Comprehensive research program plan, Food and Resource Economics Department

Material Information

Comprehensive research program plan, Food and Resource Economics Department
University of Florida -- Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
University of Florida -- Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Place of Publication:
Gainesville Fla
University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
42 p. : ; 28 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Agriculture -- Research -- Florida -- Gainesville ( lcsh )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


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General Note:
"July 1981."
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Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida.

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Full Text


The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source

site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.

Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
of Florida




JULY 1981

^ II


IM-- owl





JULY 1981



Brief Historical Overview
Research Perspective
Interaction with Industry and Other Disciplines
Major Problem Areas
Resident Instruction
Programs Areas
Production/Farm Management
Agricultural Marketing
Natural Resource Economics
Community and Rural Development
International Agricultural Development
Econometrics and Decision Sciences
Farming Systems
FARM Systems Laboratory

Research Program Area Objectives

Agricultural Land Retention
Agricultural Law and Economics
Agricultural Marketing
Analysis of Community Problems
Changing Technologies and Policies on People
Decision Making for Farm Firms
FARM Systems Lab
Macroeconomics and Agriculture
Quality of the Environment and Recreation
Small Farms and Farming Systems
Water Quantity and Quality





Existing Programs and Projects--Process and Criteria
for Review, Revision, and Termination 37
New Programs--Process and Criteria for Review,
Revision, and Termination 38
Personnel Needs--Faculty and Career Service 39
Facility Needs 40



Brief Historical Overview

The discipline of agricultural economics has been represented at

the University of Florida since the arrival of Dr. J. E. Turlington in

1914. Courses in agricultural economics (including farm management,

marketing and rural law) were taught during the next decade. In 1926

a Department of Agricultural Economics was formed in both the teaching

college and the Agricultural Experiment Station. Prior to this time

and the availability of federal funds from the Purnell Act, there was

no agricultural economics research program in the Florida Agricultural

Experiment Stations. There was, however, a limited amount of research

being carried on in the College of Agriculture in conjunction with the

teaching program.

At the outset, the research program was focused on commercial

agriculture and primarily on vegetable and citrus production and mar-

keting. Farm management studies were initiated in the late 1920's and

some research in marketing has been in the departmental program for

more than 45 years. Research on land tenure was initiated after World

War II, and in the early 1950's the manner in which water was being

managed was being investigated. Since 1960 the scope of the research

program has expanded to include: 1) Studies of the sectors and subsectors

of the economy through which agricultural products pass as they become

available to consumers, 2) interdisciplinary studies of the economic

impact of the adoption of the results of research being conducted in

other departments, 3) economic analyses of the utilization and management

of the state's natural resources, 4) evaluation of the economic impact of

the use of new production techniques in countries having a subtropical

climate similar to that in Florida and its application to Florida,

5) analysis of problems in the development of rural areas and communities,

6) the study and development of econometric and other quantitative methods

for application to agricultural problems, 7) the use of computerized (ana-

lytical and data) systems to analyze problems, and 8) cooperative research

with agencies such as USDA and the Florida Department of Citrus.

The history of agricultural economic research at the University of

Florida--just as for the entire nation--is really the history of how

people make scarce agricultural resources satisfy their numerous and

diverse wants. Ever since the Constitution was adopted, members of

Congress and the State Legislatures have concerned themselves with how

the American people allocate their resources in the production of food

and fiber.

Research Perspective

Over the past sixty years, the agricultural economics profession has

been characterized as one of growth, diversification, and change. The

impetus for the fluidity of our profession stems from the attempt to be

responsive to the perceived needs of the times. The emphasis of our

profession has been on the problem-solving approach to research. This

not only involves applied research to current problems, but also basic

research to develop the techniques, knowledge and understanding which

enables us to identify and solve relevant problems. Moreover, our

ability to anticipate problems and develop solutions and alternatives

continues to help prevent potential problems from becoming burdensome


An economist's laboratory is the world, and the world is constantly

changing at an ever-increasing rate. As the world in which we live

continues to become more dependent on and influenced by economic forces,

our research will continue to adjust to effectively address current and

emerging economic problems. In order that we may stand ready to meet

the research challenges ahead we will need to continue to assume a posture

that is both flexible and responsive while maintaining a research program

that is well grounded in basic research and consistent with the goals of

IFAS and beneficial to our constituents in the state of Florida.

While we may herein attempt to establish research goals and prior-

ities, we must also recognize the diversity and uniqueness of Florida

agriculture, aquaculture, and natural resources and the probability that

today's priorities, no matter how well conceived, may differ considerably

from the priorities of tomorrow.

The decade of the 70's was one in which we more clearly recognized

that there are effective constraints to growth, and that attempts at

business as usual would simply result in high rates of inflation, higher

unemployment and lower or declining economic growth. The decade of the

80's will be one of adjustment to this reality--a transition to an

environment of tighter natural resource constraints and relatively

higher energy prices.

U.S. and Florida agriculture have experienced an increasing inte-

gration with the world economy over the last decade and all indicators

point towards a continuation of this trend throughout the 1980's. The

internationalization of U.S., and more specifically Florida, agriculture

has manifested itself both as an increased involvement of domestic pro-

ducers in export markets, and as an enhanced vulnerability of domestic

agriculture to international shocks and sources of instability.

Some of the foreign developments affecting U.S. and Florida agri-

culture have been the sixfold increase in world petroleum prices, the

abandonment of the Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates and the

adoption of a floating exchange rate regime, and the increase in foreign

competition. The increase in import competition, in particular, has posed

a considerable threat to Florida producers of such products as vegetables,

cut flowers, citrus fruit, subtropical fruit and beef.

Equally important for the state of Florida has been the recent

emergence of a number of developing countries both as major export mar-

kets for U.S. and Florida agricultural products, and as major sources of

import competition directly affecting Florida's agricultural industries.

The future prosperity of Florida's agricultural sector will be directly

linked with developments occurring abroad and, in particular, those taking

place in developing countries. It is imperative that agricultural

economists enrich their knowledge on a comparative international basis

in an attempt to predict and respond to the forces of change in Florida's

agriculture during the 1980's.

