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Project Reports (Resource Economics & Environmental Sociology)

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  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. Assessing Impacts of Environmental Change on Aboriginal People: An Economic Examination of Subsistence Resource Use and Value [Download]

    Title: Assessing Impacts of Environmental Change on Aboriginal People: An Economic Examination of Subsistence Resource Use and Value
    Creator: Dosman, Donna
    Description: The report describes the research design, data collection and preliminary analysis of an economic assessment on non-timber resource use by Aboriginal People in Northwest Saskatchewan. The project is designed to develop methods of valuing resource use by Aboriginal People so that these values can be incorporated into forest resource management decisions and to evaluate the impact of forest management actions on the economic well-being of Aboriginal People living in the region. Data on non-timber resource use are collected and spatially explicit economic models are developed in order to construct estimates of behavioral change and value associated with changes in the environment and landscape (through forestry, access, or other landscape changes).
    Subjects: forest management, aboriginal peoples
    Date Created: 2002
  5. Positioning for Trade Liberalization: Structure of Earnings, Comparative and Competitive Advantage of Agricultural Households in the United States and Canada [Download]

    Title: Positioning for Trade Liberalization: Structure of Earnings, Comparative and Competitive Advantage of Agricultural Households in the United States and Canada
    Creator: Apedaile, L. Peter
    Description: Change in the earnings structure of agricultural households in North America is an important concern of policy makers in Canada and the United States. Earning structure reveals the strengths and weaknesses of households in the climate and policy change, competition and predation associated with trade liberalization. Earnings structure can be broken down into source and composition structures. The source structure of earnings contains information about where household income is derived: market income, off-farm income, direct agricultural subsidies, social safety nets, and other income. The composition structure of earnings expresses returns in terms of wages, capital, and rents according to the form of property right underlying production. Earnings structure is measured for each of six regions in North America: Western and Eastern Canada, Northwest and Northeast United States, and Southwest and Southeast United States. The regional comparisons are examined in a north-south direction on both the west and east sides of the continent. The earnings structure is measured for size classes of agricultural households for two periods, 1987-88 and 1990-91. Two North-South patterns predominate in the source structure of earnings in both the East and West halves of the continent. The first is the greater volume of agricultural sales for comparable commercial agricultural households as one moves south. The second is that the proportion of agricultural households accounting for 75% of the output of agricultural commodities diminishes dramatically from North to South. The proportion in western Canada is 43% diminishing to 10% in the Southwest. In eastern Canada the proportion is 38% diminishing to 10% in the Southeast. The pattern of the composition structure of earnings is similar in each of the six regions as household agricultural sales increase. The wage share of the earnings declines. The share of capital earnings is constant, while the share of economic rent increases. The wage share of earnings is highest for western Canada compared to the western States. The proportion of earnings accounted for by the return to capital is highest in Canada apparently reflecting higher levels of capital, not including land, in the inputs structure. The proportions of rents are higher in the western U.S. regions than in western Canada. The implications of the harmonization of trade rules is also analyzed. Comparative and competitive advantage analysis reveals the implications of integrating the Canadian and United States agricultural markets. Comparative advantage analysis provides clues as to which commodities realize advantages when fixed resources dedicated to the commodities incur the least opportunity cost relative to all other uses. Competitive advantage measures the outcome of all policies, business alliances, and market conditions, which enable a commodity landed in another trade jurisdiction to contribute to the economic rent in the place of origin. Comparative and competitive advantage analysis is used to measure and interpret trade advantages across North America. Western Canada appears to hold the advantage for gain. The comparative advantage for western Canadian grain suggests that a level playing field would offer new opportunities. It is not clear what effect price pooling in Canada has on these measures of advantage. However, some kind of entitlement advantage appears to favour the inputs side of larger grain operations in Canada because competitive advantage increases with size while comparative advantage remains the same across farm sizes. The majority of the size classes of beef producing households in western Canada appear to hold a competitive advantage over eastern Canada. The Northeast United States also seems to hold the competitive advantage in beef production over eastern Canada for the majority of households. The evidence is inconclusive for trade among the western regions. Both the Northeast United States and Eastern Canada hold comparative advantages in grains. Eastern Canada holds a competitive advantage over the Northeast United States in grain production for the majority of households. Source structures of earnings suggest that the east and west halves of the continent stand to be affected in opposite ways by subsidy roll-backs and redefinition of eligibility criteria for income support, that is, entitlements. The difference between eastern and western Canada is that the support programs in the East are both taxpayer and consumer financed within supply management programs. They are primarily taxpayer financed in the West. The degree of consumer financing shows up in the much larger share of market-based earnings in the East, attributable to supply management. The differences for the east and west United States lie in the greater dependence of the West on taxpayer support. The Eastern agricultural households are largely self financing at all levels of importance to the National interest, measured in terms of commodity output. This comparative study of earnings reveals that there are many national differences which interfere with the trade harmonization process. The vision of each country's agricultural and rural systems must be looked at closely to understand how each country shares the costs of food, shares the cost of countryside amenities, deals with sustainability and plans on handling farm adjustment among agricultural households, taxpayers and consumers. Each National dynamic is viewed differently from each country. Regional differences seem to exist on property rights and entitlements. Evidence suggests the choice of policy measures to be harmonized retains strong roots in the fundamentally different regional rural worlds of the United States and Canada.
    Subjects: agricultural households, international trade, trade liberalization
    Date Created: 1995
  6. A Socio-Economic Evaluation of Woodland Caribou in Northwestern Saskatchewan [Download]

