THE AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS SOCIETY
Letter from the President
With multiple challenges, the Society’s work is as important as ever!
It was my good fortune to be incoming President as we emerged from more than two years of virtual meetings, and to be able to meet AES colleagues in Leuven as well as our Belgian counterparts. I would like to extend my thanks to Janet for her help in the transition and express my regret that she was not able to deliver her Presidential Address in person. The bonds of friendship and solidarity seem particularly valuable at a time when we are facing the unthinkable horror of war in Europe. Like many, I was impressed with the session on this topic, not least the local insights from Professor Oleg Nivievskyi in Kyiv.
The war in Ukraine has already had major impacts on food, feed and fertiliser markets and will undoubtedly keep many of us engaged over the months to come. Some will be looking at price dynamics, others at the ripple of impacts across global food markets and the likely long-term realignment of trading relationships. There will be implications for the affordability of food imports bills in several developing countries, and for poorer consumers across all countries. Then there will be complex impacts on farmers, depending on their specialisation and structure of operation. The crisis bears some similarities to the food price crisis of 2007-08 and the conference usefully pointed to lessons from that crisis. But with important differences, fresh insights using new methods will also be needed.
The agenda for agricultural economists was already full, with food and agriculture markets gradually emerging from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic; the implications of Brexit far from being full addressed; and policymakers increasingly aware that swift reforms will be needed for agriculture to make a much stronger contribution to climate change mitigation than it has done so far. It is reassuring that through the links from research to policy, the Society can make a positive contribution to these and other pressing problems.
Jonathan Brooks AES President 2022-23 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
We meet again! AES Annual Conference in Leuven, Belgium
The Annual Conference of the Agricultural Economics Society was held at KULeuven from 4 - 6 April, in cooperation with the Belgian Association of Agricultural Economists (BVLE). The rich and varied programme included a keynote address by Professor Frédéric Leroy (Free University Brussels) on Animal source foods: Do They Still Have a Role to play in Healthy and Sustainable diets?, the Presidential Address by Dr Jonathan Brooks (OECD, Paris) on Agricultural Policies and Food Systems: Priorities for Indicator Development, and a symposium on the Russian Invasion in Ukraine: Implications for Agricultural Markets, chaired by AES President-Elect Brendan Bayley (HM Treasury UK). The full programme is on the AES website: https://www.aes.ac.uk/annual-conference
Changes on the Executive: Caroline Saunders (Past President), Brendan Bayley, Myles Patton and Deb Roberts retired from the Executive after completing their terms of office. Frederic Ang will retire as Conference Programme Secretary after the 2023 annual conference, having been responsible for organising programmes for five Annual Conferences, and we warmly welcome Hervé Dakpo (INRAE France), who is coopted to the Executive and will shadow Frederic, taking over as the new Conference Secretary as from the 2024 conference. The three vacant positions on the Executive have been filled by Andrew Barnes (SRUC), Emma Dillon (Teagasc), and Carmen Hubbard (Newcastle).
Frederic Ang, AES Programme Secretary (email@example.com)
Steve Ramsden shares some thoughts on the Conference
There is much debate about the relative virtues of online and physical conferences. After two years online, the attractions of meeting people in person were becoming more evident and there was a consensus among the AES Executive that we should go ahead with the planned event at KULeuven. Although it was a difficult call to make, I am glad that we did: it was one of the best attended conferences for some time and, speaking personally, a very enjoyable one. As mentioned at the AGM of the Society, thanks are due to several people for making this happen; here I will just mention three key team members: Frederic Ang (Programme Secretary), Katy Thorne (Secretariat), and Wilfrid Legg (Secretary).
Among the many excellent sessions over the three days, it is easy to miss some of the other things that the Society is involved with: I would just like to mention three. We will be surveying members with a view to reporting the results at the Mid Term Executive meeting in October and at the conference in 2023. We would like to hear your views on a range of topics: conference, journals, AES website and so forth. Many thanks to Neil Chalmers, Social Media Manager, who will help with the survey design and implementation.