It is clear, therefore, that research in the Food and Resource

Economics Department will have to account for the internationalization

of U.S. and Florida agricultural sectors. International studies will

have to concentrate on the nature of the response to the challenges

facing Florida as an increasingly integral part of the world agricultural


Over the next decade agriculture will be facing very rapid and far

reaching changes. Resource availability and use will shift as energy

supplies experience shortfalls, prices increase drastically and govern-

mental regulations limit the application of agricultural chemicals and

fertilizers. High interest charges will greatly affect the economic

availability of short, intermediate and long run capital. The number of

production alternatives that can repay high interest loans will be greatly

restricted. Land use regulations and increased taxation will put additional

pressure on agricultural land. Price uncertainty will increase as inter-

national competition increases.

The agricultural sector of the U.S. and the world economy is heavily

dependent upon, and includes four major biological, or natural resource,

systems. These systems--croplands, grasslands, forests, and marine-
fisheries--along with water, air, minerals and petroleum-derived synthe-

tics, provide all the raw materials necessary to operate the economic

system. Energy resources, also a part of the natural resource base, are

mixed with these raw materials and the knowledge and desires of the human

element to provide a particular array of products. It is this natural

resource base that is of concern to natural resource economists.

The 1980 Census of Population has confirmed that for the first time

in more than 160 years the population growth rate in the United States

was higher in rural and small town communities than in metropolitan areas.

Nonmetropolitan counties in Florida increased an astounding 50.8 percent

during the 1970's. This compares with a 39.2 percent for metropolitan

*counties and a 41.1 percent increase for the state as a whole. Rapid

population growth rates for nonmetropolitan Florida are expected to

continue throughout the 1980's. Rural areas and small communities are

being challenged by this rapid growth and the changes being experienced

profoundly affect the economic social, political and environmental con-

figuration of the community.
Agriculture is also challenged by this growth as farming has many

interfaces with the nonfarm sector. The National Agricultural Land

Study reported that Florida is losing agricultural lands at the rate

of 300,000 acres per year, and faster than any other state. There is

increased pressure for higher property taxes to finance desired public

services. To have a vital, efficient agricultural industry and rural

communities with a high quality of life, Florida's leaders and citizens

must have adequate information upon which to base state and local

programs and policies.
Agricultural marketing problems are more pronounced in Florida

relative to most other states because of the large and diverse number

of farm products, as well as the national importance of many products

produced in Florida. Also, because of Florida's geographic location

and peninsular configuration, energy costs for transportation of food

and agricultural products into and out of the state are much more sig-


Agriculture obviously is in a state of transition. Several forces

are operating with potentially great impacts on agriculture. First,

energy prices have and will continue to increase. Second, continued

growth and development in the state is exerting increasing pressure on

land, water, environmental and community resources. Third, the inte-

gration of agriculture into both the national and world economies has

resulted in rapidly changing and dynamic comparative advantages between

commodities, between states, and between countries. Fourth, this same

integration has added a new dimension of complexity and uncertainty to

decision making in agriculture. Finally, recent developments in elec-

tronic circuitry and miniaturization technologies is spawning a new age

of computerization centered around private ownership and use of micro-

computers in decision making. Each of these forces has significant

implications for agriculture in Florida. The Food and Resource Economics

Department has the expertise to address these issues and looks forward

to the challenge and excitement of the coming decade.

Interaction with Industry and Other Disciplines

The Food and Resource Economics Department has traditionally served

a wide range of private firms, agricultural industries, institutions,

communities, and other agriculturally related organizations. In addition,

the department interacts with other disciplines within IFAS, within the

University of Florida, and other research and educational institutions.

An example of research conducted for individual farm firms are the

crop and livestock enterprise budgets and energy use analyses performed

by the Farm Systems Lab. Research on problems faced by agricultural

industries constitute a major thrust of the department's program. A

number of commodity and farmers' organizations have over the years

relied on research by FRE faculty in addressing specific problems con-

fronting their respective industries. Industries that have benefited

from FRE research programs include citrus, livestock, vegetables,

ornamentals, and fisheries.

The Department also conducts research that has been of use to various

government and community groups and organizations, such as water manage-

ment districts, rural development committees, regulatory agencies, state

planning and development agencies, and legislative and executive branches

of state government.

The FRE department closely interacts with a number of research

programs and disciplines in IFAS including Agricultural Engineering, Soils,

Agronomy, Food Science and Human Nutrition, Vegetable Crops, Fruit Crops,

the Centers for Rural Development, Environmental Programs, and Tropical

Agriculture, and the Office of International Programs. Within the

University of Florida, researchers from the FRE department cooperate

and interact with faculty in the Economics, Anthropology, Statistics,

Sociology, and Environmental Engineering departments. Research faculty

in FRE also interact with other faculty in the Centers for Latin American

Studies, African Studies, and Econometrics and Decision Sciences.

Major Problem Areas

With this historical background and perspective of the Food and

Resource Economics Department, the following list of some of the major

problem areas that confront agricultural producers, industries, communities,


and other agriculturally related organizations were identified:

1. Production firm efficiency

2. Marketing firm analysis and efficiency

3. Distribution

4. Transportation

5. International competition and trade

6. Interregional competition and trade

7. Government policies and regulations

8. Capital and credit

9. Taxation

10. Prices and margins

11. Resource and enterprise combinations

12. Adequate information for economic decision makings

13. Computer technology and analyses for producers and policymakers

14. Industry structure and performance

15. Technology generation, evaluation, and modification

16. Acquisition and management of primary and secondary data

17. Agricultural policy and programs

18. Forecasting and outlook

19. Market development

20. Consumer behavior

21. Water quality and quantity

22. Energy

23. Land

24. Economic planning

25. Poverty and welfare programs

26. Industrialization, development and land use


development and the socio-economic problems, such as environmental quality,

which are created by changes in our society. It also recognizes a respons-

ibility to widen and deepen the stock of basic knowledge that will be of

value in identifying, preventing, and solving future problems.


The overall goal of the extension program is to provide private and
public decision makers in Florida with educational information regarding

farm and agribusiness management, agricultural marketing, natural resources,

community and rural development, and marine resources.

Program Areas

The Department has integrated its research, extension, and teaching

functions in the following program areas: production/farm management,

agricultural marketing, natural resource economics, community and rural

development, international agricultural development, econometrics and

decision sciences applied to agriculture, farming systems, and FARM

Systems Laboratory. A faculty workgroup exists for each of these areas.

