The Agricultural & Food Policy Center (AFPC) 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 AgriLife Research, Texas 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 three 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.
- Dr. Andy Novakovic and the faculty of the Cornell Program on Dairy Markets and Policy at Cornell University cooperates in analyzing dairy policy issues.
- 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:
Expertise and Achievments
While 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: 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 price supports, marketing orders, import regulations, product standards, and cooperative premiums interacting to determine market supply, demand, and prices. The collaboration with Cornell University and FAPRI allows AFPC to evaluate the farm-level impacts of dairy policy on more than 20 representative dairy farms.
- Crop Insurance: AFPC has analyzed a range of alternative crop insurance and assurance programs, as well as revenue insurance and disaster policy proposals.
- Farm Program Participation: 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.
- Government Payment Calculator: AFPC has developed and delivered a web based program, GPC, to provide farmers a risk based projection of monthly government payments, by crop and farm unit, for 2003-2008 under the 2002 Farm Bill.
- 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 formed by AFPC faculty in 1990.
- FARM Assistance: Using research and analytical methods developed by AFPC, Texas Cooperative 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.