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THE AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS SOCIETY
Newsletter
July 2020


Letter from two Presidents: Covid-19 and beyond

Caroline writes from New Zealand: We have been fortunate to have no community transmission of Covid-19 for 74 days. Apart from the border remaining closed, life has more or less returned to a new normal. So I feel for everyone still seeing cases and still under lockdown. The impact on the NZ economy has been better than expected, but we will see the full extent when our extended wage subsidy ends in September. It is then really important, both in NZ and the UK, that producers and others in the agricultural sector receive the best returns. We ran a survey of UK consumers of lamb in May to see if their willingness to pay has changed from our 2019 survey. You will be pleased to know that the highest premium is for English and Welsh lamb, which has risen substantially, as has that for NZ lamb. The premium for other attributes also rose, such as no GM feed, animal welfare and 100% pasture raised. Consumers are willing to pay more for lamb with credence attributes and we’re happy to share the results.

Janet writes from England: It’s my first week of returning to the office part-time, to resuscitate my pot plant and begin the process of gradual normalisation, which I imagine will be a similar experience for many other members of the Society. The risk of Covid transmission here remains ever-present and we must learn to act differently in our daily practices, with online meetings now the preferred option for ‘getting together’, while the office becomes a quiet place of retreat from the multiple demands, but also enjoyments, of working at home. More broadly, we are starting to see significant short to medium-term economic impacts of the past 4 months with some big businesses folding and uncertainty about whether the hoped-for ‘V-shape’ recovery will materialise, given recognition that where we return to will not be the same as where we left it. In the farming and food sector there seem positive signs of resilience and a welcome boost in confidence for local producers and short supply chains, following the turbulence of the first 6 weeks of lockdown. However, those dependent upon the hospitality trade - directly or indirectly - seem likely to suffer further well into 2021, as behaviour shifts in both urban and rural communities and the recession spreads across Europe. Brexit continues to concern many supply chain operators and livestock producers, with few details yet agreed about trading arrangements beyond December.

Caroline Saunders AES President 2020-2021 (saunmderc@lincoln.ac.nz)
Janet Dwyer AES President 2021-22 (jdwyer@glos.ac.uk)

Coping with the coronavirus: lockdown lessons
 
Readers are invited to share their experiences of the lockdown. Jonathan Brooks, who is elected AES President for 2022-23, offers his thoughts about the experiences in the OECD. Other contributions welcome!

At OECD we rushed into lockdown in early March and were faced with the immediate pressure of meeting work commitments, including the preparation of complex team based flagship products (our Monitoring and Evaluation, and Agricultural Outlook reports), which involve people working on shared documents, models and data. A surge of collective spirit ensured that work was delivered on time. Indeed, we even took on additional new work on the Covid-19 pandemic itself, implying a growth in productivity.  On balance, most people were working longer hours, although some struggled to put in a regular day, for example because of the challenges of working with small children at home. But the absence of informal interactions came at a price. People were less aware of activities outside their own domain, while discussions became more transactional. The lockdown also led to an accumulation of stress. The experience of lockdown will likely change the way we work for good, redefining what we do in the office and what we do remotely, and causing us to rethink the role of missions and travelling for conferences. For both internal and external meetings, we have discovered that we do not always need to meet face to face, so the balance between physical and virtual meetings is likely to shift. But we have also discovered the limits of teleworking, and professional and social benefits of workplace interactions.

Jon Brooks (jonathan.brooks@oecd.org)

OECD publications cited by Jon, and other briefings from the OECD on the implications of covid-19 pandemic for the agri-food, fisheries and rural economy sectors, can be accessed online:

Agriculture monitoring report: https://www.oecd.org/agriculture/topics/agricultural-policy-monitoring-and-evaluation/

Agriculture Outlook report: https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/agriculture-and-food/oecd-fao-agricultural-outlook-2020-2029_1112c23b-en

Covid-19 and fisheries briefing: http://www.oecd.org/coronavirus/policy-responses/fisheries-aquaculture-and-covid-19-issues-and-policy-responses-a2aa15de/

Covid-19 and rural development briefing: http://www.oecd.org/coronavirus/policy-responses/policy-implications-of-coronavirus-crisis-for-rural-development-6b9d189a/

Covid-19 and food supply chains briefing: http://www.oecd.org/coronavirus/policy-responses/food-supply-chains-and-covid-19-impacts-and-policy-lessons-71b57aea/

Covid-19 and global food systems briefing: http://www.oecd.org/coronavirus/policy-responses/covid-19-and-global-food-systems-aeb1434b/

Journal of Agricultural Economics: making an impact 
 
The Journal Impact Factors for 2019 have now been released. I am pleased to say that the JAE has managed to maintain last year’s absolute performance, reaching 2.529, and continues to be well ranked amongst our peer journals. Congratulations are due to authors, co-editors, reviewers - and readers – for this achievement!

The EAAE Policy Contribution Award in honour of Giovanni Anania for 2019 has been awarded to Jean-Christophe Bureau, Houssein Guimbard, and Sébastien Jean. Agricultural Trade Liberalisation in the 21st Century: Has It Done the Business? In the JAE, Vol. 70, No.1, 3-25.

The AES Prize Essay Competition is supported by the “Professor David Blandford and Dr. Katharine Hassapoyannes Essay Prize Trust” and the conditions for entries can be found on the AES website. The prize has been significantly increased, to £3000.

David Harvey, Editor-in-Chief  (david.harvey@newcastle.ac.uk)

EuroChoices: strengthening the team of co-editors

Co-editors Ulrich Koester and Csaba Csaki, who have both served on the editorial panel since the inception of EuroChoices, have stepped down. We thank Ulrich and Csaba for their valued contributions to the development of the journal. Following an open competition, we welcomed three new members to the editorial team on 1 July 2020: Martin Banse (Germany), Imre Fertő (Hungary) and Tomas Garcia Azcarate (Spain). Their appointments significantly widen the backgrounds and geographic profiles of the editorial team.

The early to mid-summer period has been one of intense activity in finalising Special Issue 19 (2) on the theme "Towards More Resilient Agricultural Systems in Europe", scheduled for publication in August. We have also been responding to the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic for global agri-food systems and a special issue on short and longer-term pandemic impacts will be published later in the year. There is still time to submit articles for this issue. EuroChoices has been at the forefront in publishing very extensive analyses of the economic impacts of Brexit on UK and wider EU agri-food and rural sectors since the UK Referendum in 2016. A special free to read online virtual issue of selected Brexit articles has been compiled and is now available at www.wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/euch. EuroChoices readership continues to grow with full text downloads in 2019 increasing by 41% on the 2018 level.  Contributions to the journal from members, at all stages in their careers, are strongly encouraged.

John Davis, Chief Editor (eurochoices@aes.ac.uk)
 
Tribute to Krijn Poppe

Krijn Poppe has recently retired from Wageningen (WUR). Krijn is a towering figure in European agricultural economics having served as Secretary-General of EAAE and Secretary/Treasurer of the EAAEP Foundation that publishes the European Review of Agricultural Economics. He has been Chair of the Eurochoices Advisory Board since its launch. The AES wishes him a long and healthy retirement, and looks forward to continuing to work with him and benefit from his expertise and wise judgment. More EAAE news and lists of upcoming seminars at www.eaae.org
 
A shorter version of the Newsletter is circulated with the JAE (ww.aes.ac.uk).  The deadline for items for the next issue is 10 December 2020, to wilfrid_legg@hotmail.com

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