Production/Farm Management

Faculty in the production/farm management workgroup collect technical

and economic data regarding enterprises and firms producing and marketing

agricultural products; evaluate decision making criteria and behavior of

agricultural firms and commodity groups; appraise the impact of avail-

ability and substitutability of inputs on structure and performance;

develop applications of computer technology to decision needs of firms and

commodity groups; and evaluate the impact of taxation, government regu-

lations, and policies on structure and performance.


27. Community services (water, sewer, health, financing)

28. Housing

29. Employment

30. Aesthetic, recreation, and environmental quality


The role of the Department of Food and Resource Economics within the

Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is to provide a flow of

research, extension, and teaching services dealing with the economics

of agriculture, natural and human resources, and rural, regional and

international agricultural development and trade. The Department has

statewide responsibilities in providing economic input to agricultural

and resource problems.

Resident Instruction

The general goal of the resident instruction program is to teach

students to analyze the economic implications of the physical, biological,

and institutional factors associated with making decisions in agriculture,

agriculturally related industries, and natural and human resources.


The general goal of the research program is to provide knowledge

which is needed to guide decisions in the production, marketing, distri-

bution, and consumption of food, fiber, and marine products and the

development and more efficient use of natural (including marine), human,

and capital resources. The program recognizes the need for human resource


Agricultural Marketing

Marketing activities include a variety of important subject areas

such as international competition and trade, market development and

consumer behavior, transportation and distribution, industry structure

and performance, government regulations and agricultural policies, price

and margin analysis, forecasting and outlook, interregional competition

and trade, and marketing firm analysis and efficiency. These functional

areas are applied to various commodity groups such as citrus, vegetables,

livestock and products, ornamentals, field crops, deciduous fruits, and

tropical fruits.

Natural Resource Economics

This area involves the economics of natural resource use, ownership,

conservation, development, and management. Natural resource economics

deals with land, water, energy, minerals, forestry, marine resources, air,

and the environment in general. The program emphasizes policy issues

related to these resources.

Community and Rural Development

Community and rural development is oriented toward improving our

understanding of the efficiency and equity of public policies and pro-

grams as they relate to rural areas. It includes many vital concerns of

people in rural communities, such as agricultural land retention, land

use planning, community services, economic development, and small farms.


International Agricultural Development

This area concentrates on the nature of the response to the challenge

facing Florida as an increasingly integral part of the world agricultural

economy. Our work in international trade and policy seeks to analyze the

competitive position of Florida agriculture in international markets,

while the area of tropical agricultural development addresses tropical

and subtropical agricultural development through the interface between

domestic and international technical assistance.

Econometrics and Decision Sciences

This is a basic support discipline for the applied research economists

in the Department, as well as for the training of professional agricultural

economists. The subject matter is both theoretical and applied. Emphasis

is upon application to agricultural problems.

Farming Systems

This is a multidisciplinary program designed for small, usually

diversified farmers in Florida. Emphasis is upon the farm unit and the

development of technology and management assistance to improve the

farmer's well being.

FARM Systems Laboratory

FARM Systems Lab.provides academic support for analyzing the impacts

of changes occurring in Florida's agriculture. The Lab acquires and

manages agricultural data, develops computerized analytical systems, and

delivers computerized decision aid software and analyses to producers,

agribusinessmen, extension personnel, and policy makers.



An increased demand for agricultural economics knowledge by a

society facing a larger number of interdependent problems has been the

primary reason for the expansion of agricultural economics research into

areas that agricultural economists were not involved in at the turn of

the century. The American Agricultural Economics Association recently

published a list of program areas within the agricultural economics

profession (Table 1).

The Food and Resource Economics Department does not have active

research in each of these areas but Table 1 does provide an overview of

the program areas within which research should be conducted to solve

the problems expressed in the demand for agricultural economics infor-

mation. The Department has workgroups active in the following areas:

production/farm management, marketing, community and rural development,

natural resources, econometrics, international development, FARM Systems

Lab and Farming Systems.

Research Program Area Objectives

The objectives for the various research program areas are embodied

in the following list of 49 problem or program areas:


Table 1. Program areas within agricultural .economics

Farm Management/Production Economics
Farm Production Economics
Farm Management
Farm Accounts/Record Keeping
Farm Firm Growth

Agricultural Marketing
Firm/Plant/Market Efficiency
Food Processing/Distribution
Transport Location/Storage
Plant Location/Interregional Trade
Market Regulation
Market Systems/Structure/Performance
Futures Markets
Cooperative Organization/Policy
Pricing Systems

Agribusiness Management
Business Administration
Managerial Economics
Decision Analyses/Risk Management

Agricultural Price/Income/Policy Analysis
Commodity Sypply/Demand Analysis
Agricultural Situation/Outlook
Agricultural Income/Expenses
Agricultural Policy Analysis
Agricultural Sector Performance Measures
Farm Structure

International Agricultural Trade/Development
Trade Policy
Food Assistance Programs
Technical Assistance
Commodity Analysis/Project
Country/Regional Analysis
Economic Growth/Development
Agricultural Sector Analysis

Agricultural Finance
Farm Financial Management
Farm Lending/Institutions
Financial Markets
Macro-Economic Finance
Farm Real Estate Valuation/Prices
Risk Management


Table 1. Program areas within agricultural economics (continued)

Natural Resources/Environmental Economics
Water Resources
Environmental/Chemical-Animal Waste Management
Mineral Resources

Community Resource Economics
Community Facility-Water/Sewer/Health
Regional Economics
Land Use Zoning/Planning
State/Local Government Finance
Economic Planning

Human Resource Economics
Health Services
Welfare Programs Including Food Programs
Employee Training/Development

Consumer Economics
Consumer Demand
Consumer Education
Consumer Regulation/Protection
Consumer Finance

General Economics
Micro-Economic Theory
Macro-Economic Theory
International Economics
Labor Economics
Industrial Economics
Institutional Economics
Welfare Economics
International Trade Theory
Regional Economics/Location Theory
Decision Theory

Research Methods/Econometrics/Statistics
Econometrics Methods
Statistical Methods
Mathematical Methods
System Analysis/Simulation
Data Collection


Table 1. Program areas within agricultural economics (continued)

Research Methods/Econometrics/Statistics (continued)
Research Methods/Philosophy

Other Specialities
Agricultural Animal Sciences
Agricultural Plant Sciences
Political Science
Research Management
Public Administration

1. Collect, develop and maintain current technical and economic data
relative to enterprises and firms producing and marketing agri-
cultural and marine commodities.

