No Big Deal til there’s Beans on Boats

This week China made its first significant purchase of soybeans in the 2018/2019 marketing year - roughly 50 million bushels if my Friday night math is correct. Some headlines note that this week’s purchase is nearly a record for a single day’s purchase. But, clearer heads note that this purchase is really just a drop…

Weekly Export Inspections of Soybeans during the 2018 Trade War with China

Photo by Ronan on Unsplash All eyes are on export sales and shipments of soybeans in the midst of the 2018 trade war. I always have my commodity price analysis students produce those ‘export pace of use’ charts as a lab assignment because it is data that is very actively followed in the commodity marketing…

You Mean I Can Get Paid to Stay in School?!?

If the title caught your attention, read on to find out how funding and money works in graduate school. Photo by Good Free Photos on Unsplash Graduate versus Professional Degree The biggest distinction in economics is between ‘traditional’ graduate degrees (which typically pay you) and ‘professional’ graduate degrees (which typically you pay for). The Professional…

Haspel’s Washington Post article: Why do taxpayers subsidize rich farmers?

Image from http://www.cgpgrey.com [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons Tamar Haspel has an article in yesterday’s Washington Post titled, “Why do taxpayers subsidize rich farmers?” The article is a take on the USDA’s recent report “The Evolving Distribution of Payments From Commodity, Conservation, and Federal Crop Insurance Programs”“, by McFadden and Hoppe that looks at…

Incentives Matter: A Proposal to Speed up Academic Publishing

Publishing in an academic journal is a long and grueling process. But much of the length of time is spent simply waiting for reviewers - who are volunteer and unpaid - to do the hard work of determining contribution and quality of the submitted manuscript. **Edited: Thanks to @FarmerHayek and @AparnaHowlader for pointing me to…

How does Machine Learning fit into Agricultural Economics?

Photo by Dirk Vorderstraße (Mähdrescher von John Deere in der Warburger Börde) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons Machine learning and artificial intelligence are the biggest topics in tech right now, and the excitement is spilling over to economics. The 2018 ASSA meetings (I did not attend, just browsed the program) had at least five…