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Poultry sector strategy review

Salli Diakova was a featured presenter at the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council Winter Meeting in Washington DC. She outlined the main components of a comprehensive industry long-term plan developed from discussions with a wide range of poultry industry and ancillary industry participants. She emphasized the importance of international trade for the growth and well-being of the sector and underlined the key role played by USAPEEC in facilitating a positive international trade environment and in identifying and developing new markets for US poultry meat and egg products.  (December 2015)


Agralytica was awarded a Risk Management Agency contract for an indefinite number of tasks relating to insurance for forage crops.. 

    • The first of these tasks explored a wide range of forage prodcution and pricing issues of relevance to crop insurance of alfalfa and other forage speices. (January 2015)
    • The second task was to prepare and present a review of alternative methods to enhance the forage crop insurance product porftolio for discussion with representatives of the forage sector. (October 2015)
    • A third task is under preparation that will review the enhancement of existing forage insurance plans to provide a comprehensive portfolio of products for the forage produciton sector. (Ongoing)

Studies of organic product marketing systems, and prices for various crops

Agralytica was awarded a Risk Management Agency contract for an indefinite number of tasks relating to the development of prices for organic crops with a focus on specialty crops. 

    • The first of these tasks focused on understanding the marketing framework and costs of production for various tree and vine crops under organic production in Western states.  (October 2014)
    • The second of these tasks reviews the marketing infrastructure for organic vegetable crops such as tomatoes, sweet corn, and peppers in Southeast states, and other vegetable crops in the Northeast.  (Ongoing)
    • The third task covers organic apple marketing and production east of the Mississippi and organic wheat marketing nationwide. (Ongoing)

Cost Dynamics of USDA Foods Usage in School Meals

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) commissioned Agralytica to explore various research questions relating to the full costs of USDA donated foods to school feeding programs and their relationship to procurement and delivery methods.  This three-year assignment identifies procurement and distribution systems used by each of the 50 states to distribute USDA Foods to schools, develops representative procurement and distribution models, and identifies separate cost estimates for various groups of fresh, unprocessed and processed products.  (Ongoing)

Development of a margin protection crop insurance product for catfish

Various attempts have been made to develop crop insurance products for the catfish industry.  Several plan designs have been rejected because of vulnerabilities that threatened their acceptability to farmers, the insurance sector and to the Risk Management Agency.  This assignment explored alternative methods of catfish crop insurance based on protecting catfish farmer margins (based on the difference between the market price of catfish and the principal costs of production).  (December 2015)

Alternatives for developing crop insurance that will assist the swine sector in handling swine diseases. 

Agralytica was invited to review the feasibility of developing an actuarially sound Federal insurance plan that could be used to manage disease risk faced by the swine industry.  Given the importance of the sector, the economic threat of the introduction of serious foreign swine diseases is considerable.  If introduced, such diseases would result in immediate closure of some of the export markets that currently take 20% of total US production.  Even without any impact on demand in the domestic market, hog prices would fall dramatically, causing a multi-year contraction in the industry that would be painful for everyone involved.  The report assessed the merits of various crop insurance plan designs to contribute to swine disease risk management.  (November 2015)

Evaluation of the pilot pistachio APH crop insurance plan in California, Arizona, and New Mexico

A viable crop insurance plan for pistachios must handle the alternate bearing tendency for the crop and identify appropriate prices to determine insurance guarantees.  Agralytica, in conjunction with its partner, Milliman Inc., was commissioned by USDA's Risk Management Agency (RMA) to review these and other features of the pilot crop insurance policy for pistachios. The report identified potential enhancements to improve the attractiveness of the plan.  (June 2015)

Evaluating the California pilot strawberry crop insurance plan

The Risk Management Agency has relatively few Actual Revenue History (ARH) products within its portfolio.  The ARH design has certain conceptual advantages with major challenges in implementation.  This review of a pilot crop insurance plan available along California’s central and southern coast added to the broad understanding of the appropriateness of ARH plans to different types of crop production.  (November 2015)

Measuring relative levels of market access for grains and oilseeds

This report is produced annually for leading associations representing the grain and oilseed sectors.  It scores the level of market protection faced by US grains and oilseeds in thirty-seven countries as of the end of 2014.  It follows similar analyses performed from 2004 to 2013 and highlights some of the changes that have taken place.  The report focuses attention on the most egregious market access barriers, measures changes in market access over time, and compares countries and commodities.  (April 2015)

California Raisins global review

Agralytica was commissioned to undertake a global review of markets on behalf of the California Raisin Administrative Committee (RAC).  The RAC had undertaken market development activities in a wide range of international markets for many years.  The aim of this study was to assess the extent to which market dynamics had affected the prioritization of markets.  The results form the basis of realignment of RAC’s export priorities. (January 2015)

