2022-04 PAER: Graduate Student Research Issue

April 26, 2022

Purdue Ag Econ Report Editor’s Welcome

Welcome to the Spring 2022 Purdue Agricultural Economics Report (PAER). The editors decided to make the Spring 2022 issue theme “Graduate Student Research”. We had great success in introducing the Graduate Student led issue last Spring, and we are excited to do it again this year. Our hope is that in this issue you will get a taste of the great efforts that our graduate students are pursuing to better understand the economic forces driving food and agricultural markets and of the tools that they may provide to you all practitioners in your decision making.

We lead this issue with a State of the Graduate Program, from the desk of Prof. Nicole Widmar, which will give you an update on the various happenings here in the Department including the upcoming fall invitation of the largest incoming classes of in-residence MS and PhD students into our Department in the last 5 years. Our Department is growing in size and also in depth, exciting stuff!

Speaking of in-residence, the next article by Yizhou Hua, Dr. Holly Wang and Dr. Christine Wilson shows that Purdue’s undergraduate students’ valuation for in-person education is higher than for hybrid and fully online models. We are particularly excited to feature the next article by Francisco Scott, a recent alumnus now working at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Dr. Scott’s article shows how our graduate students carry the research skills they acquired here at the Department into their professional lives, in his case seeking a deeper understanding of demand, supply and competition within the agricultural supply chain.

We then feature a series of articles that seek a deeper understanding of how informative USDA projections of agricultural exports (by Hari Regmi and Dr. Todd Kuethe), farm debt (by Pedro Diaz and Dr. Todd Kuethe) and milk prices (by Chad Fiechter) are. Sometimes we economists are believed to be great at creating forecasts, but not so great at creating accurate forecasts. These authors test prominent forecasts in different agricultural areas of our economy.

The next set of articles focus on food labels (by Zach Neuhofer), international trade (by Carlos Zurita), agricultural job markets (by Douglas Abney, Dr. Brady Brewer and Dr. Nathan DeLay) and farm technology adoption (by Haden Comstock and Dr. Nathan DeLay). Neuhofer’ s investigation into chicken labels and the role of different consumer beliefs as drivers of food choice can aid in better design and targeting of marketing campaigns. Zurita’s article will give you insight into how impactful to the ag economy WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) could be. With an ever-growing prominence of digital agriculture in conversations, Abney et al.’s article aims to shed some light on the size of the job market for this growing field. Lastly, Comstock and DeLay show that government farm support have positive effects on soybean farms technology adoption.

Lastly, we leave you with a reflection from your lead editor for this issue (Mario Ortez) on the short-term and long-term dynamics of population growth and their potential impacts for our beloved Food and Agricultural Industries.

We hope that with this issue you share in our excitement to see the research development and intellectual drive amongst our graduate student community. Featuring a graduate student led issue each year serves as evidence of the Department’s commitment to the academic preparation of our graduate students and the role that we play in advancing Purdue’s Land Grant Mission. Happy Spring!


Mario Ortez

Doctoral Candidate

2022 Graduate Editor for PAER


Articles in this Publication:

State of the Graduate Program, April 2022

Valuation of land grant university education under COVID-19: students’ willingness-to-pay for alternative study options

A good time to understand the agricultural supply chain

Evaluating USDA’s Farm Debt Forecast

Informativeness of USDA’s agricultural export projections

Do Government Farm Support Programs affect the Adoption of Farm Technology and Sustainable Production Practices?

Food Production and Population Growth: A Cautionary Tale

Chicken labels: How do consumer beliefs impact preference for labels?

Digital Agriculture and Rural Broadband

Anything but Overprediction: USDA Milk Price Forecasts

Key Takeaways from “Commitment Behaviour in the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement” by Hillberry and Zurita (2022)

Latest Articles:

Response to comments from Lark et al. regarding Taheripour et al. March 2022 comments on Lark et. al. original PNAS paper

May 25, 2022

We recently reviewed the article published by Lark et al. (2022) in PNAS, detected various problematic assumptions, approaches, data, and results in that study. Based on our findings, we concluded that these authors overestimated GHG emissions of corn ethanol consumption due to the RFS.


Comments on “Environmental Outcomes of the US Renewable Fuel Standard”

May 24, 2022

Lark et al. (2022) recently published “Environmental Outcomes of the US Renewable Fuel Standard” and addressed domestic land use change (LUC) of corn ethanol and associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that are potentially caused by the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), as introduced in the 2005 Energy Policy Act and in the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA). To do so,


State of the Graduate Program, April 2022

April 26, 2022

Dr. Nicole Widmar provides an update on the State of the Purdue Ag Econ Graduate Program.


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