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Project Reports (Resource Economics & Environmental Sociology)

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  1. Preferences About Marketing Organic Grain in Alberta [Download]

    Title: Preferences About Marketing Organic Grain in Alberta
    Creator: L'Hoir, Chantelle
    Description: The organic industry in Canada is growing and Alberta organic grain producers have expressed a concern that the marketing system for organic grains in Alberta is poorly organized. This poorly organized system may hinder producers from optimizing market potential. This paper assesses different organizational structures that might assist Alberta organic grain producers in optimizing market potential. The choice of organizational structures that could potentially be used to market organic grain in Alberta is based on the types organizational structures that currently exist in the market, producer motivations, and the obstacles that exist in the market. In performing the assessment; existing organic organizational structures are identified, producer motivations are defined, underlying market forces are revealed, and organizational critical success factors are specified. In the conclusions an assessment is made as to which organizational structure is presently the most suitable option to assist organic grain producers in Alberta. The judgment of appropriate marketing structure may well change as the organic market matures, which it shows promise of rapidly doing.
    Subjects: grain marketing, organizational structures, organic grain
    Date Created: 2002
  2. GATT Liberalization and World Grain Markets: Potential and Constraints for Western Canada [Download]

    Title: GATT Liberalization and World Grain Markets: Potential and Constraints for Western Canada
    Creator: Veeman, Michele M.
    Description: This project evaluates the impacts of the Uruguay Round Agreement (URA) on the grains sector and on other major subsectors of Canadian agriculture in a single-country general equilibrium framework. For this purpose a computable general equilibrium model of the Canadian economy that consists of six agricultural and two non-agricultural sectors was constructed. Categorization of the agricultural sectors was based on the magnitudes of various commodities, the focus of the study and the availability of data. The sectors include: 1) wheat, 2) other grains (including barley, oats, rye, corn, mixed grains, mustard seed, soybeans, canola and other oilseeds), 3) fruits and vegetables, 4) livestock, 5) milk and poultry, 6) other agriculture, 7) food industries (including meats, other than poultry, and dairy and fish products, fruit and vegetable preparations and other processed foods) and 8) the rest of the economy. The model was calibrated on 1991 data and a series of simulation experiments were conducted to assess the impacts of the URA and various other policy interventions. For some of these, a recursive dynamic model structure was developed and applied, in order to better assess the staged adoption, over the six-year implementation period, of the URA commitments. In the dynamic simulations, provision was made for sectoral productivity growth and year-by-year adjustment in factor inputs. In the other simulations the usual CGE model procedure of a comparative static approach was followed. To assess whether Canadian agriculture benefits from the URA, two sets of anticipated changes in world prices, taken from global studies of multilateral trade liberalization, were simulated, together with the URA policy commitments by Canada. These simulation experiments show that the minimum increases in world prices projected by global studies of the URA are too small to offset the negative effects on Canadian agriculture of the reductions in tariffs, export subsidies and domestic support from the URA commitments, relative to the base period. However, if world prices were to change by the maximum level of projections of global URA effects, Canadian agricultural producers in