    Title: A Socio-Economic Evaluation of Woodland Caribou in Northwestern Saskatchewan
    Creator: Tanguay, Mark
    Description: Maintaining the abundance of wildlife and the preservation of endangered species are serious concerns to the people of Saskatchewan. In the 1991 survey \"Importance of Wildlife to Canadians\" over 80% of Saskatchewan respondents stated that these two issues are important. This same survey also found that over 40 000 Saskatchewan residents were involved in maintaining natural areas. Clearly, wildlife and natural areas preservation are important to the citizens in this province. A particular forest species, the woodland caribou, is classified as vulnerable to the effects of timber harvesting. In the Northwestern region of Saskatchewan increased forest industry activity could place local populations of this species in jeopardy. Given the degree of public interest in maintaining wildlife populations, a study was proposed to examine the socio-economic significance of this species. For completeness, this proposed study would include the cost of maintaining caribou numbers. Such a study was initiated in 1992. A survey was developed to collect information on the social and economic elements that would influence the valuation of wildlife. Contingent valuation (CV) methods were incorporated, into the survey, to estimate the value of woodland caribou. The opportunity cost of maintaining caribou numbers will be derived by determining foregone harvest volumes to industry. These cost estimates will be completed in 1993. This report will supply the descriptive results of the survey. In the future, research models will be developed to measure the value of woodland caribou to the people of Saskatchewan. A final report will include these valuation estimates and the opportunity cost associated with the identified caribou population goals. The information within these reports will assist professional managers in designing optimal management strategies for the Northwestern region of Saskatchewan.
    Subjects: contingent valuation, wildlife preservation, valuation
    Date Created: 1993
  7. An Economic Evaluation of Woodland Caribou Conservation Programs in Northwestern Saskatchewan [Download]

    Title: An Economic Evaluation of Woodland Caribou Conservation Programs in Northwestern Saskatchewan
    Creator: Tanguay, Mark
    Description: The purpose of this study was to identify the values Saskatchewan residents place on their Woodland Caribou conservation programs. Using contingent valuation methods, individual values for maintaining caribou numbers within Millar Western-NorSask Forest Management Licence agreement area were estimated. Using these value estimates, societal benefits were estimated for the implementation of a woodland caribou maintenance program within the forest licence agreement area. The data used in this study were collected using a mailout survey to Saskatchewan residents. Two contingent valuation formats were used, the opened ended willingness to pay and the dichotomous choice. A number of question structures were employed in order to judge the sensitivity of the valuation to the design. In all, 9 different versions of the contingent valuation question were used in a randomized design strategy. The resulting welfare measures for the implementation of the caribou maintenance program were somewhat variable. The open ended format produced the lowest estimates, while the dichotomous choice estimates were higher and showed a higher degree of variability. This variability may be due to the presence of the ordering or whole-part effects. The values elicited for the conservation program using the open ended approach average approximately $15.00 per person per year. These values, when aggregated over the provincial population, result in an annual benefit of the woodland caribou conservation program of about $10M. These are the most conservative of the estimates, suggesting that woodland caribou conservation is very important to Saskatchewan residents.
    Subjects: caribou conservation, contingent valuation
    Date Created: 1995
  8. Economic Effects of Environmental Quality Change on Recreational Hunting in Northern Saskatchewan [Download]

