The Agricultural and Food Policy Center
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Organizational Background
The AFPC was created by the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents in 1983. In the land-grant university tradition, the AFPC was established as a joint activity of the Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, and Texas A&M University. As such, faculty members hold appointments with teaching, research, and extension responsibilities. The Center is part of the Agricultural Economics Department, and the AFPC director(s) and faculty report to the department head. To carry out the Center's research program, the faculty maintains a close working relationship with two other institutions:
  • The Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) at the University of Missouri and Iowa State University provides a source of commodity prices to AFPC for analyzing the farm-level impacts of specific policy proposals.
  • The Economic Research Service/USDA cooperates on farm costs, returns, and structural and policy relationships.
The Agricultural and Food Policy Center (AFPC) conducts analyses of the impacts of government policy proposals and/or implementation procedures on farmers, agribusiness's, taxpayers, and consumers. Its primary constituency is the U.S. Congress, particularly the Agriculture Committees. The AFPC also conducts research and/or educational programs for government agencies, farm and agribusiness organizations, and agricultural leadership throughout Texas and the nation. Specific AFPC objectives include:
  • Respond to legislative requests for analyses of agricultural and food policy options.
  • Identify and define emerging agricultural, resource and food policy issues.
  • Identify and clarify agricultural and food policy options.
  • Analyze the impacts of changes in macroeconomic policy on agriculture.
  • Develop educational programs and publications to explain the results of AFPC research and improve understanding of policy options and their consequences.
  • Provide leadership in developing new scientific methods for analyzing public policy issues.
Expertise and Achievments
While the AFPC is prepared to deal with most agricultural and resource policy issues, the faculty has developed special expertise and an extensive track record of accomplishments in the following areas:
  • Crop Program Analysis: The AFPC prides itself on knowing and understanding the details of how farm programs operate. It meticulously integrates farm program provisions into its models.
  • Farm-Level Impacts: Program impacts are considerably more meaningful when analyzed from the perspective of those for whom farm policy is implemented -- farmers and ranchers.
  • Livestock Policy: In the past, livestock producers paid little attention to the impacts of commodity programs on the livestock sector. Today, livestock producers are an important force affecting crop and dairy policy.
  • Dairy Policy: Milk policy is among the most complex in agriculture with its margin production plan, marketing orders, import regulations, product standards, and cooperative premiums interacting to determine market supply, demand, and prices.
  • Crop Insurance: The AFPC has analyzed a range of alternative crop insurance and assurance programs, as well as revenue insurance and disaster policy proposals. The AFPC provides a comprehensive crop insurance decision aid on our website. The decision aid is programmed for every crop and country for the insurance policies offered by the Risk Management Agency of the USDA.
  • Farm Program Participation: The AFPC has a history of offering web based decision aides for farmers. The Center provided a decision aid for the 2014 Farm Bill decision that was used about 250,000 times by farmers in all 50 states and numerous foreign countries. The AFPC developed and delivered a web based program, BYA, that was used by farmers to analyze the economic consequences of different options for updating base and yields under the 2002 Farm Bill. The BYA was used more than 430,000 times to analyze more than 130 million acres.
  • Environmental/Resource Policy: AFPC has analyzed a wide range of environmental issues such as the CRP, water valuation, and sustainable agriculture.
  • Rural Development Policy: In the 1980's, AFPC pioneered the development of rural policy options. The impact of policy changes on rural communities remain an important resource that AFPC provides the Congress.
  • Congressional Interns: As part of its teaching program, AFPC assists with the Texas A&M Agriculture and Resource Policy Congressional Internship Program. Interns are selected by congressional constituent committees to provide agricultural policy expertise and assistance to Texas congressional offices. This program was initially founded by AFPC faculty in 1990.
  • FARM Assistance: Using research and analytical methods developed by AFPC, Texas A&M Agrilife Extension and AFPC have partnered to develop Financial And Risk Management (FARM) Assistance to provide farmers and ranchers in Texas with personalized strategic planning analysis and decision information.
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