Agricultural & Applied Economists are trained to address a variety of issues relevant to economic activity, production decisions, consumer choices, & the value chain in between. Below are research initiatives and examples of our work in each area.
Agricultural Policy, Risk and Insurance
The management of risk is central to modern agriculture, finance, and business management. Our scientists are focused on agricultural risk policy and insurance issues.
Rating Price Risk in Crop Insurance Markets
Scientists recently published a paper examining the use of the Black-Scholes implied volatilities in rating crop revenue insurance. For those not familiar with futures option implied volatility, it is derived from observed option premiums and known parameters of the option contract. Under certain assumptions it is the price volatility implied by the price of the option contract.
Agribusiness Management & Marketing
Our scientists are engaged with input suppliers, producers, and firms along the agricultural value chain with research focused on agricultural marketing, management, and finance.
Survey of Seafood Products Handled by Mississippi Restaurants
Due to the lack of seafood sales and employment data in the sector, recent economic impact estimates of the seafood industry in Mississippi excluded the seafood restaurant sector. To improve the estimation procedure of the economic impact of the seafood restaurant sector, a survey of a random sample of restaurant establishments operating in Mississippi was conducted in 2011.
Big Data Economics & Precision Ag Data Analytics
Data produced by sensors, machinery, drones, social media, & other sources are useful for both forecasting & understanding causal relationships. As a partner with the Agricultural Data Coalition, we are using our expertise to unscramble the data.
Agricultural Data Coalition
The Agricultural Data Coalition's mission is to help farmers better control and manage their electronic data and promote innovation and progress in the agricultural marketplace. The goal of Agricultural Data Coalition is a create a neutral, independent, farmer-centric data repository where farmers can securely store and control the information collected every day in the fields by their tractors, harvesters, aerial imaging and other devices.
Commercial Agriculture Management & Finance
Our scientists research and deliver cutting-edge and timely analysis of farm management, agricultural marketing, and ag finance information useful to Southern agriculture.
The Experimental Laboratory allows scientists to apply replicable analyses designed to empirically test the predicitions of economic theories and identify various human behaviors. Also, it allows scientists to test the impacts of various conditions yet to occur in the real world or those for which sufficient secondary data cannot be identified.
Economic Development, Entrepreneurship & Financial Education
Economic Development is central to the needs of people living in Mississippi. Our scientists focus on helping people solve their economic development-related problems.
Environmental & Natural Resource Economics
Increasingly society is faced with tradeoffs between environmental protection, sustainability, and economic welfare. Our scientists consider economic, ecological, and bioeconomic processes to aid well-informed policy and other decisions that involve the natural environment.
A Household Study on Wind and Flood Insurance
Living close to the ocean has many perks—until storm clouds loom on the horizon. Hurricanes pose severe threats to homes along the coast, as they can cause both flood and wind damage. And while there are preventive measures that homeowners can take in the forms of mitigation and insurance, not everyone is likely to do so. Researchers in the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station study homeowners’ decisions to purchase insurance in the hopes that their conclusions will help create a more transparent, easier to use system.
Food Systems & Specialty Crop Economics
Our scientists conduct research to build capacity within communities and assist stakeholders to improve the viability and profitability of Mississippi's food system.
Measuring Marketability, Economic and Environmental Benefits of Gulf Oysters
From scallops in Steinhatchee, Florida to lobster off the mid-coast of Maine, coastal communities are often defined by the shellfish harvested there. The same can be said for oysters, from Blue Pool oysters in Washington State to the Moon Shoals of Massachusetts to the gulf oysters of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, locals and connoisseurs alike seek out select shellfish from certain regions. One MAFES researcher is honing in on gulf oysters, in order to discover more about consumer perception and preference as well as the economic and environmental benefits of the much-sought-after mollusks.
Health Economics & Food Policy
Society grapples with the economics and policies associated with rural health, disease, and the relationship of behaviour with health. Our scientists conduct research to find economically efficient solutions to health & food policy issues.
How Health Influences Fresh Produce Purchases
Diet is a huge component of staying healthy, and when illness strikes, it can change our relationship with food. Local food outlets, like farmers markets and farm stands, give consumers more control over exactly what they eat—in terms of knowing how and where their produce is grown, and how fresh it is—and put producers in the role of educator as well as grower. Drs. Matthew Interis, Lurleen Walters, and Alba J. Collart, researchers in the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station’s Department of Agricultural Economics, partnered with former MSU colleague, Dr. Kimberly Morgan to explore the connection between health and local produce. The team surveyed consumers throughout the Southeast to discover whether familial health issues influenced their purchasing decisions.
Water Resources, Drinking Water, & Irrigation Management
Water resources are subject to competing public & private interests. Our scientists conduct research to address the management, conservatoin and use of water resources to assist planning and regulatory bodies.
Showing that Wetland Restoration is Worth the Cost
National surveys by environmental economists Daniel Petrolia and Matthew Interis found that Americans are willing to pay to restore Louisiana’s disappearing wetlands. Louisiana has about 40 percent of U.S. wetlands, but the state has suffered about 90 percent of the nation’s wetland losses. Petrolia and Interis examined how much Americans are willing to pay for large-scale restoration projects in the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary in coastal Louisiana, which covers 4.2 million acres between the Mississippi and Atchafalaya River Basins and provides storm protection for more than a million people. Over 80 percent of this area is wetlands, swamps, marshes, and barrier islands. More than 500,000 people, along with 735 species of birds, finfish, shellfish, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals, live in the estuary. In one survey, more than 60 percent of respondents said they were willing to pay for coastal restoration to protect wildlife habitat, maintain storm protection, ensure continued fisheries production, and prevent further land loss. Respondents said they were willing to pay between $909 and $1,751 per household, representing a total project value between $105 billion and $201 billion. This amount exceeds a recent restoration cost estimate of $100 billion.