The Society first awarded an essay prize in 1963, when the winner was J.B. Dent (Optimal rations for livestock with special reference to bacon pigs). This year's winner is Chinonso Etumnu (A fulfilling marketplace? An analysis of Amazon’s sales strategies) and thanks to a generous endowment by David Blandford and Katharina Hassapoyannes, the prize money has recently been substantially increased to £3,000. Many thanks to David (a prize winner in 1972 (The analysis of buffer fund price stabilisation by export monopoly marketing agencies in developing countries) and Katherine for their generosity, which is highly appreciated by the Society. Applications for the 2023 prize essay are open: the deadline is 30 November. Eligibility details can be found on the AES website.
Finally, the Society has been developing its online conference facilities, not only in terms of online presentations, but also for the paper submission and selection processes in the run up to the conference itself. There is also improved access to papers during the conference: I spent the morning reading papers at some of the sessions that I was not able to attend in person for example. Many thanks to Katy Thorne, Frederic Ang and Rupert Tildesley (Saturn Innovation) for pushing all this through. To return to the debate about online and physical events, both have a place and if members would like to make use of the 'AES platform' for holding online events, such as 'Webinars', we’d love to hear from you.
Stephen Ramsden, Chair of the Executive Committee Stephen.Ramsden1@nottingham.ac.uk
EuroChoices profiles accessible research and topical issues
Following our 2021 celebrations of 20 years of EuroChoices, including the production of a special issue on climate change implications for the agri-food sector, our thoughts turned to delivery of plans for 2022. In the first two issues, we will be profiling the results of three important Horizon-2020 projects sponsored by the European Commission. In the first issue the findings of the AgriLink project aims to understand better the role of advisory services in farmers’ decisions regarding innovation, including technological, process, marketing, and social aspects, to enhance the contribution of farm advice for the sustainable development of European agriculture. Our second special issue focuses on two related H-2020 projects, LIFT (Low Input Farming and Territories) and UNISECO (Understanding and Improving the Sustainability of Agroecological Farming Systems). In recent weeks we have been dismayed by the invasion of Ukraine, loss of Ukrainian lives and the resulting devastation to infrastructure and the economy. The likely impacts on Ukraine’s agri-food sector are difficult to assess, but we have commissioned an analysis by experienced modellers of the likely impacts on the cereal sector, to be published in early May.
Please continue to write for the journal – which is recording increasing downloads and is consulted by policy advisors – and encourage colleagues to submit including those in early career. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/page/journal/1746692x/homepage/forauthors.html
John Davis, Chief Editor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Back to normal: other conferences and EAAE events
New Zealand The NZARES conference will be held in Nelson on Thursday 1st and Friday 2nd of September 2022 at the Beachside Conference and Events Centre. A pre-conference event will be held on Wednesday 31st of August 2022.
The 9th EAAE PhD Workshop 22-24 June 2022, at the Department of Economic and Managerial Science, Parma, Italy. The AES is offering up to ten bursaries of £300 to support student members of the AES to attend. The award is conditional on acceptance and attendance at the Workshop. Preparation of a short report, to be completed within one month of the event, will be available to AES members and bursary recipients will be encouraged to submit to the 2023 AES conference. Further details at www.eaae.org
The application form and the deadline for submitting for the AES bursary is 31 May 2022. Please include confirmation that you have been accepted at the Workshop before applying to: email@example.com
EAAE Congress, Rennes, 29 August to 1 September 2023 on the theme of Agri-food systems in a changing world: Connecting science and society
Tim Lloyd EAAE and IAAE Liaison Officer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Wilfrid Legg, Editor, AES Newsletter (email@example.com)
The Newsletter is also circulated with the Journal of Agricultural Economics. The deadline for items for the next issue is 2 July 2022