenbusick@ksu.edu 620-662-2371
  • Feb. 13: Ottawa, Neosho County Community College, 900 E Logan St
    Local Research and Extension office contact:
    Darren Hibdon, Frontier District, dhibdon@ksu.edu 785-229-3520

Registration for each school is at 8:30 a.m. The day kicks off at 9 a.m. and adjourns at 3:30 p.m. The Kansas Grain Sorghum Commission is sponsoring the session as well as providing complimentary lunch on each of the days.

There is no cost to attend, but participants are asked to pre-register by Feb. 4. Online registration is available at K-State Sorghum Schools (http://bit.ly/KSUSorghum ) or by emailing or calling the local K-State Research and Extension office nearest to the location participants plan to attend.

Check out the presentations from the 2014 series at: http://bit.ly/KSUSorghumSchool.

For more information, contact: Ignacio Ciampitti, K-State Crop Production and Cropping Systems Specialist, ciampitti@ksu.edu,785-532-6940.

 

 

Declines Approaching for Farm Succession Conference Registration

Five conferences are planned in Kansas

We’ve heard of “century farms” – those that are recognized as continuously owned by a single family for 100 years or more. But the road to keeping a farm or ranch in one family through decades is not always a smooth one.

To help Kansas farmers and ranchers with the legal, emotional, and financial ins and outs of the succession process, K-State Research and Extension and Kansas Agricultural Mediation Services are partnering with other agencies to offer five “Planning for Farm & Ranch Succession” http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/kams conferences around the state. The meetings are supported by a grant from the North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Meeting dates and locations include:

  • Jan. 5 – Allen Community College – Iola;
  • Jan. 10 – Pratt Community College – Pratt;
  • Jan. 16 – Kansas Farm Bureau Plaza – Manhattan;
  • Jan. 17 – Flint Hills Technical College – Emporia; and
  • March 3 – K-State Agricultural Research Center – Hays.

More information and online registration is available at http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/kams or by calling 1-800-432-8222. The cost at each location is $60 per person for the first family member to register, and $40 per person for all other family members.

Online registration closes one week prior to each conference date. Registration is still available by calling 1-800-432-8222; however, K-State Conference Services will be closed Dec. 24, 2014 – Jan. 2, 2015. Walk-in registrations are available, but space and meals may be limited for late registrants.


Story by: Mary Lou Peter, K-State Research and Extension –  mlpeter@ksu.edu

http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/

For more information:
Kansas Agricultural Mediation Services – 1-800-321-3276

Kansas Agricultural Mediation Services supports Kansas producers in resolving a variety of agricultural-related problems including: ag credit issues, farm foreclosures, USDA Farm program and Farm Loan Program decisions, USDA Rural Housing loan issues, USDA Risk Management issues, and USDA Natural Resources and Conservation Service decisions. Information and guidance on any ag-related issue will be provided at no cost through our toll-free hotline, 1-800-321-3276 or visit our website at http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/kams/.

Corey Fortin named K-State 2015 Distinguished Young Alumni

For the second year in a row, a graduate from the department of agricultural economics has been selected to receive the K-State Alumni Association Student Alumni Board’s Distinguished Young Alumni Award. Corey Fortin, a 2006 agribusiness graduate, is one of the new recipients of the award.

Fortin currently is a commissioned member of the U.S. Foreign Service with the United States Agency for International Development in Uganda. USAID is the lead government agency that works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient democratic societies to realize their potential.

Fortin’s position with USAID started him in Kenya as the Agricultural Development Officer, and now he resides in Kampala, Uganda. He describes a typical day of work as extremely variable, with many different tasks to complete. A majority of his time goes to devising and implementing agricultural development strategies in eastern Africa. Fortin enjoys the variability of his days because projects range from rural youth to improved seed varieties and task forces created to accomplish a specific US government priority.

Fortin’s journey to his current position was not an easy one. “I graduated with my master’s degree from the University of Arkansas during the 2008 economic downturn. I applied for over 75 jobs and had more than 10 interviews. It took me 11 months to find a job; but I found my dream job, so the wait was worth it. Thankfully, I was able to keep working as a research assistant for my major professor in Arkansas during the 11 months of job searching.”

While he was in college, Fortin was an active leader for the College of Agriculture. He was part of Student Senate, Agricultural Council, an Ag Ambassador, Collegiate 4-H and Alpha Zeta Honorary. He is a native of Oberlin, Kan.

Matt Wolters (’03) was a 2014 recipient of the Distinguished Young Alumni Award, and also a graduate of the department.


Information about the alumni association’s distinguished young alumni program can be found here.

