THE UC/AIC QUARTERLY
THE NEWSLETTER OF THE UC AGRICULTURAL ISSUES
VOLUME 13. NO. 1. 1999
Exotic Pest and Disease Conference Will Be Held
May 25 in Sacramento
Measure of California Agriculture Update is Off
Winegrape Outlook Workshop Scheduled
Chinas Role in Agricultural Trade is Topic
Agriculture in the Digital Economy: More Information
December Date is Set for Executive Seminar
Understanding California Agriculture: A
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A day-long public conference slated
for Tuesday, May 25, 1999 in Sacramento will be an important milestone
in the two-year multi- disciplinary Center project studying the implications
of exotic pests and diseases to California.
General sessions at the conference will deal with the biology, economics
and public policy issues involving introduced pests and diseases of animals
and plants. The threat of such invasions is greater today for at least
two reasons: (1) greatly increased international travel and trade, much
of which flows through California, and (2) the states increasing
vulnerability due to a growing population and more intensive agriculture.
Leaders of 14 case studies of current and potential threats to Californias
agriculture, environment and even human health-ranging from yellow starthistle
to foot-and-mouth disease, from the red imported fire ant to citrus canker-will
report their research findings. The case studies will be topics of concurrent
breakout sessions. Speakers include scientists and economists from the
University of California, interested industries and groups, as well as
state and federal government experts.
Biological principles and major policy issues and questions will be addressed
in plenary sessions that open and close the conference. William J. (Bill)
Lyons, the California Secretary of Agriculture will open the conference.
Dr. Isi Siddiqui, special assistant to the U. S. Secretary of Agriculture
speaks at lunch on exotic pest issues and trade negotiations. The closing
plenary session will feature discussion with U.S. Deputy Secretary of
Agriculture Richard Rominger and with former California Secretary and
former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman.
Registration is still open for the program, which will begin at 8:15 AM
on May 25 in the Sacramento Convention Center, 1400 J Street, Sacramento.
For a program or registration information, please phone or email Laurie
Treacher at the Center.
A revised edition adding new data and updated analyses to the Centers
most popular publication, The Measure of California Agriculture: Its
Impact on the State Economy, is now available. First published in
1992 and revised in 1996, the 78-page volume provides information on California
crops and cropland, farm population, export markets, farm and farm-related
employment, and aggregate measures of the states food and fiber
sector. It is loaded with tables and graphs, and is still easy to read.
The updating with 1997 data confirmed the general trend toward growth
in California agriculture. Total farm cash receipts went up from about
$20 billion in 1994 to $25 billion in 1997. New analysis showed that jobs
contributed by agriculture jumped from 8.7% of the state total to 10.1%.
The new version includes some changes in ranking of leading California
crops. As one sign of the times, nursery products moved into third place
behind milk/cream and grapes, nudging cattle/calves into fourth.
The Measure of California Agriculture is available from the
Center for $10 (includes tax and postage).
The Centers second annual Winegrape Outlook Workshop will be held
on Wednesday, July 7,1999.
This year, the program will feature the worldwide wine and grape outlook
and trends. Increased plantings not only in the United States but also
in Australia, Chile, Argentina and Europe augur for a re-examination of
worldwide wine supply and demand.
The day-long event will also cover risk management issues for the wine
grape industry by focusing on wine grape contracts and hired farm labor.
Hired farm labor has long been an issue. Recently, concern over rates
of immigration, rural poverty and shifts to alternative non-farm work
have stimulated increased discussion.
AIC is conducting a survey on the use of grower-winery contracts and preliminary
results will be reported at the workshop.
Speakers will include Barry Bedwell of Allied Grape Growers, Agustin Huneeus
of Quintessa Winery, Robert Nicholson of International Wine Associates,
and Phil Martin and Dale Heien of UC Davis Department of Agricultural
and Resource Economics.
The Center initiated the annual Outlook Workshop last year for the grape
and wine industry, which is among the fastest-growing sectors in California
The workshop will be held at UC Davis in the Buehler Alumni Center. The
$50 fee includes lunch (with wine this time). Contact Laurie Treacher
at the AIC for further information.
In a conference cosponsored by the AIC, economists and agricultural trade
specialists from throughout the world will meet in San Francisco June
25 and 26 to consider Chinas agricultural trade and policy.
Leading experts on the Chinese economy and international trade as well
as specialists in Chinas agricultural trade and economic policy
will discuss such issues as Chinas membership in the World Trade
Organization, the implications of income growth and urbanization for agricultural
trade, the role of State Trading Enterprises, and Chinas domestic
farm policy. Featured speakers include D. Gale Johnson, University of
Chicago; Barry J. Naughton, University of California, San Diego; Will
Martin, The World Bank; Lu Feng, Beijing University; Jikun Huang, Chinese
Academy of Agricultural Sciences; and Kym Anderson, University of Adelaide.
AIC Associate Director Colin Carter and University of California, Davis
professor Scott Rozelle also will present new research results.