aggregate gain from the URA. The sectors that benefit the most are wheat, other grains, and processed foods, for which production and exports increase appreciably. Imports of milk and poultry products increase substantially and livestock sector imports also increase. Labour and capital demand increase in agriculture, particularly in the wheat and other grains sectors. The highest increase in factor returns in agriculture is for agricultural land. Since the export prices applied above are exogeneously determined, a third experiment was conducted to determine the extent of the world price changes for agricultural exports that would just offset the negative effects on sectoral domestic production of the URA policy commitments. This would require world prices that are about eleven per cent higher than in the base period for wheat and about ten per cent higher for other grains. The greatest increase in prices--by nearly thirteen percent--would be required for the milk and poultry sector. More modest changes in world prices for the other agricultural sectors are needed to offset the impacts of the reductions in sectoral support necessitated by the URA. Most of these price changes lie within the ranges of world price projections from studies of the global effects of the URA. Other components of the project compared the relative importance of the three Canadian URA policy commitments (i.e. reductions in tariffs, export subsidies and domestic support). In terms of these URA commitments for Canada, the domestic support reductions were found to have the largest impact on domestic production, factor allocations and exports. Canada's tariff reduction commitments had the least negative impact on Canadian agriculture. Three further experiments involved i) attributing export subsidy reductions by Canada to other reasons than the URA, ii) introducing compensatory transfers to agricultural households in the amount of the domestic support reduction commitment, and iii) simulating the total withdrawal of the grain export subsidy that was previously delivered through grain transportation subsidies, with an accompanying $1.6 billion dollars compensation payment to prairie land owners. The latter experiment embodies major changes associated with the deletion of grain transportation subsidies in 1995 and the associated one-time compensatory payment to land owners that was introduced in that year. This experiment is conducted over a simulated 6-year period. The results of this experiment again point to the importance of the exogenously determined world prices, the results for the livestock sector from lower levels of feedgrain prices are marked and are seen in higher levels of production and exports; these increase, but to a lesser extent, with the maximum levels of world prices. If the world price increase form trade liberalization is to the maximum level of global projections, prairie farm household income quickly recovers from the effects of higher grain transportation costs and production and exports of wheat and other grains recover, although more slowly, from the subsidy removal. The final section of the study involved consideration of the various constraints that limit full achievement of the potential benefits to Western Canadian farmers of multilateral trade liberalization. The identified constraints include those associated with physical, regulatory and institutional features of Canadian grain production, handling and exportation. Other constraints arise from the limitations of the partial liberalization of world trade that was in fact achieved in the URA. The URA maintained the use of export subsidization by major trading countries, since this was subject to only partial roll-back; the URA provided only for partial roll-backs of domestic support. Both of these constraints adversely affect the world market for grains in particular.
    Subjects: international trade, equilibrium model, grain
    Date Created: 1998
  3. An Overview of Agriculture in the Rural Municipalities of the Lower Souris River Watershed [Download]