Original article source.

Michael Dicks to give agricultural economics seminar

Dr. Michael Dicks

Dr. Michael Dicks

Michael Dicks has an impressive track record that has provided him with helpful insights to share with the department of agricultural economics. He is presenting “Veterinary Economics: Current Situation and Future Outlook” on December 3, 2014, in the Marc. A. Johnson Conference Room located in Waters Hall 342. The lecture is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.

Dicks is the director of the Veterinary Economics Division for the American Veterinary Medical Association. He has been in the position since January 2013. Dicks previously worked for 24 years at Oklahoma State University’s Department of Agricultural Economics. He was the Wes and Lou Watkins Endowed Chair in International Trade and Development most recently while there. He also served as director for both the Great Plains Agricultural Policy Center and the Center for International Trade and Development at OSU.

Also during the last few decades, Dicks assisted farm and commodity groups, environmental groups, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Congress in developing farm policy, as well as numerous foreign governments, U.S. government agencies and non-government organizations in international agricultural and community development activities.

His interests have also taken him abroad to many countries and continents.

Dicks earned his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and animal science at California Polytechnic State University on the San Luis Obispo campus in 1975. In 1982, he received his master’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of Missouri, all while he was overseas in Tunisia working on a project converting waste to energy. Dicks was back at it again in 1985, when he earned a doctoral degree in agricultural economics with a specialty in natural resource policy and community development.

Dicks grew up in rural Orange County, California. He found his interest for agriculture through working in vegetable fields for Irvine Company and showing sheep and cattle for FFA and Ag Explorers.

AgManager.info Update

The following is an overview of items rolling through AgManager.info.  Contact Rich Llewelyn at 785.532.1504 or rvl@ksu.edu for more information about these items.

2014 Kansas Crop Insurance Workshop, LAST CHANCE!
November 13, Salina
This is a one-day conference for farmers, crop insurance agents and ag lenders.

2014 Kansas Income Tax Institute
A two-day conference for tax professionals at 8 locations in Kansas

  • Overland Park, November 24-25
  • Wichita, December 1-2
  • Salina, December 2-3
  • Topeka, December 3-4

2014 Farm Bill Meetings
Begins January 12, 2015, in Wichita
Fifteen half-day meetings in Kansas to provide information on the decision for the 2014 Farm Bill.

Other Extension Meetings
A listing of other extension meetings taking place in Kansas, with the following coming up:

  • Garden City, November 18
  • Miltonvale, November 19
  • Salina, November 20

2015 Excel Workshops

  • Garden City, January 20
  • Emporia, February 5 

A couple of day-long workshops this winter to provide training in using Excel spreadsheets.


Updates

2014 Farm Bill Policy Page
Your guide to understanding the 2014 Farm Bill, with papers, presentations, decision tool and links.

OSU-KSU Decision Tool
An Excel spreadsheet decision tool developed by Oklahoma State University and K-State, to help make the decision between ARC and PLC from the 2014 Farm Bill.


In the last week…

Grain Outlook Radio Program
November 7, 2014
Dan O’Brien talks about what next Monday’s USDA grain production and supply-and-demand reports are likely to say, and he comments on surging soybean exports and lagging corn and wheat exports, during his weekly analysis of the grain markets.

Crop Basis Maps
November 6, 2014
GIS maps showing this week’s basis and deviation from 3 year average for corn, wheat, soybeans, and milo in the central Plains.

Updated Crop Basis Tool
November 6, 2014
Providing the weekly basis (Wednesday close) for corn, soybeans, milo and winter wheat for approximately 800 locations across Kansas, Missouri, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas Panhandle, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota.

MYA Price Estimates Updated for ARC and PLC Commodity Programs
November 5, 2014
Art Barnaby provides the MYA price estimates, updated for 2015 wheat, 2014 corn, 2014 sorghum, and 2014 soybeans.

Rumors and Errors on the Farm Bill and the Status of the OSU-KSU Decision Aid
November 5, 2014
Art Barnaby corrects some common errors and misconceptions about the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Farm Bill).

K-State Feeder Cattle Risk Management Tool
November 4, 2014
Kevin Dhuyvetter’s decision tool for feeder cattle has been updated by Glynn Tonsor to reflect recent prices in the industry.

In the Cattle Markets
November 3, 2014
“Beef Demand Update and Context …”, by Glynn Tonsor, Kansas State University.

Livestock Outlook Radio Program
Glynn Tonsor provides this week’s cattle market insight: he reviews the positive numbers from his beef demand index for the 3rd quarter, and talks about improvement in his latest cattle feeding profitability projections.

