THE AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS SOCIETY
Letter from the President
Agricultural Economics and Wellbeing
Agricultural economics has a long tradition of inclusive research that addresses many issues, not just increasing financial returns. Our profession has researched, for example, policy impacts on environmental and social factors at global, national and regional levels. In this way, we keep alive the purpose of economics, which is to optimise welfare or wellbeing considering limited resources. In 2009 Stiglitz, Sen and Fitoussi heralded a new focus on wellbeing and many countries, including the UK, now monitor a range of wellbeing indicators beyond GDP (Report by the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress). https://www.insee.fr/en/information/2662494).
New Zealand, my adopted country, has its first Wellbeing Budget at the end of May, with the aim of embedding wellbeing in all policy advice, which requires a challenging cultural shift in New Zealand’s public service. The issues of wellbeing policy are not new to agricultural economists. We have long grappled with policy trade-offs between economic, social and environmental goals, so we can support the shift to wellbeing policy, including through our tools for measuring trade-offs among diverse wellbeing dimensions. We also understand how public policy can make distinctive contributions to wellbeing, beyond what can be achieved in markets.
Another string to our bow is our experience in understanding how sustainable production requires attention to human, economic, social and natural capital (OECD 2017, How’s Life? 2017: Measuring Well-being). In my own work with Paul Dalziel and Joe Saunders (Wellbeing Economics: The Capabilities Approach to Prosperity, 2018) we also consider cultural capital (passed on through the generations), diplomatic capital (fostering collaboration between countries) and knowledge capital (drawing on endogenous growth theory). Agricultural Economics is an important source of expanding knowledge capital. Observing from half a world away, policies focused on wellbeing will be more urgent in a post-Brexit future, a future in which Agricultural Economics has a lot to offer.
Caroline Saunders AES President 2019-20 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
AES Annual Conference 2019
A packed programme at the Society’s 93rd Annual Conference at Warwick University from 15-17 April attracted 160 participants (around 50 per cent from overseas), who discussed a varied spectrum of topics and issues in a very friendly atmosphere. The conference offered opportunities to present research in a wide range of formats – contributed papers, workshops, symposia, plenary sessions and posters. PhD students were encouraged to present their research in contributed sessions. Presentations on food and health, food waste, agriculture and the environment, reflections on the green revolution, agricultural policy reform, production and efficiency, and different methodological approaches to agricultural economics were among the highlights of the Conference. The incoming President for 2019-20, Caroline Saunders (Lincoln University, New Zealand) delivered her Presidential Address on Sustainable Agriculture: Life beyond Subsidies. The keynote address by Robert Finger (ETH Zürich, Switzerland) focused on the issue of Reconciling Production and Environmental Services – New Pathways for Agricultural Policies. Doris Laepple (NUI Galway, Ireland) gave a very well attended Masterclass on spatial econometrics.
This year there were several innovations: a Women’s Network meeting to share experiences, social events featured a cycle trip and early morning run, a lunchtime update on the Society’s centenary project as the AES turns 100 in 2026, and the presence of a professional photographer. The publisher of the Society’s journals, Wiley, participated in a session on publishing and disseminating research, in the context of open access and increasing competition from social media. Tributes, led by Stefan Tangermann (University of Göttingen, Germany), were paid to the life and work of Tim Josling, one of the outstanding agricultural economists of our era who passed away in November 2018, in a special event that brought together former colleagues, friends and family members. The tribute session was video recorded.
The Deputy President of the National Farmers’ Union, Guy Smith was the guest speaker at the Conference dinner, providing a mix of personal experiences as an arable farmer, anecdotes, and comments on future agricultural policy in the light of Brexit. The Conference dinner was also the occasion to honour Alistair Stott (SRUC) with the Society’s Award for his Outstanding Contribution to Public Policy, Industry and the Society, and to Doris Laepple (NUI Galway) as Outstanding Young Researcher.
The winner of the Prize Essay competition was Judith Hillen (Agroscope, Switzerland and University of Göttingen) for her paper Market Integration and Market Efficiency under Seasonal Tariff Rate Quotas, which will be published in the JAE. The award for the best PhD presentation was Edward Knapp (NUI Galway and Teagasc) for his paper on Feed Risks and Opportunities for Irish Dairy Farms and the Best Poster Prize to Thai Le (Bournemouth University) on Convergence and Heterogeneity in Global Diets.
Adelina Gschwandtner retired from the Executive at the end of her term of office. New members of the Executive are Allan Butler (RAU) and Neil Chalmers (University of Aberdeen), who takes on the new role of social media manager. President Elect is Janet Dwyer (University of Gloucestershire). Visit the AES website for the detailed conference programme and papers.
Next year, from 15-17 April 2020, the 94th annual conference will be held in KU Leuven, in cooperation with the Belgian Agricultural Economics Association (BVLE), which promises to be a great event, taking place in an historic building in a wonderful city. Discussions of topical issues, research findings - and more social events - will all feature at next year’s Conference!
Frederic Ang, Programme Secretary (email@example.com)
XV1 EAAE Congress Prague 2020
The next Congress will be held in Prague from 25-28 August 2020. Links: https://aes.ac.uk/events and https://aes.ac.uk/page.asp?ID=16. AES members may be eligible for a grant to support participation (https://www.aes.ac.uk/travel-awards).
Tim Lloyd, AES-IAAE Liaison Officer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
EAAE Seminars and Events
EAAE Seminars (www.eaae.org)
15-17 May, Governance of food chains and consumption dynamics: what are the impacts on food security and sustainability? Montpellier, France
28-29 May, Agricultural Policy for the environment or Environmental Policy for agriculture? Natural Science Museum Brussels, Belgium
10-12 June, PhD Workshop on The state of the art and future developments of research issues/methodologies in specific, although relatively broad, areas in the field of agricultural economics and policy, Uppsala, Sweden
5-6 September, Measuring and evaluating farm income and well-being of farm families in Europe, Tänikon, Switzerland
26-27 September, Sustainable and resilient farming systems in the European Union, Bucharest, Romania
Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing, with around 50 titles on crop, soil, water, livestock and forestry management, is offering AES members a 20% discount on all its crops books with discount code AES20 when ordering online at https://shop.bdspublishing.com
OECD job vacancy at grade A5 level for the Head of the Agriculture and Resource Policy Division (Job Number 12817). Closing date is 30 May 2019. Links:
David Green and John Malcolm
It is with deep regret that the AES has learned of the deaths of David Green, 1931-2018 (Senior Lecturer in Farm Management, Aberystwyth University) and John Malcolm, 1938-2018 (former Chief Economist, National Famers Union). Both were long standing members of the AES and participated frequently in its annual conferences.
This Newsletter is also circulated with the JAE. The deadline for the receipt of material for the next issue is 16 July 2019, to email@example.com