Posts Tagged: Daniel Sumner
Associated Press reporter Gosia Wozniacka.
The cost of fuel is only a small percentage of the cost of farming and getting a product to store shelves, said Daniel Sumner, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at UC Davis. Food prices will go up only by a few pennies on the dollar at most.
The small increase in cost, however, won't trickle down to growers.
"We farmers don't have any way to recoup the higher gas costs or pass them on to consumers, so we have to swallow them," said Fresno County farmer Keith Nilmeier, who grows apricots, peaches, nectarines, grapes and oranges.
If the proposition passes in November, the packaging of most foods with common ingredients like corn syrup, sugar, canola oil and soy-based emulsifiers will declare that they contain ingredients that have been genetically altered.
Biotech crops are so commonplace in the United States that about 90 percent of the nation's corn and soybeans are genetically engineered, the Bee reported. For that reason, Colin Carter, professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, views the labeling debate as more about the business of food than its safety.
He predicts that more people would buy organic goods if comparable non-organic items carried labels saying they've been genetically engineered.
"This does not present a health risk," Carter said. "It's about money."
Christine Bruhn, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Food Science and Technology at UC Davis, agrees that the term "genetically engineered" would scare away consumers. However, the article pointed out, such food labeling is already required in more than 40 countries.
University of California at Davis Reports Make Dubious Claims on Prop 37
Michele Simon, Huffington Post Blog
A public health lawyer called into question two studies by UC Davis researchers that predict the effects of labeling foods that contain genetically modified ingredients, as would be required if Proposition 37 passes in November. The studies are "California's Proposition 37: Effects of Mandatory Labeling of GM Food," co-authored by Carter; and "Proposition 37 - California Food Labeling Initiative: Economic Implications for Farmers and the Food Industry if the Proposed Initiative were Adopted," co-authored by Julian Alston and Daniel Sumner, professors in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at UC Davis.
Proposition 37 would result in $1.2 billion in higher costs for farmers and food processors, higher prices for consumers and new regulations, according to an article published in Western Farm Press that refers to a new UC Davis study. The article is credited to the No on 37 campaign.
If passed, Proposition 37, which is on California's November ballot, would require labeling of genetically engineered food.
“The proposed regulations have no basis in science and impose rules that would have significant costs for food producers, processors and marketers, and ultimately for consumers, while providing misinformation and no demonstrable benefits,” the article quotes Julian Alston and Daniel Sumner, professors in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at UC Davis.
An editorial in the Los Angeles Times notes that the work for the study was undertaken with partial funding support from No on 37.
"That doesn't mean the study is without interest for voters," wrote Karin Klein in the editorial.
Planet Money pointed out that many U.S. farmers who are losing their crops due to drought won't suffer financially because they have government-subsidized crop insurance.
U.S. taxpayers spend about $7 billion a year on crop insurance, the story said.
Daniel Sumner, director of the UC Agricultural Issues Center and professor in the Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics at UC Davis, said he isn't in favor of the government giving farmers subsidies.
Ski resorts suffered last winter when there wasn't a lot of snow. The government doesn't say, "Sorry you didn't have a lot of skiers. Here's a check," Sumner said.
Valley farmers wary of new water rules
Mark Grossi, The Fresno Bee
A UC study released in March says 96 percent of the Central Valley's groundwater contamination problem comes from agriculture, and it threatens the drinking water of 250,000 valley residents. The study suggests better monitoring and management of fertilizers are needed to ease the problem. By using only the amount of fertilizer needed by plants, the nitrates would be controlled. Leaders of water-user groups say farmers already aim for that goal and have become far more efficient. Yet, the state assumes all farmers are discharging to the groundwater, said David Orth, general manager of the Kings River Conservation District and coordinator of a coalition representing farmers in the four-county area. "In other words, everybody is guilty until they prove themselves to be innocent," he said.
Experts: Rinds one reason for salmonella-infected cantaloupe
Scott Kanowsky, WBEZ 91.5
Cantaloupe rinds could be one reason behind a recent salmonella outbreak linked to the fruit. "It's much easier to scrub the surface of a honeydew melon than it is to scrub the surface of a cantaloupe and actually remove microorganisms that are on the surface,” said Linda Harris, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Food Science and Technology at UC Davis.
California agriculture is poised to match the growing demands of the world's booming population and expanding wealth, concluded AgAlert editor Ching Lee in her story about the California Ag Summit last week at UC Davis.
Asking where agriculture is heading requires considering the forces that are driving both the supply side and the demand side, said Daniel Sumner, director of the UC Agricultural Issues Center.
As people's incomes go up, they tend to demand more dairy and meat products. California leads in U.S. dairy production, Sumner noted, and other agricultural sectors are linked to dairy, such as alfalfa and other feed crops. Demand for grains usually goes up with people's income, as more of those commodities are used to feed livestock, he said.
The challenge facing agriculture is trying to feed more people in a world that is richer and more urban on basically the same land area with less water, said Alex McCalla, professor emeritus at the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
As a population's wealth rises, so does the demand for products produced in animal agriculture industries.