    Title: An Overview of Agriculture in the Rural Municipalities of the Lower Souris River Watershed
    Creator: Harper, Dana
    Description: A statistical overview of agriculture in the region encompassed by the Lower Souris River Watershed committee was undertaken. The region in the south east corner of the province of Saskatchewan has about 8% of the total number of farms in Saskatchewan, and this has remained relatively consistent since the early 1980s. The actual number has decreased and Statistics Canada reports that the total number of farms in crop district 1A and 1B in the 2006 census is 1,823 and 1,743, respectively. The area of farms in crop district 1 is currently about 7% of the total area of farms in Saskatchewan. Statistics Canada reports that the total area of farms in crop district 1A and 1B in the 2006 census is 2,687,728 and 2,312,446, respectively. The report also provides an overview of crops grown and livestock numbers. This report is part of an ongoing study of this region.
    Subjects: Cropland, Acreage, Agricultural Land
    Date Created: 2008
  4. A Delphi Study of Growth and Yield in Canada's Forests: Project Report 95-03 -- Technical Appendix: Questionnaires and Results by Region [Download]

    Title: A Delphi Study of Growth and Yield in Canada's Forests: Project Report 95-03 -- Technical Appendix: Questionnaires and Results by Region
    Creator: Phillips, William E.
    Description: Information on growth and yield of Canada's forests tends to be anecdotal, site specific, difficult to compile, and unsuitable for general aggregations across species and to provincial and ecological region-wide levels. Yet aggregated information on growth and yield is necessary for estimating future timber supplies for large regions in order to plan for the future of both the industry and the other various non-timber forest users. Thus, a study was undertaken using the Delphi technique to summarize the opinions of growth and yield experts and practicing foresters across the country. Survey participants were asked to fill in a series of three sequential and carefully-designed questionnaries. Feedback from each previous questionnaire was used as a basis to refine initial responses and establish a final set of growth and yield estimates for various regions across the country. The regional breakdown followed a combination of Rowe's forest regions and provincial boundaries: Atlantic-Acadian; Atlantic-Boreal; Quebec-Great Lakes/St. Lawrence; Quebec-Boreal; Ontario-Great Lakes/St. Lawrence; Ontario-Boreal; Prairie/Northwest Territories-Boreal; Interior British Columbia/Yukon-Boreal; Interior British Columbia; Coastal British Columbia-Coast; and Coastal British Columbia-Subalpine. Within each of these 13 regions, responses were broken down further by species groupings: softwood, mixed-wood, and hardwood. Also, the questionnaires were divided into two parts, existing stands and regenerated stands. Results of the Delphi survey show that existing stands are currently being harvested beyond the age of maximum mean annual increment (MAI) across the country with the exception of the Quebec-Great Lakes/St. Lawrence where harvest is at the age of maximum MAI. Estimated future harvest ages of regenerated stands were at the age of maximum MAI for all regions except the Atlantic-Acadian and Ontario-Great Lakes/St. Lawrence where estimated ages were beyond the age of maximum MAI. Estimated growth responses connected with unevenaged management, fertilization, cleaning/brushing, juvenile spacing/pre-commercial thinning, and commercial thinning were provided by survey respondents for both existing and regenerated stands. Growth responses from genetic improvement were also provided for regenerated stands. Respondents' estimates of growth from unevenaged management tended to be considerably less than maximum MAI growth rates. Estimates of growth increases as a result of fertilization ranged from 0.1 m3/ha/year for regenerated stands in Coast British Columbia-Subalpine region and +2/6 m3/ha/year for the Atlantic-Acadian region. Predicted change in the number of years to reach a rotation based on harvestable tree size was between 0 and -20 years but the effect on rotation age using maximum MAI was generally between -5 and +5 years. Predicted growth increases from commercial thinning varied from a low of -1.8 m3/ha/year for existing stands in the Coast British Columbia-Coast region to a high of +1.5 m3/ha/year for regenerated stands in the Atlantic-Boreal region. Duration of growth changes are expected to be between 8 and 20 years except in the Coastal British Columbia regions where the range is from 27 to 43 years. Predicted shortening of rotation time based on harvestable tree size is from 1 to 10 years while changed rotation age at maximum MAI varied from -2 years to +17 years. Estimated increases in MAI growth from genetic improvement of regenerated stands varied from 0.3 to 1.2 m3/ha/year. In general, for most regions, predicted rotations from genetic improvement were shortened by 5 to 10 years. The results were based on 42 responses over the 13 regions in the third and final round of the survey. Great care should be taken regarding the use of data for the four Interior British Columbia regions due to minimal responses. Otherwise, the data seem to represent the view of edxperts in the field. Delphi studies such as this one are useful as a first estimate when there is insufficient hard empirical data.
    Subjects: forestry, Delphi survey
    Date Created: 1995
  5. The Role of Economic Instruments to Resolve Water Quantity Problems [Download]

    Title: The Role of Economic Instruments to Resolve Water Quantity Problems
    Creator: Horbulyk, Theodore M.
    Description: If economic instruments are to play a role in the resolution of water quantity problems, then two important preliminary steps will be to assess what those problems are and to ascertain what scope there is for resolving them with policy reforms. The next section of the paper addresses these two issues. The following section reviews the importance of property rights and compensation to any broadly based policy reforms. Subsequent sections report on research into the use of water markets and water pricing to address problems associated with water quantity allocation. Three empirical studies are summarized that attempt to quantify the potential role to be played by these economic instruments in southern Alberta. Brief concluding comments follow.
    Subjects: water issues, economic instruments, property rights
    Date Created: 1997
  6. Competitiveness of Canadian Agri-food Exports Against Competitors in Asia: 1980-97 [Download]

