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10 Facts on Agricultural Economics for a Classification Essay

Agricultural economics, or agronomics, is a field of study that deals with the application of economic and statistical theories to optimize the entire production cycle of agriculture. It focuses on land output, crop yields, labor force, financing, government interventions, and other relevant factors. If you have taken up this subject, chances are that your instructor will ask you to go beyond what they taught you and task you with writing a classification essay.

If you feel overwhelmed by the scope of this discipline (or have delayed working on your assignment till the last minute), you may have trouble choosing agricultural economic topics to write about. We have you covered with our 20 agricultural economics topics to write about for a classification essay. However, if you want to work a little harder on your essay topics, the following 10 facts on agricultural economics will inspire you.

  1. A farmer’s management capacity is an important indicator of results and returns. The management capacity of a farmer is a vital factor when it comes to effective farm results and financial returns. The different aspects of management are categorized into two inter-related groups: personal aspects and decision-making abilities. The personal aspects include characteristics such as the famers’ biographical facts (education, age, socio-economic status, etc.), capabilities and abilities, and motivation and drives. On the other hand, the decision-making aspects include the practices used by the farmer in order to plan and control the decisions needed on the farm.
  2. There are three strategies used in precision agriculture. The main goal of Precision agriculture is to improve farm and field management. There are three basic methods which can be used to accomplish this:
    • Make farm practices more efficient by applying economic principles.
    • Reduce the footprint of farming to protect the environment.
    • Match farm practices with the right crop needs.
  1. Farmers hesitate to adopt new agricultural technologies. The perceptions of agricultural innovations affect adoption rate. Traditional studies focus on the broader demographic and socio-economic factors; the subjective perceptions of the farmers are not taken into account. This aspect must be studied. An accurate cost and benefit analysis of new agricultural technologies can only be performed if the farmer’s perceptions (positive or negative) are also included into the estimates.
  2. Sustainability in agricultural research should be taken into consideration. When evaluating the merits of modern agricultural research, the sustainability factor needs to be a major criterion. Sustainable agricultural practices ensure that no harm comes to the environment, communities, public health, and animals. Researchers need to:
    • Learn the importance of sustainable agriculture.
    • Develop accurate ways to measure sustainability.
    • Study sustainability of major farming systems currently in use.
    • Identify and measure external factors affecting sustainability.
  1. There is an inverse relationship between economic growth and agriculture. As the economy grows rapidly, agriculture takes on a converse trajectory and slows down. This phenomenon is observed in almost all economies, open and closed, but it is more prominent in closed economies. As the demand for food rises, farm productivity levels rise. However, the non-farming sectors do not experience such rapid growth, which is why the market is saturated and agriculture has slowed down. In the case of open economies, things are more complicated because the demand of non-tradable goods is income-elastic. Resources are diverted towards the production of these goods, resulting in the slowing down of agriculture.
  2. Economic variables interfere with the adoption of irrigation technologies. The diffusion of irrigation technologies is a function of economic variables such as the crop yield price, water price, and irrigation subsidies. If governments want to control diffusion, their strategies should include altering water prices and offering subsidies on irrigation equipment.
  3. Increasing the prices of staple foods affects more than just the population. A rise in prices of staple foods affects the poor sections of the population more severely. Low-income households usually face an increase in overall poverty if prices rise. The short run effects vary according to two dimensions: the commodity type and the country. The common factor observed among all cases of significant prices rise is that poverty reduction events are far less common than poverty increases.
  4. Genetically engineered crops can reduce dependency on pesticides. The use of genetically engineered (GE) crops can lead to a reduction in pesticide usage. Studies have proven that GE crops need a lower quantity of pesticides and less frequent sprayings. Therefore, the overall expenditure incurred drops by a significant amount. This reduction, in turn, leads to more efficient production, affects the environment positively, and also helps realize more labor savings.
  5. Risk factor analysis is a must for effective farm modeling. Measuring uncertainty and analyzing risk is an important part of agricultural economics. Statistical frameworks have been utilized to study risk, resulting in many risk-aversion and risk-neutralizing methods.
  6. The education factor in adoption of modern agricultural techniques. Adoption of new farming methods and techniques is greatly influenced by education. Traditionally, the head of the household was considered as the sole decision maker when it comes to altering farming methods. However, new studies show that there is an intra-household effect of education that is statistically significant enough to be taken into account when creating policies. The socioeconomic environment also plays a significant role in influencing adoption. The biggest influence of education is seen when education expansion occurs in traditional areas as compared to modern ones.

This list contains facts that are related to modern issues in farming and agriculture; they would be perfect as a research topic. All these facts are sufficiently detailed and will serve as a source of inspiration for your essay. Refer to the source materials below if you want more information about a particular fact. Also drop by our guide on writing a classification essay on agricultural economics.

References:
Foster, Phillips, and Howard D. Leathers, The World Food Problem (Boulder, Colorado: Lynne Reinner Publishers, 1999)
Zeller, Manfred, and Richard L. Meyer. The Critical Triangle of Microfinance: from Vision to Reality. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003.
Adesina, A. (1995). Farmers’ perceptions and adoption of new agricultural technology: evidence from analysis in Burkina Faso and Guinea, West Africa. Agricultural Economics, 13(1), 1-9. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0169-5150(95)01142-8
Lynam, J. (1989). Sense and sustainability: Sustainability as an objective in international agricultural research. Agricultural Economics, 3(4), 381-398. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0169-5150(89)90010-8
Rougoor, C. (1998). How to define and study farmers’ management capacity: theory and use in agricultural economics. Agricultural Economics, 18(3), 261-272. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0169-5150(98)00021-8
Berry, Albert, and William Cline. Agrarian Structure and Productivity in Developing Countries. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1979.
Dimitri, Carolyn, Anne Effland, and Neilson Conklin. The 20th Century Transformation of U.S. Agriculture and Farm Policy. Washington, D.C.: Economic Research Service, USDA, 2005.
Evenson, R.E., P.Pingali, and T.P. Schultz, eds. Handbook of Agricultural Economics, Volume 3: Agricultural Development: Farmers, Farm Production, and Food Markets, ed. Amsterdam:Elsevier, 2006.
Pardey, Philip G., Nienke Beitema, Steven Dehmer, and Stanley Wood. Agricultural Research: A Growing Divide, Washington, D.C.: IFPRI, 2006. Pearce, David W., and R. Kerry Turner. Economics of Natural Resources and the Environment. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press 1990.
Sachs, Jeffrey D. Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet. New York: Penguin Books, 2008

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