Livestock and Hay Charts
Price, basis, forecast, cattle slaughter, cattle cycle, cattle on feed, livestock feeding returns, and meat trade charts, as well as supply and demand for corn, wheat and soybeans.

Dairy MPP Program Webinar Recording
View the slides here.
Check out the 1-hour webinar presentation on the Dairy MPP Program by Robin Reid.

MAB Trip to South America
K-State’s Master of Agribusiness (MAB) program is offering travel to Brazil and Argentina to learn about the food and agriculture industry in South America. The trip includes visits to agricultural and food-related industries and guided sightseeing tours with free time to explore Buenos Aires, the waterfalls at Iguazu, and Sao Paulo. The tour (February 20 – March 7, 2015) is open to anyone with an interest in international agribusiness. Contact Mary Bowen for more information: mjbowen@ksu.edu, 785-532-4435.


dhuFeatured Contributor
Kevin Herbel began serving as the Administrator of the Kansas Farm Management Association program in June of 2007. A primary focus of his work is to help Kansas farmers manage their resources efficiently. Kevin has worked for the K-State Research and Extension since 1989, most recently as an economist with the North Central Kansas Farm Management Association (1994-2003) and as Extension Assistant and Farm Analyst (2004-2007). He received his B.S. degree in 1988 and his M.S. degree in 1991, both in Agricultural Economics at K-State.


Don’t forget to follow AgManager.info on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to the mailing list!
Contact Rich Llewelyn at 785.532.1504 or rvl@ksu.edu for more information about these items.

Sharon Benz presented Animal Health Industry Insights at Master of Agribusiness Olathe session

Sharon Benz presented information at K-State animal health industry seminar

Significant changes on the horizon for the animal health industry are reflected in three new documents now available, according to Sharon Benz, director of the Division of Animal Feeds within the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine.

cattle on prairieBenz, who spoke Oct. 22 at the Animal Health Industry Insights seminar hosted by the Kansas State University’s Master of Agribusiness program, said the new documents will govern the use of antibiotics and will affect those working in the animal health and companion animal industry. They are (1) Guidance 209 Judicious Use of Medically Important Antimicrobial Drugs in Food Producing Animals; (2) Guidance 213 Implementation Principles for Guidance 209; and (3) the Veterinary Feed Directive Proposed Regulations.

The seminar was held at the K-State Olathe campus.

“With the changing environment surrounding animal health, it is vital that we are knowledgeable and engaged with the agencies that provide guidance and oversight to our industry. Dr. Benz provided the opportunity for Master of Agribusiness students to become familiar with the influence that the FDA has on our business decisions,” said Justin Smith, MAB student and deputy animal health commissioner for the Kansas Department of Agriculture.

Benz gave an overview of the CVM and its responsibilities, which she said works to ensure animal drugs are safe and effective before giving approval; monitors the safety and effectiveness of current animal drugs on the market; reviews animal and pet food for safety and labeling; ensures pet food additives are safe and have utility before approval; conducts research; and helps make more animal drugs legally available for minor species, such as fish and hamsters.

“Dr. Benz was very knowledgeable with an extensive background. Since canine nutrition is my passion, it was an extremely interesting presentation for me. I learned about FDA policies and procedures I did not know about and Dr. Benz was nice enough to answer questions afterward, said Melissa Vogt, MAB student and distance learning veterinary technology Instructor at Colby Community College.

“Dr. Benz brought a wealth of knowledge to the forum by providing insight regarding the changes that the animal health industry will be experiencing when the implementation of the judicious use of antibiotics guidance 209 and guidance 213 begin,” said David Yandell, MAB student and senior associate for regulatory, surveillance and compliance with Elanco Animal Health. “Dr. Benz highlighted the need for the judicious use of antibiotics in the industry and that the FDA-CVM, an agency dedicated to the health and safety of humans and animals, is helping to ensure they are available for use in the future.”

Benz is responsible for providing direction and oversight to the division, which monitors and sets standards for contaminants, approves food additives and oversees medicated feed and pet food programs. Prior to her appointment to director in 2004, she served as the team leader for the Nutrition and Labeling Team. In preparation for her work with the FDA, she was employed by the National Academy of Sciences Board on Agriculture as the program officer for the Nutrient Requirement series bulletins on animal nutrient requirements.

Benz earned a bachelor’s degree from Penn State University and a Master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Virginia Tech. Her training is in ruminant nutrition and mineral metabolism and requirements.