    Title: Competitiveness of Canadian Agri-food Exports Against Competitors in Asia: 1980-97
    Creator: Chen, Kevin Z.
    Description: Asia is the second largest market for the Canadian agri-food exports after the United States market. The competition in Asia has become more intensive in recent years as the agri-food sector in developed nations such as Australia, Canada, Europe, and the United States has increasingly relied on exports for growth because of their own slow-growing domestic food consumption. How did the performance of Canadian agri-food exports to Asia measure up to the performances of its main competitors? This research attempts to identify Canada's competitiveness in agri-food exports to Asia, relative to Canada's main competitors. The analysis is based on the 1980-97 trade data from the World Trade Analyzer (WTA), produced by the International Trade Division of Statistics Canada. According to their average market shares during the 1980-97 period, Canada's main competitors in Asia are the United States, Europe, Australia, China, Thailand, Malaysia, Taiwan, Indonesia and New Zealand. To assess each country's competitiveness, this research applies the Constant Market Share (CMS) model. The change in each country's exports is primarily devided into the structural and the competitive effects. The exporting country with larger competitive effect is considered to be more competitive. The key results are: * All exporting countries increased their agri-food exports to Asia during the 1980-97 period. The increase in their exports to Asia can be primarily attributed to the structural effect - particularly to the large increase of total Asian agri-food imports (growth effect). * Canada ranked second after China in terms of competitive effect during the 1980-97 period. Indonesia and Thailand also exhibit strong competitiveness in Asia. Canada's traditional competitors such as the United States, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand were found to be non-competitive. * Compared with other competitors in the Asian market, Canada exhibit two areas of weakness. First, Canada did not concentrate their agri-food exports to Asia on fast-growing commodities such as consumer-ready products. Second, Canada's competitiveness was deteriorated in the processed intermediate goods in Korea and South Asia, the consumer-ready goods in Japan and Asia 7, and the bulk commodities in Taiwan. If Asia was considered to be a target region for Canadian agri-food exports, one would need not only to know the exporting strategies that will be adopted by countries such as the United States, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, but also those adopted by countries such as China, Indonesia and Thailand. In order for Canada to maintain and improve its export performance in Asia in the future, it ill be most effective if Canada could increase its market shares of processed intermediate goods in Korea and South Asia, the consumer-ready goods in Japan and Asia 7, and the bulk commodities in Taiwan.
    Subjects: international trade, agri-food exports, commodities
    Date Created: 2001
  7. Social Impact Assessment of the Proposed Dodds-RoundHill Coal Gasification Project [Download]

    Title: Social Impact Assessment of the Proposed Dodds-RoundHill Coal Gasification Project
    Creator: Parkins, John R.
    Description: This project report was completed by 14 graduate and undergraduate students in a social impact assessment course (AREC 450-550) during the Winter Term, January to April, 2009. The overall goal of this project was to learn specific concepts and methods for social impact assessment by undertaking such an assessment for the proposed Dodds-Roundhill Coal Gasification project (Southeast of Edmonton, Alberta). The social impact assessment is composed of four major components: (1) scoping of relevant social indicators, (2) social impacts within municipalities, (3) social impacts within the farming region, and (4) a comparative case study of social impacts. Together, the four project reports provide insights into the potential social impacts from the proposed coal gasification projects in the Dodd-Roundhill region. In each project, students identified opportunities and challenges in conducting research. These insights may be useful in the development of monitoring frameworks and long-term evaluation processes with regard to this project. Also, each project utilized a variety of methods for social impact assessment and the learning from these methods may be useful for assessment practitioners as they work with communities to identify social impacts in other locales.
    Subjects: comparative case study, social indicators, environmental impact assessment, energy policy, social research methods
    Date Created: 2009
  8. The Economic Value of Wildlife in Alberta: A Database and Analysis of Benefit and Expenditure Estimates [Download]