The chief sponsor of the conference is the International Agricultural
Trade Research Consortium (IATRC), an international group of economists
from universities, governments, international organizations and the private
sector. AIC Director Daniel A. Sumner, chair of the IATRC executive committee,
and Professor Won Koo, North Dakota State University, head the organizing
For more information, contact the Center or check the IATRC web site:
Digital technologies-computers, networks and embedded micro-processors-are
transforming the economy, and many of the technical prerequisites for
a networked economy are already in place. Digital technologies are also
widely applied in agriculture, and agriculture will not remain unaffected
by the profound changes in the economy surrounding it. Until now, however,
little research has been conducted on the dif-fusion, use, and impact
of digital technology in agriculture.
A 1998 survey conducted by AIC showed that computers and the Internet
are already widely used in California agriculture, but there is little
information to help us understand the impacts.
Two important questions are:
To help provide answers, AIC is beginning a review of agricultural applications
of the Internet, focusing on use of email and the web in the dairy and
wine industries. Both are important indus-tries in California and elsewhere,
but there may be substantial differences in their uses of Internet applications.
- Which applications of digital technology are of compelling practical
importance to agriculture in California and elsewhere?
- What are the economic effects of these technologies?
We want to find out about agricultural business use of email, its impact
on time and costs, how users rate the importance of email deficiencies,
and practices to guard against unwanted email. We will estimate the extent
of web access and web sites in the two industries, identify patterns of
web use for obtaining information and for pur-chasing, study the use of
web sites for providing information and for selling products, and ask
users to indicate major benefits from using the web. (If you would like
more information or have a sug-gestion for us, please contact the Center.)
Tools for searching for information and separating the wanted from the
unwanted are indispensable. Information about how web users in the dairy
and wine industries do this may help information pro- viders in government
and industry adjust their offers to user practice.
Web sites have substantial costs and commen-surate returns must be expected
by commercial web site owners. Information about web use will help us
assess the payoff to these investments.
Our research on the use of Internet technologies by the dairy and wine
industries will use the Internet as a research tool. In particular, ques-tionnaires
will be distributed by email and be accessible on AICs web site.
We will gather data by visiting the web sites of industry information
providers. We hope to extend the research to other agricultural industries,
and also extend it to other digital technologies used by the dairy and
As the retail food system becomes increasingly concentrated, major food
suppliers are under pressure to meet the demands of fewer and more economically
powerful buyers. These changes, with implications for all of agriculture,
will be the theme of this years Executive Seminar scheduled for
December 13. Co-sponsors of the event are the UC Agricultural Issues Center
and the UC Center for Cooperatives.
CEOs of major food companies will discuss their industries
responses to the changing economic situation. Watch for upcoming announcements
of program details and registration information.
We at AIC are occasionally asked by
someone unfamiliar with the subject to describe the role of California
agriculture in the economy-and do it succinctly and accurately. Here is
one response to that challenge. The data presented here are taken in part
from the newly revised edition of The Measure of California Agriculture,
described elsewhere in this AIC Quarterly.
California agriculture is large, diverse, dynamic and economically important
to the state, the nation and the world-both for the goods it produces
and for the economic opportunity it provides. California agriculture also
is tightly interconnected with the rest of the states economy and
with its ecosystem.
|Livestock, Poultry and Dairy
Fruit, Nuts and Vegetables
California Agriculture Total
of state total
Agricultures share of Central Valley
California is easily the nations leading agricultural state, with
gross farm sales of about $26 billion yearly-roughly equal to Texas and
Iowa combined-but many people do not realize how important agriculture
is to the state as a whole. One in every 10 jobs in California is closely
tied to agricultural productivity. This includes farmers and ranchers,
the hired farm workforce and the jobs involved with supplying inputs,
or processing and marketing farm output. In some regions the impact is
even more dramatic. Fully one third of all jobs in the Central Valley
are linked to farming. And agricultural jobs are especially important
in counties with relatively high unemployment and poverty rates.
Agriculture shares Californias matchless resources with about 33
million people and the diverse economy that supports them. People enjoy
living here for some of the same reasons that the state is so good for
agriculture: the mild Mediterranean climate, fertile soils well adapted
to farming, sub-stantial water (if not always enough in the right places),
access to the Pacific Rim, a well-developed infrastructure, and a strong
knowledge and technology base. Thus the pressure that a large and growing
human population creates for agriculture in California is a natural outgrowth
of our natural and economic environment.
California agriculture is also important inter-nationally. Farm products
account for about 6.5% of all California exports. The states farm
trade balance is strongly positive, especially with Asia. Of $7 billion
in yearly farm exports, about 70% goes to the Pacific Rim with Japan
accounting for about 24%, Canada 18% and Korea 7%. Exports slowed last
year as Asian economies shrank, but over the long haul foreign trade is
becoming even more important as markets open and diets improve overseas.
Cotton has been the number one export item, but more than half of California
farm exports are horticultural products.
|Share of Output Exported
Other crops and livestock
As with the rest of our economy, agriculture in California relies on innovation.
For example, this state now produces seven times more farm value per unit
of irrigation water than in 1960. Overall, farm productivity in California
has grown more than 1.7% per year over the entire postwar period, faster
than the rest of the economy. Like other cutting-edge industries in this
technological age, the dynamism of agriculture depends on the expertise
and attitudes of the people involved. The innovative spirit pervades Californias
agricultural valleys as much as the Silicon Valley.
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