K-State’s Master of Agribusiness (www.mab.ksu.edu) is an award-winning, distance-education degree program that focuses on food, animal health and agribusiness management. Students and alumni work in every sector of the food, animal health and agribusiness industry and are located in 40 states within the United States and in more than 30 countries.


Guidance 209
· Limit the use of medically important antimicrobial drugs to those uses considered necessary for assuring animal health
· Use includes veterinary involvement/consultation

Guidance 213
· Provides guidance for industry on the implementation of judicious use
· Process for updating labels to remove growth/production uses
· New therapeutic uses may be pursue

  •  Have a defined dosing duration
  • Effective therapeutic dose level
  • Be targeted as much as possible to the at-risk population
  • Include veterinary oversight

Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD)
· VFD is an order by a veterinarian that allows the feeding of approved VFD drugs to animals
· Medically necessary antimicrobial drugs will be converted from over-the-counter (OTC) to VFD drugs
· VFD regulations are being revised to improve the efficiency of the VFD process


 

CONTACT: Mary Bowen – 785.532.4435- mjbowen@ksu.edu
www.mab.ksu.edu

Barkley’s New Book Delves into ‘Depolarizing Food and Agriculture’

Food producers are often at odds but solutions are possible, economists say.

Conventional versus organic? Local production or global food sourcing? For one reason or another, those involved in growing and raising our food are often at odds with one another.

A new book, Depolarizing Food and Agriculture: An Economic Approach, takes a look at the origins, validity, consequences, and potential resolution of the different and often opposing stances taken by groups involved in the food business.

Andrew Barkley“Many issues in food and agriculture have become disputes – some of them serious conflicts, with no end in sight,” said Andrew Barkley, a professor of agricultural economics at Kansas State University and one of the book’s authors. “The economic approach offers a greater understanding of why these disagreements came about, and how they can be resolved. We wrote this book to share the economic approach, which provides greater appreciation for both sides of these important issues.”

Barkley, who is also a university distinguished teaching scholar at K-State, co-wrote the book with his father, Paul W. Barkley, professor emeritus of agricultural economics at Washington State University and adjunct professor at Oregon State University. Paul Barkley earned a Ph.D. at K-State in 1963.

The divide between industry groups often stems from political or legal actions that confuse consumers, many of whom are considering the impact of their food choices on nutrition, health, the environment, animal welfare, and hunger, Andrew Barkley said.

The book summarizes and extends Paul Barkley’s 50 years of research and Andrew Barkley’s research on agricultural labor markets, wheat markets, and public policy in his more than 25 years at K-State. Their research emphasizes that the one constant in food and agriculture markets is change. Changes in technology, production practices, consumer desires, and policies occur constantly, and change is often disruptive. Since change has both winners and losers, it can be polarizing, especially in a rapidly-evolving sector like food and agriculture.

Based on a United Nations prediction that the world’s population will grow from the current 7.2 billion people to 9.6 billion by 2050, it is more important than ever for agricultural producers to figure out the best ways to meet the demand for food, Andrew Barkley added. In some cases that might mean working together or at least understanding a different perspective.

The book is available at http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415714235/ and http://tinyurl.com/mgzxdwl.


Written by | Mary Lou Peter, K-State Research and Extension | mlpeter@ksu.edu

For more information | Andrew Barkley | barkley@ksu.edu or 785.477.1174

College of Agriculture News Update

In this week’s edition of Ag News Now:

- Meat Science Association Holiday Gift Box Sale

- College of Agriculture “winter items” Sale

- Diversity Programs Update

- K-State Horse Judging takes 1st!

To read more about these stories visit: www.ag.ksu.edu/agnewsnow

Mandatory COOL: Tonsor reports it is still detrimental to trade, still no easy solution

Glynn Tonsor has studied mandatory country-of-origin labeling and discusses consumer demand influence and potential outcomes to the ongoing situation.

October 27, 2014 – Abolish? Make further tweaks? Or perhaps, make it voluntary? On the heels of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO’s) latest ruling on U.S. mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL), debate on both sides of the issue continues. It’s a debate that has spanned more than a decade, and finding a solution that will please everyone involved is likely impossible.

For the second time, the WTO has sided with two top U.S. trading partners (http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/highlights/toppartners.html)—Canada and Mexico—saying COOL has caused less favorable treatment to imported livestock from those countries compared to U.S. livestock, and furthermore, it has caused a detrimental impact on the competitive trade opportunities of imported livestock.

“(Mandatory COOL) puts Canadian and Mexican livestock producers at a disadvantage to U.S. livestock producers,” said Glynn Tonsor, K-State Research and Extension livestock economist. “As an economist who has looked at it, the additional costs that come with the more precise tracking and segregating get built into what U.S. feedyards and packing plants are willing and able to pay for animals not born in the United States.”