2. Evaluate the impact of high interest rates on the farm firm and
the structure of Florida agriculture.

3. Appraise the impact of the limited availability of inputs and the
substitutability of inputs on the structure and performance of
agricultural and marine firms and commodity groups.

4. Evaluate the impact of taxation, governmental regulation, national
and international policy and changes in agricultural law on the
structure and performance of agricultural and marine firms and
commodity groups.

5. Develop the principles, models and methodology for the application
of computer technology to meet the information and decision aid
needs of agricultural and marine firms and commodity groups.

6. Evaluate information needs and economic decision-making criteria
and behavior of agricultural and marine firms and commodity groups.

7. Generate technology for small, diversified farms in North Florida.

8. Evaluate and modify farming systems research and extensive methods
for Florida conditions.

9. Price forecasting in commodity and input markets.

10. Estimate the relationship between quantity demanded of Florida
commodities and causative variables in various regions of the U.S.
and the world.

11. Estimate the supply response of Florida agricultural producers.


12. Analyze Florida's competitive position in interregional and
international commodity markets.

13. Estimate the response to advertising expenditures in promoting
Florida's farm products.

14. Estimate the demand for inputs (water, land, labor & energy) by
Florida's agricultural producers.

15. Analysis of marketing margins and transportation costs for Florida's
agricultural products.

16. Systems modeling of Florida's agricultural sector.

17. Analysis of the impact of government, regulation and agricultural
policy on Florida agriculture and agriculture.

18. The impact of foreign trade and competition on Florida commodities.

19. Price and margin analysis with emphasis on the importance of
price and efficiency in the marketing system.

20. Analysis of transportation and distribution problems with respect
of Florida's geographic location and the importance of viable and
efficient systems to maintain Florida's competitive position.

21. Improving productivity in the food marketing and distribution

22. Analysis of market development programs and their impact on Florida

23. Consumer behavior and the demand for Florida agricultural products.

24. Evaluation of industry structure and performance of agricultural

25. Forecasting of the outlook for supply, demand and price of Florida
agricultural and marine products.

26. Acquire and manage primary and secondary data relevant to the
management of Florida's agricultural resources.

27. Develop computerized analytical systems to help solve current and
emerging problems in agricultural and resource management.

28. Provide analyses of the impact of current and future trends in
regulation, resource availability and input costs on producers'
decisions and the future of Florida's agriculture.

29. Deliver computer technology and analyses to producers, extension
personnel, and policy makers to assist them in making decisions.

30. Minimize the costs of providing adequate public services in rural


31. Improve the education, training, skills-and employment opportunities
for rural residents.

32. Identify needed housing policies and programs which will facilitate
adequate housing for rural residents.

33. Develop economic impact models to identify the consequences of
economic growth and development with emphasis on the role of the
agricultural sector in local economies.

34. Help rural areas utilize land in a manner to most efficiently
accomplish community goals.

S35. Evaluate the efficiency of public revenue use and identify the
consequences on agriculture and rural communities.

36. Identify the economic impacts of industrialization alternatives.

37. Improve the ability of rural residents to determine and control
economic events in their communities.

38. Develop improved understanding of population change and character-
istics on rural areas.

39. Evaluate programs and policies designed to eliminate poverty in
rural areas.

40. Determine health care needs of rural residents and examine costs
of alternative health care programs.

41. Evaluation of changes in the natural resource institutional setting
in Florida, with concern for appropriate structure, conduct and
performance of water agencies.

42. Analysis of the structure of property rights in land and water as
related to land use zoning and land and water use planning.

43. Evaluation of agriculturalists' rights structure in the release of
chemicals and excess fertilizers in land and water systems.

44. The rights and liabilities of agricultural firms with respect to
noise, odor and other 14 locally obnoxious "types of facilities."

45. An evaluation of resource agencies with respect to their capability
to deliver services desired by society and affecting agriculturalists.

46. Prediction of the response of individual farm-firms, agricultural
industries, and public agencies to changes in institutional settings,
natural resource market conditions and policies.

47. Quantification of the social and economic values and supply costs
of land, water, energy and natural resource systems in Florida.


48. Estimation of the optimal conservation levels, use and harvest
rates, and preservation rates of Florida's natural resources,
especially as optimality relates to intertemporal allocation.

49. Analysis of the impact of Futures markets on Florida commodities.



As the statewide economics research unit for the Institute of Food

and Agricultural Sciences, the Department of Food and Resource Economics

has developed expertise in such areas as production/farm management,

marketing, natural resources, community and rural development, econometrics,

international trade and development, small farms and farming systems, and

marine economics. In many of these areas the Department collects original

data and provides decision makers with reports and publications on a

regular basis. Examples of this type of applied research include the

vegetable and citrus cost of production work, as well as the annual

enterprise budgets prepared primarily by the area economists located at

the Lake Alfred, Belle Glade, Bradenton, Quincy, and Marianna research

and education centers. The point here is that most of the basic data

generation and analysis conducted by the Department are important and

necessary for the special emphasis programs discussed in this section of

the report.

The "program areas for special emphasis" are presented alphabetically

and thus without priority ranking.

Agricultural Land Retention

Land use planning and decision making is one of the most complex and

least understood domestic concerns facing society today. Rights of private

property owners, Jeffersonian land ethics, and perceived prerogatives of

various levels of government influence our present land use system.

Agriculture has been tremendously affected and has vital interest in

public and private decisions regarding land use. Recent forecasts by some

show Florida having no agricultural lands by the year 2000. Adequate farm


land to provide an abundance of nutritious food has been and is a major

concern of farmers and of society in general.

The historical role and importance of agriculture in Florida and

the competition for the use of land caused by the State's rapid population

growth have combined to make the issue of protecting land for agriculture

of critical importance. Although our technical understanding of many

of the issues surrounding the increased competition for land has improved

over the years, there are widely differing opinions on the need for

additional policies to protect land for agriculture. These differences of

opinion vary in intensity but are frequently strongly held because they

represent special interests. Partly because of this diversity of interest

(e.g., land speculators, realtors, developers, agriculture), public

policies to resolve the conflicting land use objectives has been severely

restricted. Additional research and education on the need for protecting

agricultural lands is needed.