    Title: The Economic Value of Wildlife in Alberta: A Database and Analysis of Benefit and Expenditure Estimates
    Creator: Rush, Bonnie C.
    Description: The \"Wildlife Valuation Database\" is composed of 53 individual studies, providing 181 wildlife and reacreation benefit estimates. The database can be run on an IBM computer with Microsoft Windows 3.1. The format of the database is in the following form; (a) ID number, (b) focus of study (for example, hunting and fishing), (c) author(s), (d) date published, (e) species (for example, moose and wolf), (f) geography (for example, is the study representative of a region or province), (g) sample size, (h) data year, (i) valuation technique (such as travel cost models and contingent valuation methods), (j) beneficiaries (for example, are the beneficiaries Canadians or Non-Canadians), (k) benefit value in 1994 dollar terms, (m) denominations (such as benefit values per year or per day), (n) survey characteristics (inclusive: demographics, expenditures, trips made, distance traveled, duration, party size, substitute site, family income, value of time and survey used), (o) license fees, (p) variable costs (food, lodging and travel costs), (q) capital costs, and (r) total expenditures. The majority of the entries in the database are from Alberta studies (47%). The composition of the rest of the database is as follows; other Canadian provinces (British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, and Newfoundland) represent 23% of the data; Canadian wide and United States studies represent 6% and 24% of the data respectively. Most of the studies were consumptive in nature, such as hunting and fishing, followed by non-consumptive activities, such as hiking. Identified gaps within the database literature are (a) very few bequest and existence valuation studies, (b) few studies that analyze quality changes (with respective changes to benefit estimates and expenditures) due to positive/negative environmental impacts, (c) the exclusion of expenditures from many studies, and (d) the issue of successfully deriving capital costs per unit studied. The majority of the wildlife valuation reports were completed between the late 1960s through to the 1980's. Out of the 53 entries in the wildlife database, 43 were executed between 1968 and 1989, and the remaining 10 studies were completed in the 1990's. The vast amounts of reports done from the late 1960's to the late 1980's, resulted from the growth of environmental litigation and benefit transfer policies. The benefit values and total expenditures were concerted to 1994 dollars for ease of comparison. The range of benefit values for per day, per trip, and per year of hunting activities are $11-$500, $34-$396, and $76-$1553 respectively. The range of benefit values for fishing activities are $16-$132/day, $35-$66/trip, and $33-$403/year. Similarly, the benefit values for non-consumptive activities vary from $1-$11/day, $45-$342/trip, and $120-$486/year. The values of total expenditures for hunting activities range from $22-$645/day, $51-$699/trip, and $259-$3081/year. Fishing activities provide total expenditures ranging from $567-$2867/trip, and $1-$1497/year. Lastly, total expenditures for non-consumptive activities vary from $1-$257/trip, and $1497-$5567/M/year. Median values (or the central/mid point value) for total expenditures in 1994 dollars can be expressed across all studies. The median value for the total expenditures per trip across all studies is $51 and the mid point for total expenditures per day and per year across all studies are $204 and $1268 respectively. The wildlife database provides a comprehensive synthesis of benefit estimates that can be used for processes such as benefit transfers. The data can also be used in meta-analysis to provide information on wildlife benefit estimate variability. Note: the database is available through the Environmental Valuation Reference Inventory (EVRI); see link below.
    Subjects: wildlife and recreation, wildlife valuation
    Date Created: 1996
  9. Integrating Food Policy with Growing Health and Wellness Concerns: An Analytical Literature Review of the Issues Affecting Government, Industry, and Civil Society [Download]