More precise tracking and segregating were the results of the revised and current U.S. mandatory COOL ruling implemented in May 2013 due to the WTO’s first siding with Canada and Mexico.

“In 2009, we had the first implementation of mandatory COOL that led to labels such as ‘Product of U.S. and Canada’ showing up on beef steaks, for example, for an animal that might have been born in Canada, then came into the United States to a feedyard and was processed here,” Tonsor said.

“Then we had some WTO disputes, discussions and rulings,” he continued, “that led the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to change some specifics of the rule. In May 2013, we had a new rule, the most recent rule, with updated requirements.”

The current rule requires that several fresh foods, including meat sold at grocery stores, indicate the individual country or countries where the product was born, raised and slaughtered on the product’s label.

“The main difference consumers saw from that rule change was meat labels, such as that on a beef steak, would now be labeled as ‘Born, Raised and Slaughtered’ in different countries,” Tonsor said. “Sticking with the same example I mentioned before, the label would now say, ‘Born in Canada, Raised and Slaughtered in the U.S.’”

A 2010 Informa Economics (http://www.informaecon.com/COOLStudyUpdate2010.pdf) study estimated mandatory COOL cost the beef supply chain roughly $1 to $1.2 billion in 2009. For pork that same year, the total cost was estimated at $167 to $228 million. This is before the 2013 ruling requiring more detail and likely more cost, Tonsor said.

The consumer perspective

Not only has mandatory COOL shown to be costly and hinder trade, concerns have also come to light questioning if U.S. consumers overall are aware of origin labels or use them to make purchasing decisions.

In his research, Tonsor said he’s found no evidence of demand for origin information by the typical meat consumer in the United States (http://www.agmanager.info/livestock/policy/Tonsor_KSU_FactSheet_MCOOL_11-13-12.pdf). Furthermore, he’s found most U.S. consumers don’t know that COOL even exists.

“Nearly two years ago, we wrapped up that research after the 2009 rule was implemented,” Tonsor said. “We’re able to see how actual consumption patterns did or didn’t change, as opposed to doing it beforehand and speculating. We found no evidence of beef demand increase following implementation of origin labeling. We found no evidence of pork demand increase. We found no evidence of poultry demand increase.”

The meat products Tonsor studied were all covered products through the grocery store chain, as these products must abide by the ruling. Many products he didn’t study because they are exempt from mandatory COOL, such as a food item sold in a restaurant and further processed items, such as cured bacon.

“We also did a lot of survey work that shows most of the public isn’t aware of COOL, and origin information is not the most important piece to them (when buying meat products),” he added.

The advocates of COOL might say more precision and detail on labels now lends itself to enough information to actually show a consumer demand benefit, Tonsor said, but he’s still skeptical if those benefits would be there if a majority of the public still isn’t aware of origin labeling.

“How do they value something they don’t know is there?” he questioned.

An unknown future

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and trade negotiators on behalf of the United States have yet to make statements as to whether or not they will appeal the latest WTO ruling or focus on modifying the rule for another time, Tonsor said. Many people and groups are politically involved in the issue and want different outcomes.

“The groups believing there is no consumer demand benefit and are concerned with additional costs would have a strong preference to abolish (mandatory COOL) or get as close to abolishing to the policy as possible,” he said. “The groups that are advocates of mandatory COOL are pointing out the United States has the right to label origin. Components of the WTO ruling have also said the United States has that right.”

Tonsor said he believes it would be difficult to technically redesign mandatory COOL in a way the WTO would view as giving information to consumers while not continuing to negatively affect U.S. trading partners.

“Moreover, I don’t know if it has to be a mandatory COOL policy,” he said. “Perhaps we could have developed (COOL) in a voluntary sense.”

Voluntary COOL might still be a possibility to consider, as it would allow packers and retailers the option to label the origin. Consumers could continue to shop for foods by origin preference, if the packers or retailers decided the added cost of labeling would be offset by consumer demand.

More information about the WTO’s ruling can be found online (http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/dispu_e/cases_e/ds384_e.htm). Tonsor’s research related to COOL is located on K-State’s Ag Manager website (http://www.agmanager.info/livestock/policy/Tonsor_KSU_FactSheet_MCOOL_11-13-12.pdf).

A video interview with Tonsor is available on the K-State Research and Extension YouTube page.

Story by: Katie Allen | katielynn@ksu.edu  | K-State Research and Extension | 785-532-1162

For more information: Glynn Tonsor | gtonsor@ksu.edu | 785-532-1518

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