Some specific research areas include the following: analysis of the

factors contributing to changes in land use; documenting current uses of.

land in Florida; determining the impact of projected population growth

on agricultural land use; identifying the pattern of agricultural land

ownership, including foreign ownership; evaluating changing patterns of

ownership on agricultural production and the retention of land in

agricultural production; providing analysis of alternative land use

policies and regulations; and examining the structure and functioning of

the rural land market, particularly in areas where land is being con-

verted from agricultural to non-agricultural uses.


Agricultural Law and Economics

The decade of the 1980's will be extremely critical for legal-economic

research. The rural-urban conflict, changing public policies, increased

competition for natural resources, and the significant adjustments likely

in the nature and structure of agriculture are just a few of the factors

which will contribute to the importance of legal-economic research in the

decade. While the problems and issues involve a wide array of subjects,

a few examples of needed research include the following: the impact of

the elimination of classified use appraisal of agricultural land for

Ad Valorem taxation purposes; problems of agricultural land retention;

analysis of alternative federal estate tax provisions upon intergeneration

transfer of family farms; rights to scarce water resources; and the effect

of changes in state and/or federal legislation involving cooperatives,

agricultural labor, income taxes, environmental protection, occupational

safety, commodity programs, and international trade.

Agricultural Marketing

The marketing of agricultural and marine products is a major and

essential process of providing food and fiber for consumers. The importance

of agricultural marketing stems from the fact that two-thirds of the

consumers' dollar for food is expended for various marketing functions with

the remaining one-third paid directly to farmers. The dramatic upward

spiral in consumer food prices in recent years is due in large measure to

the large increase in petroleum and other energy prices. These increases

in energy costs have directly affected the costs of processing, wholesaling,

transportation, and retailing services for food in Florida.


Agricultural marketing problems are more pronounced in Florida rela-

tive to most other states because of the large and diverse number of farm

products, as well as the national importance of many products produced in

Florida. Because of Florida's geographic location and peninsular configu-

ration, energy costs for transportation of food and agricultural products

into and out of the state are much more significant.

The matrix of functional activities and commodity areas (see page 25)

represents the marketing faculty's current thinking as to the importance

(in a research context) of the various sub-disciplines to specific

commodities. This evaluation represents faculty opinion, interest, exper-

tise, and bias. The matrix should be approached on a commodity basis, as

this is how priorities were assigned, across functional areas for each

commodity. No attempt was made to assign priorities across commodities,

but rather functional areas were evaluated for each commodity. For

example, International Competition and Trade was considered to be an

area of "High" priority research for citrus, while Market Development and

Consumer Behavior was evaluated as a "Medium" research priority for


The evaluations reflected in the matrix suggest four functional areas

which are considered to be high priority research areas for the foresee-

able future. These include, not necessarily in order of importance,

"Government, regulation and Agricultural Policy," which reflects the

reality of the regulatory environment in which Florida agriculture and

aquaculture now operates and will continue to operate in the future;

"Price and Margin Analysis," which emphasizes the importance of price and

efficiency in the marketing system; "International Competition and Trade,"

capturing the importance of foreign trade and competition to Florida



and Trade

. T ...I -~I I M r .

and Consumer
n Dh i r



U0% e r' fi',,n t,
RegJulation, &

Annal ~si


Int i TuLgiorid ]
Competi tion
and Trade

Analysis S

I Citrus High ed Med Med High Med High Low Low

2 Dairy Low Med Med High High Med Low High Low

3 Field Crops Med Low Low Low Med Med Low Low Low

4 Fisheries High High Med Low ligh Med Low Low Med

Food Sector, Low High
5 wiolesaIe & fed tied ed ed High ligh High Low Low High

6 Inputs Med Low Med Med Med Med Low Low Low

7 Livestock Med Low High Low Med High High High High

8 Ornamentals High Med High Med Med Low Low High High

SOther Med Med ted Med Low High Med Med Low

10 Poultry Low Med Med Low Med Med Low Low Low

11 Vegetables High Low High Med Med High High Med Med


commodities; and "Transportation and Distribution," highlighting Florida's

geographic location and the importance of viable and efficient systems to

maintain Florida's competitive position. While all sub-disciplines

delineated are considered to be important functional areas, their impor-

tance tends to vary by commodity.

The transportation and international competition and trade areas are

particularly worthy of additional efforts. Both subject areas strike to

the core of Florida's comparative advantage in national and international

markets. Both are tied to the impact of rising energy prices. Economic

studies are needed to evaluate the competitive position of Florida's

agricultural industries from changes in transportation rates and costs of

production among competitive suppliers. With regard to international
trade and development, research is needed for not only the effect of

competing imports upon the State's economy, but also the identification

and analysis of export market development opportunities.

Analysis of Community Problems

The 1980 Census of Population has confirmed that for the first time

in more than 160 years the population growth rate in the United States

was higher in rural and small town communities than in metropolitan

areas. Non-metropolitan counties in Florida increased an astounding 50.8

percent during the 1970's. This compares with a 39.2 percent for metro-

politan counties and a 41.1 percent increase for the State as a whole.

Rapid population growth rates for non-metropolitan Florida are

expected to continue throughout the 1980's. Rural areas and small

communities are being challenged by this rapid growth and the changes

being experienced profoundly affect the economic, social, political, and


environmental configuration of the community. At the same time, conditions

of poverty still exist for many rural residents. Federal policy has been

dominated by urban concerns and rural residents have not been as skilled

in obtaining federal grants for public services.

Each community in Florida, regardless of its size, consists of a set

of interdependent economic activities (agriculture, mining, manufacturing,

etc.) which provide jobs and income for community citizens. Understanding

this set of economic relationships and providing information about the

local economy to citizens is the major focus of the work in Community and

Regional Economic Development. Work in this area concentrates on problems

and issues such as efforts to measure the contribution of particular

agricultural sectors to the economy, assess problems and potential in

rural economic growth, identify the interrelationships of economic activity

and natural resource utilization, identify those sectors and individuals

most affected by escalating energy costs, provide technical assistance to

various planning efforts in the State, evaluate alternative development

strategies for Florida communities, assess the importance of tourism and

recreation enterprises in rural areas, and assess the public and private

sector impacts of community growth. This research is closely related to

needed research on the economics of public services, efficiency of local

government services, and finance.