    Title: Integrating Food Policy with Growing Health and Wellness Concerns: An Analytical Literature Review of the Issues Affecting Government, Industry, and Civil Society
    Creator: Cash, Sean B.
    Description: A recent letter to the editor in The Edmonton Journal ended with the question, \"How many more needless death?\" [\"More Wheat, Less Rye,\" Edmonton Journal, p. A13 (17 January 2005)] The letter was not addressing the violence in Darfur, distribution of pharmaceuticals, or AIDS -- it was a comment on new dietary guidelines released a few days earlier in the United States. The tone of this letter highlights the growing concern over the linkages between food and health. Especially over the last ten years, such issues have received increasing public attention in both the policy and media arenas. One of the major drivers of public policy interest in this area is an increase in health costs that are attributable to diet-related causes. Lawsuits over issues of dietary liability, the popularity of books and movies such as Fast Food Nation and Supersize Me, and a barrage of quotable and terrifying statistics have all helped contribute to a growing consensus that we are facing a new crisis of food-related health concerns. If we are to address these concerns as a society, we must first recognize that consumer food choices are complex. Designing effective policies to change consumer attitudes may therefore be difficult and costly, and requires and integrative approach. Incentives offered to primary food producers, processors, retailers, and restaurateurs must be in line with societal goals, regulatory oversight must be consistent, and consumers must be provided with adequate information. In order to work toward better, more effective policies, it is desirable to review the actions and recommendations that the medical profession, multinational organizations, NGOs, the food industry, and national governments have undertaken. It is also important to assess the impacts of policies that have been proposed in other contexts, such as those developed to control the use of tobacco or those that govern the agri-food distribution system. To that end, University of Alberta researchers, at the request of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, undertook a literature review that addressed the following major areas: I. Part I consists of an overview of health and disease and the relationship between health and individual food consumption. Data are drawn from the medical literature. Discussion centres on a summary of various meta-analyses that link health to foods consumed. II. Part II summarizes major international organizations' views about food health issues. We detail the FAO and WHO's position on food and health and discuss the actions taken by various NGOs, including Canadian cancer and stroke organizations. III. Part III focuses on the food industry. The authors provide examples of the ways in which North American food firms have responded to health issues. This section also includes a summary of major food manufacturers' product advertising activities. IV. Part IV centres on public policy issues, such as the development and marketing of the Canadian Food Guide and governmental regulation of advertising for individual foods. V. Part V includes a synopsis and recommendations for further research.
    Subjects: food policy, health
    Date Created: 2005
  10. Economic Evaluation of Manure Management and Farm Gate Applications : A Literature Review of Environmental and Economic Aspects of Manure Management in Alberta's Livestock Sectors [Download]

    Title: Economic Evaluation of Manure Management and Farm Gate Applications : A Literature Review of Environmental and Economic Aspects of Manure Management in Alberta's Livestock Sectors
    Creator: Unterschultz, Jim
    Description: Livestock operations in Alberta have a significant impact on the economy. Manure is a by-product of livestock production. The review of the science on manure examined the environmental impacts of manure. These impacts include water pollution, air pollution, climate change, and soil degradation. There are several technologies that may be used to manage manure on-farm and off-farm. These include nutrient recycling through soil application and composting. Composting reduces the volume of manure, but increases the nitrogen losses from the manure. This review, using a very simplistic approach, estimated that more than 6.3 million tonnes of manure were generated in Alberta in 1996. Other studies have estimated significantly higher annual manure production. On a province-wide basis, there is adequate cropland area to make use of all the nutrients available in the manure produced. However, manure production tends to be concentrated on smaller land areas. Benefits of manure are constrained by both hauling costs and the costs of managing the manure itself. The on-farm economic costs or benefits are not well documented. Four general approaches have been used to analyaze the on-farm economics of manure management. * Opportunity Cost: Value the nutrient content of manure using commercial fertilizer values and consider the manure or manure product as a commercial fertilizer substitute of supplement. * Crop Benefit: Value the direct crop benefit through a comparison of production in soil with manure applied versus a control with no manure applied. * Cost of Business: View the manure exclusively as a by-product of livestock production and evaluate methods for minimizing the cost of disposal. * Business Enterprise: View manure production as a value-added business and evaluate as a separate business enterprise using an appropriate approach. Any detailed economic analysis should incorporate the dynamic nature of manure production, and the management of manure through recycling through soil. Only one study was identified that was based on Alberta conditions and utilized a systems approach. At best, only one of the published studies explicitly incorporated the dynamic interactions of the livestock operation with a cropping enterprise, to analyze the on-farm economics of manure. This may be, in part, related to the complexities of modeling the key components in the system, while including the dynamic time-related interactions between soil, manure, and the environment. Those studies that attempted a systems approach or, at the very least, a more complete investment analysis, generally showed manure to be a net cost to the farm business. Little farm gate economic research applicable to Alberta on cost and benefits of manure systems for commercial farms for feedlots, dairy, pork or poultry was found. Future research could focus on a) economic case studies of selected farms to value manure management systems and b) working towards a systems analysis of manure management for Alberta livestock farms.
    Subjects: farm management, farm gate, livestock
    Date Created: 2001