    Title: Economic Effects of Environmental Quality Change on Recreational Hunting in Northern Saskatchewan
    Creator: Morton, Karen
    Description: This study was undertaken to provide some of the social values for the non-timber component of the Millar Western-NorSask Forest Management License Agreement. This study estimates the changes in the value of a recreational hunting experience as one, or a combination of several, of the following items change in the forest environment: i) road access; ii) game populations; iii) congestion; and iv) travel distance. There are several unique aspects of this study. It extends traditional contingent valuation analysis by evaluating multiple quality changes at once. A variation on the contingent valuation method, called the contingent behaviour method, was developed to examine these tradeoffs; the payment vehicle used in this model is travel cost. The data used in this study were obtained from two mail surveys of Saskatchewan hunters: one of whitetail deer hunters and one of moose hunters. Using these data, a binary choice random utility model was developed. Using information on logging-wildlife interactions, a simulation of six post-timber harvesting scenarios were created for zone 69 in the Millar Western-NorSask FMLA area and the annual and capitalized welfare impacts on hunters were calculated. The results show that an increase in the welfare of resident Saskatchewan whitetail deer and moose hunters can be expected from the harvesting of timber in the Forest Management Licence Agreement. The estimated annual increase in welfare ranged from $5 799.54 to $18 979.22 for whitetail deer hunters and it ranged from $4 247.22 to $19 409.98 for moose hunters. The highest welfare impacts were obtained from scenarios where game populations were increased and congestion was decreased, suggesting that people may prefer avoiding areas with forestry operations unless the area offers increased hunting attributes (e.g. game).
    Subjects: random utility model, contingent behaviour method, recreational hunting
    Date Created: 1994
  9. Private Woodlot Survey Results for Northwestern Saskatchewan [Download]

    Title: Private Woodlot Survey Results for Northwestern Saskatchewan
    Creator: Salkie, Fiona J.
    Description: There are approximately 37 million acres (15 million hectares) of productive, non-reserved forest land in Saskatchewan of which 2.6%, or 961 000 acres (389 000 hectares), is privately owned. It is estimated that this private forest land is owned by 15 000 landowners (Forestry Canada, 1988). Private woodlot owners in northwestern Saskatchewan have historically had few options when marketing wood. Limited markets existed for firewood and rough lumber but there were few stable markets. Aspen had generally been considered a weed species with no commercial value. The recent construction of a pulp mill in Meadow Lake that uses Aspen as its primary input has created a long-term demand for Aspen pulpwood. Although the pulp mill, and other industrial forest products companies, are allocated public timber reserves through Forest Management Licence Agreements, increasing pressure from other forest users, such as native groups and recreationalists, has placed uncertainty on the long-term availability of current fibre allocations on public lands. This has caused industrial timber managers to look to alternative sources for sustainable timber supply. The private woodlot sector offers a potential long-term supply of fibre. Private lands as a source of timber supply has a number of advantages. Woodlots are generally located on the agriculture/forestry fringe and are served by an existing transportation infrastructure; this reduces the cost of accessing timber and frequently puts woodlots in close proximity to processing facilities. In addition, woodlots are generally close to towns and thus have readily available labour forces. If the forest industry is to take advantage of this resource there is a need for more information about the private timber resources and their attitudes of the relevant landowners. The objective of this project was to identify characteristics of landowners that have motivated them to manage and supply timber in the past and may be related to a willingness to consider timber management and harvesting in the future. The project also investigated the use of various contracts to encourage private forest management and sustainable timber harvesting. A survey was developed and in-person interviews conducted to collect the relevant information. Survey design and sampling procedure are outlined in Chapter 2. Chapter 3 summarizes the results of the survey and a discussion of the results is included as Chapter 4. A copy of the survey questionnaire is included in the Appendix.
    Subjects: woodlots
    Date Created: 1993
  10. 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