Changing Technologies and Policies on People

The adjustments required of groups of people and of individuals to

changes in agricultural production and marketing technologies and farm

and food policies can be substantial. Historically, these impacts or

adjustments have been identified and studied ex post rather than ex ante.


Although the mass exodus of labor from the agricultural sector has largely

been completed, there are major new technological advancements in agri-

cultural production, the structure of agriculture, food programs, and farm

policies which need to be analyzed for their effects on individuals and

groups of people. Examples of this work include study of agricultural labor

markets and policies and study of the consequence of changes in food

stamp and related food assistance programs. Findings of this research

could be of substantial value in guiding policies to increase the general

well being of rural people.

Decision Making for Farm Firms

It has been said that farmers of the future must learn to build their

nests in the whirlwinds of change, and surely that is so. In 1980 alone

we saw swings in corn prices from $2.56 to $3.96 per bushel, and hog

prices ranged from $27 to $53 per hundredweight. Couple this kind of

produce price gyration (and variation similar to this is expected to be

the "norm" in the 1980's) with interest changes that eat up about $1 from

every $5 gross income, and it is apparent why agriculturalists will need

help in the 1980's.

Florida farmers need information to help them decipher the confusing

signals being sent by the economy, by interest rates, by roller coaster

prices. They need information about institutional changes such as land

and water use regulations. They need improved "hands-on" means for

processing this information to aid in their decision making.

Agricultural producers need analyses to help them assess different

management strategies. How much debt load can be tolerated in a specific

production area, for example? Is diversification a strategy that will


have a higher payoff in the future? Will it be possible for farmers to

continue to buy land as population pressures land prices upward?

As never before, FRED is turning its attention, its analytical

ability, and its imagination to finding ways to help Floridians adjust to

an uncertain future. Work is underway on micros and other computerized

information processing tools; work is underway on budget generators and

cash-flow planning models that agriculturalists may use to test their own

assumptions about the future; work is underway on decision-making

strategies themselves--how, in fact, do farmers make the decisions they do

(and then how could our information be put to better use); and work is

begun on econometric models for helping with price forecasts.


Econometrics is a basic support discipline for applied research

economists. The econometrics area must receive greater research support

in the 1980's if reliable and useful solutions to economic issues are


For the 1979-81 biennial budget, the Department's faculty reputation

in econometrics was influential in the designation of the University of

Florida's econometrics and decision-sciences programs for special Quality

Improvement Program funding. Unfortunately, no IFAS funding was made

available to support the econometrics work in Food and Resource Economics.

Resources to strengthen econometrics and decision sciences in FRED as a

counterpart to the Center of Econometrics and Decision Sciences in E & G

would facilitate more complete data and more appropriate analytical pro-

cedures for the study of food and resource based problems.


It is proposed that a special Policy Analysis and Forecasting Unit

be created within the Department. This unit would develop models to

evaluate alternative state and federal policies, as well as the effects of

price shocks, freezes, and other stimuli. The unit could also make pro-

jections of supply and demand aspects of various input and commodity

markets. For example, this unit could analyze the impact of changing

government regulations on farm labor markets, and it could forecast the

prices of other key inputs, such as fertilizers. Initial focus should be

placed upon developing industry or statewide economic impact models as

opposed to input and final product price projection forecasts.


The energy-related issues are profound and are evident in many of the

other program areas in this report. Some of the energy research objec-

tives of the Department are as follows: identify the expected economic

impacts on various sectors of Florida's economy, including the agricultural

sector, as a result of rising energy prices and supply disruptions; evalu-

ate the economics of alternative technologies with respect to agricultural

production in the State of Florida, which would dampen the shock effects

of higher energy prices; assess the feasibility of alternative conserva-

tion measures; determine the economic potential of alcohol fuels from

sugarcane; specify the economic potential of producing gas from wood in

agricultural operations and for electric power production; quantify the

economic potential of photovoltaic systems in crop irrigation and in

residential use; determine the economic potential of producing methane and

algae from animal wastes; develop a systems analysis framework to evaluate

the biomass energy technologies being developed under Gas Research


Institute program; and determine the relationship between energy use and

water use in the agricultural sector.

FARM Systems Lab

The FARM Systems Lab was created in 1980 to provide academic support

to analyzing the impacts of the changes occurring in Florida's agriculture.

The long-term objectives of the FARM Systems Lab are to: acquire and

manage primary and secondary data to facilitate the management of Florida's

agricultural resources; develop computerized analytical systems to help

solve current and emerging problems in agricultural and resource manage-

ment; provide analyses of the impact of current and future trends in

regulation, resource availability, and input costs on producer's decisions

and the future of Florida's agriculture; deliver computer technology and

analyses to producers, extension personnel, and policy makers to assist

them in making decisions; and provide support for teaching programs

designed to educate students on the use of computers.

The short-term goals of the FARM Systems Lab reflect specific

activities planned for the next couple of years, including development of

computerized agricultural management software to assist farmers, ranchers,

and growers in decision making. Special emphasis will be given to the

development of software for micro-computers and for delivery over the IFAS

network. Existing computer software will be acquired and modified to

reflect Florida conditions (e.g., Iowa State University's estate planning

package, Oklahoma State University's linear programming package, Michigan

State University's recordkeeping-investment analysis package, etc.).

The existing budget generator and cash flow analysis model will be modi-

fied for use with citrus, sugarcane, and other crops with multi-year


planning horizons. Assistance available through the FARM Systems Lab will

be publicized by publishing a newsletter and holding training sessions to

assist Area Extension Specialists, County Extension Agents, producers,

and others in using the available computer routines to generate budgets,

cash flow analyses, energy use summaries, and other information upon which

economic decisions may be based. The Lab will also assist research pro-

jects related to agricultural and resource management and decision making

(e.g., dairy survey and interdisciplinary management modeling project)

and give students "hands-on" experience with computerized decision tools.

The era of computerized decision making in agriculture is imminent.

Private ownership of micro-computers is rapidly increasing and the IFAS

computer network is nearing reality. The existence of this computerized

capacity for information management, analysis, and delivery will be an

essential ingredient in helping agriculture adjust to the many and varied

pressures facing agriculture in the 1980's. However, the mere existence

of hardware will not solve the problems. A concerted effort to acquire,

modify, develop, and deliver software for use on micros and the network

is essential if the hardware is to be used effectively to help agricul-

ture adjust. IFAS should follow its own lead in establishing the network

by placing special emphasis on the development and delivery of software.

