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Transportation Economics at USDA

We have two events coming up in the next two weeks:

  1. Thursday, Aug 24th 3pm – Seminar: Transportation Economics at USDA

  2. Tuesday, Sept 19th, 3pm -- Valuation in Agricultural Commodity Markets Under a Changing Climate

As a reminder, anyone is welcome to attend either of these events regardless of whether they are official USDA Economics Group members. Details are below:

Peyton Ferrier

Seminar Details

Presenter: Austin Hunt, USDA-AMS Transportation and Marketing

Title: “Transportation Economics at USDA”

Date: August 24th, 3 – 4pm

Summary: Over the past eighteen months, the U.S. has experienced several major agricultural transportation disruptions. These include: record diesel prices, rail service issues and labor disputes, port service issues and labor disputes, and barge disruptions due to record-low river levels. The Transportation Economics Division (TED), located in AMS, covers transportation economics issues for USDA. TED economists support domestic and international agribusinesses by providing market reports, economic analysis, transportation disruption reports, regulatory representation, and outreach to various industry stakeholders. In this presentation, TED will give an overview of its activities and reports as well as recent trends in agricultural transportation. It will also include a demonstration of accessing and using AgTransport, TED’s open-data platform. The meeting will end with a discussion about how TED can assist other economists in USDA.

Title: Valuation in Agricultural Commodity Markets Under a Changing Climate

Presenter: Nicolas Merener, School of Business of Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, Argentina

Time: Tuesday, Sept. 19th 2023 3 pm

We explore how a changing climate has impacted the valuation of corn and soybeans grown in the U.S. Midwest. Earlier literature has found that corn and soybean output is sensitive to weather in a nonlinear manner: yields benefit from moderate rain and temperatures, and generally suffer under drought, excessive rain, and extreme heat. Using data for 1971-2019 we find that the distribution of regional summer rain has experienced a significant shift towards the right since 1993, with a marked increase in extreme rain episodes. Prior to 1993, dry spells and high temperatures during the summer caused positive crop market returns, in line with a decline in expected yields. More recently, crops have benefited from less extreme dry spells, but extreme precipitation events have been associated with economically significant price increases mediated by reductions in expected output. Our results suggest that weather distributions affected by a changing climate in the U.S. Midwest have already influenced valuations in agricultural commodity markets.


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