Macroeconomics and Agriculture

There has been a fundamental change in the nature and character of

the agricultural economy. There is now increased integration of Florida

and U.S. agriculture with the world economy, abandonment of the Bretton

Woods system of fixed exchange rates and the adoption of a floating

exchange rate regime, increased foreign competition, and interdependence.


We now have less U.S. government interference in domestic commodity

marketing and much more volatile commodity prices. Both greatly increase

risk for the U.S. and Florida farmers. General economic policies of the

U.S. and other major countries are now more important to the welfare of

U.S. agriculture and rural people than agricultural specific or commodity

policies. As a consequence, attention to major monetary and fiscal

policies may provide more effective methods of promoting the economic

well being of agriculture than the traditional emphasis of working only

within the agricultural sector on biological and physical research and

commodity programs.

The Food and Resource Economics Department recognizes this growing

importance of macroeconomics and is prepared to increase its research in-

volvement in the international and domestic areas to better understand the

effects of U.S. and international monetary and fiscal policies on the

world's financial accounts and how these, in turn, affect agriculture in

the U.S. and Florida--particularly if adequate additional funds are


Quality of the Environment and Recreation

There has been a tendency for IFAS and FRED to evaluate the supply

and production efficiency side of Florida's natural resources, almost

ignoring the consumptive use of natural resources and the research aspects

of the demand side. Of course, much of Florida's attraction to new

residents and tourists is due to the present quality of its natural

resources, such as fresh water lakes, rivers, beaches, campgrounds,

forests, and air. A recent article in Sports Illustrated (February 9,


1981), "There's Trouble in Paradise," indicates the importance of the

quality of our natural resources to many people.

Because of the expected increase in both urban and agricultural

growth during the decade of the 1980's, it is important to develop

empirical measurements of the economic demand for recreational activities

and to analyze the effect of this competition for our natural resources.

It is also important to estimate the impact of a possible reduction in

the quality of Florida's natural and environmental resources upon the

general economic welfare of the State. There is also a specific need to

determine the economic importance of Florida's marine recreation industries

and to provide location specific studies of the demand for marine recrea-

tion services, such as marinas, boat ramps, fishing piers, and beaches.

Small Farms and Farming Systems

Recent studies have shown that U.S, food production is becoming more

and more concentrated, and the survival of the small to medium-sized

family farm is in serious question. We need to understand survival

strategies of small farmers to see if the rules or plans that once kept

the small farmer in business will still work and to attempt to develop new

survival strategies which could help the small family farm survive in the

last decades of the 20th Century. Research in this area will look at

changes in farmers' decision rules, as they attempt to adapt to a highly-

changing environment. Specific short-range efforts are to initiate surveys

with farmers to identify survival strategies; focus study on the reasons

and circumstances causing farmers to become financially overextended;

analyze farmer's plans, strategies, goals, and roles to identify their


interaction with survival strategies; and develop models to test the

adaptiveness of alternative survival strategies.

Long range goals are to study the small farmer's recognition and

understanding of structural change in U.S. agriculture and to relate

farmers' "survival" strategies in Florida with so-called "adaptive"

strategies that have been observed in the traditional agricultural systems

of many Third World societies.

Closely related to research plans for small farmers is the multi-

departmental Farming Systems Research and Extension program which relies

on nearly all agricultural disciplines--particularly economics, agronomy,

and animal science. The primary research mission of the FSR/E program

in Florida is to generate technology designed specifically for the condi-

tions of small, usually diversified, and frequently part-time farmers in

the State of Florida who are not fully being serviced by existing research

and extension efforts that are oriented more toward the problems of

larger, more commercial, and frequently specialized farms. Although the

amount marketed by these small farmers represents a relatively small

portion of the State's agricultural sales, by number they represent a

large portion. Approximately 75 percent of the farms in Florida grossed

no more than $20,000 last year.

Overall, the problem of the small farmer is a problem of poverty and

underemployment. Appropriate production technology and marketing methods

can help some farmers, but the total package of assistance must include a

broad range of public service programs ranging from off-farm job creation

and human resource development to welfare programs for those unable to

earn a socially acceptable living. A strong program of research in problems

of poverty and underemployment must undergrid a small farm program.


Water Quantity and quality

The research agenda regarding water quantity and quality is highly

significant for the 1980's and quite demanding. Along with energy, the

water resource problem sets limits on the future welfare of Florida's

agriculture. Some of the major research topics for the Department's

natural resource economists are as follows: determine the economic value

of water used in the agricultural, industrial, recreational, and residen-

tial sectors, and develop water use projection capabilities; quantify the

costs of water supply in the agricultural sector; evaluate alternative

water allocation approaches; develop a systems model for combining water

supply and demand information; analyze the structure of water quality

decision making; examine alternative institutional arrangements for bring-

ing about water quality improvements for larger agricultural areas such

as watersheds; evaluate how agricultural producers will and can respond to

alternative types of environmental and water-quality-quantity legislation;

and evaluate the structure conduct and performance of water institutions

in the State of Florida as to their effects on the agricultural sector and

the benefits produced for society.



The Food and Resource Economics Department has adopted the

"Agriculture in Transition" theme for the 1980's. While adjustments

have occurred in the past, the decade of the 1980's will involve an

unprecedented set of complex factors which will require the highest

level of technical economic analysis. Some of the factors that will

contribute to dramatic adjustments in Florida's agricultural sector in

the 1980's are as follows: increased integration of Florida agriculture

with the international economy and the resulting increased instability

of product prices; relatively higher energy prices; and continued growth

and development of Florida's urban society and the resulting increased

pressure upon land, water, and environmental resources. All of the

above factors increase the complexity and uncertainty for decision

making for Florida's agricultural producers and make the 1980's a

difficult period for the management of Florida's agricultural and

resource systems both from the perspective of the individual producer

and for society.


Existing Programs and Projects--Process and Criteria for Review,
Revision, and Termination

The Food and Resource Economics Department has developed over recent

years procedures for reviewing, revising, and terminating existing programs

and projects. The Department's Research Committee reviews the status of


individual research projects. Departmental research programs, defined to

include one or more projects and activities in a sub-discipline, are

initially reviewed by appropriate workgroups. There are currently work-

groups active in the following areas: production/farm management, mar-

keting, community and rural development, natural resources, econometrics,

international development, FARM Systems Lab, and Farming Systems. Each

workgroup provides a vehicle for the discussion and development of pro-

grams that coordinate research, teaching, and extension activities.

Finally, Department program decisions are made by the Executive Council,

a body which includes appointed representatives of research, teaching,

and extension functions, plus several elected members. The Executive

Council is chaired by the Department Chairman. One of the major roles

of the Executive Council is to establish program priorities, including

the termination of certain programs.

New Programs--Process and Criteria for Review, Revision, and Termination

The Departmental procedures for developing new programs parallel

closely to the management of existing programs. Individual faculty are

encouraged to develop new project proposals on the basis of careful

review of priority research needs. These projects may be entirely new

or merely "contributed" projects to an existing Experiment Station pro-

ject. Project proposals are reviewed internally by the Research Committee.

Each workgroup is actively involved in program planning and the Executive

Council establishes the final set of priorities for new programs. A

conscious attempt is made to integrate grantsmanship into the goals and

objectives of the Department and IFAS.


One of the most serious resource constraints to faculty productivity

and morale is the poor and inadequate physical environment for faculty and

staff. There is inadequate space for faculty, career service staff, faculty

and staff on grants, and graduate research assistants. Deplorable is the

fact that the Department has no reading room or Departmental Library,

inadequate storage area for publications and supplies. No teaching lab-

oratory area for computer equipment, no assembly and distribution area for

handling incoming and outgoing mail, and woefully inadequate space for

graduate research assistants.

Equipment needs are largely for micro- and mini-computers, computer

terminals, and related computer equipment. Specific equipment needs are

identified in the reports of the various workgroups.

Personnel Needs--Faculty and Career Service

The overriding need of the Department is additional career service

positions in order to maximize the productivity of the existing faculty.

The career service needs fall into the following three categories, in

order of priority: (1) secretarial and clerical; (2) research associates;

and (3) scientific or computer programmers. A minimum of six additional

career service positions for research support are needed.

In terms of faculty positions, at least three additional research

oriented positions are needed, i.e., legal-economic research and extension

programs, production/farm management problems in South Florida, and policy

analysis and forecasting. Review of prospective faculty retirements over

the next decade reveals two research oriented positions, i.e., those of

W. W. McPherson and Cecil Smith. Continuing a Graduate Research Professor-

ship in international development and U.S. policies is a high priority

concern of the Department. Whether Dr. Smith's position in the ornamental


marketing area should be continued will depend upon faculty assignments

at the time of his retirement. This position is, however, open for dis-

cussion and debate as to future direction.

In relation to the size and quality of the research faculty, there

is a great need for additional graduate assistant support. An increase

of 10 one-third time graduate research assistants in FRED, for example,

would still leave the Department with less than one one-third time

graduate research assistant for each budgeted research FTE.

Facility Needs

The single most critical resource restriction is inadequate physical

space for the presently budgeted faculty, graduate assistants and staff.

The Food and Resource Economics Department, with over 200 full and part-

time employees, desperately needs additional space. Space is needed for

offices, laboratories, supply rooms, and a Departmental library/reference

area. Our situation is so desperate and critical that the Department will

have no option but to decline new grants which obligate space for additional

faculty, staff and graduate assistants.

The Comprehensive Review Team in 1976 pointed out in their report

that "the space problem is currently acute ... (and) almost any temporary

relief would appear to be welcome." According to information compiled

for the Comprehensive Review, we were only assigned 43 percent of the

space we generated by the Board of Regents formula in 1976. Although

we did receive some of the space the Fruit Crops Department formerly

occupied in McCarty Hall, our growth in permanent faculty and career

service personnel and staff working on grants has exceeded the additional

space made available to us. Consequently, we are in worse shape now than

we were at the time of the Comprehensive Review.


There may be some erroneous views prevailing in IFAS regarding FRED's

increase in space when Fruit Crops moved out of McCarty Hall. However,

we gave up six rooms in Rolfs Hall. Therefore, our net increase was

only six rooms (a net gain of 1016 square feet of space), not 12 rooms

as some may have argued.

To accommodate some of the growth in our staff, we have converted 1094

McCarty into seven small offices. This was a fairly large room that was

used by 13 graduate assistants. In order to convert this room into

individual offices, we had to move these graduate assistants out and

crowd them into Buildings 851 and 162 with our other graduate assistants.

In many cases, we have two graduate assistants sharing the same space.

We need additional space where our graduate assistants can do their


Several of our faculty members have obtained grants that bring in

additional resources. These grants also often involve hiring additional

personnel. A good example of this is the USDA grant on "Legal Aspects

of Pesticide Use and Impact Assessment Reports" with James Wershow (Food

and Resource Economics) and Grover Smart (Entomology and Nematology) as

the principal investigators. This grant has involved hiring one post

doctoral fellow (with Ph.D. and J.D.), several legal students, one legal

secretary and a couple of other professionals for short periods of time.

FRED has had to supply all of the space for these people to work (we

have allocated our space in the modular unit to them).

In a number of our courses we are attempting to provide applied

learning experiences for our students. This involves practical problem

solving exercises using data and computational aids. A teaching laboratory

in which these exercises would be administered is needed. We are currently


attempting to administer these activities out of secretarial and

Professor's offices. Their offices are inadequate for lab use and this

type of activity with many students coming in is disruptive to other

activities. The conversion of G108 McCarty to a teaching lab as we

proposed this past summer would allow us to make more efficient use of

our existing space.

The Department obtains publications and research materials for use

by the faculty in carrying out their functional responsibilities.

Because we have no reading room in which to house this material, some

of it gets lost or misplaced. We also have inadequate space for storage

of office supplies and files.

The Department currently generates several times as much space (by

agricultural standards) than is assigned to it. If space requirements

are calculated on the basis of SUS standards for business, law and

mathematics, the Department generates approximately twice as much

space as is currently assigned to it. When any additional space becomes

available (such as a new modular unit or when Animal Science moves to

their new building), it is critical to the programs in Food and Resource

Economics Department that additional space be assigned to the Department.