United Soybean Board activities

Agralytica reviewed the contribution of all activities funded by the USB to the achievement of the organization's strategic objectives. the report outlined a range of issues impacting evaluative management of the program (January 2015)


In recent years, a team of representatives of a leading corn association has promoted US origin DDGS (distillers’ dried grains with solubles) in Mexico through generic promotion.  Agralytica was commissioned to explore new opportunities for developing Mexico’s DDGS market.  The report identified priority areas for market development investment, and served as a basis for developing future plans.  (December 2014)

Listening sessions

As part of its work on crop insurance, Agralytica senior staff has conducted listening sessions on a wide range of crops.  Listening sessions provide a unique opportunity to gain feedback from producers, insurance company staff, crop insurance agents, and industry observers on the value of crop insurance and the appropriateness of the plan design for different crops.  Some examples are listed below :

    • Strawberries - two listening sessions in California (2015)
    • Catfish - listening sessions in Mississippi and Alabama (2015)
    • Swine – four listening sessions in North Carolina, Indiana, Minnesota and Iowa (2015)
    • Pistachios – two listening sessions in California (2015)
    • Alfalfa - four listening sessions in California, Wisconsin, Kansas, and Kentucky.  (2014)
    • Forage - fifty telephone interviews with farmers, and fifteen interviews with crop insurance agents  (2013/4)
    • Tart cherries - two listening sessions with producers and insurance industry representatives in Michigan and Utah (2013)
    • Avocados - two listening sessions in California (2013)
    • Navel oranges - two listening sessions in California (2013)
    • Sweet cherries - eight listening sessions in California, Washington, Oregon, and Michigan (2012)

Helping the Illinois Soybean Association with its strategy development efforts

Agralytica completed a strategic overview of the circumstances affecting the Illinois and US soybean sector.  It identified major constraints and opportunities for the industry based on the global situation, animal utilization, transportation and logistics, production issues, and the impact of policies and regulations.  Nick Young presented the findings at the 2014 meeting of the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA).  This work followed a 2012 workshop led by Nick at the ISA on applying Agralytica’s Results-Oriented Management (R-OM) process to the organization’s strategic development efforts.  R-OM has been useful in developing a rational and logical program structure to achieve broad strategic aims.  (November 2014)

Annual review of the economic impact of animal agriculture in the 50 states

Agralytica has completed its annual review of the impact of US animal agriculture on US state economies.  Each spring we review the latest cattle, hog, broiler, turkey, egg, and milk production data for each state to determine the changes in the status of animal agriculture over the past decade.  We convert these data into estimates of the impact of animal agriculture on employment, state income, and soybean product usage. (August 2014)

Agralytica evaluates a soybean checkoff program to develop soy oil based polyurethane

Agralytica evaluated a University research program on use of soybean oil to manufacture polyurethane foam for commercial applications.  Agralytica used its proprietary R-OM evaluation tool to determine the viability of the project according to the strategic targets specified by the checkoff program.  The evaluation also determined whether the program met its key performance indicators and recommended improvements. (July 2014)

Agralytica reviews a major risk management program – Prevented Planting

In mid-2013, Agralytica began an in-depth review of the prevented planting insurance provisions for USDA’s Risk Management Agency. This review covered every aspect of the prevented planting coverage for over 30 individual crops on a region-by-region basis.  This important risk management tool for farmers required labor-intensive effort to understand the intricacies of the issues farmers face.  Agralytica reviewed crop production cost budgets and surveys, and interviewed Extension economists.  Following the review, Agralytica crafted a set of recommendations to bring before the FCIC board. The complete report can be found here (May 2014)

Soybean industrial utilization program review

Agralytica reviewed the impact of United Soybean Board (USB) programs to develop the industrial utilization of soy products on behalf of its Audit and Evaluation Committee.  This project involved interviewing companies, research groups and universities working in partnership with the USB to develop these utilizations.  The interviews ranged from major global companies such as Ford Motor Company, Goodyear, and Sherwin Williams to small bio-based companies engaged in new product development.  (June 2013)

Consultations – US soybean industry development priorities

Nick Young spoke to the USB strategic management committee on the various priorities facing the USB in meeting its goals.  The presentation drew upon an industry market scan that was completed in late 2012.  The presentation addressed key areas of focus identified by the board including the oil market, the meal market, customer focus, and freedom to farm.  (February 2013) 

Major Agralytica study - Soy protein concentrate for aquaculture

In 2012, Agralytica completed a major review of the global soy protein concentrate market and the potential for further development of sales to the global aquaculture market.  The study covered fermented soybean meals as well as soy protein concentrates from both soybean meal and white flakes.  The study identified key fed species and the consumption of soy protein concentrates, soybean meal, and aquafeeds.  Nick Young presented the results to soybean industry interests in New Orleans.  (February 2013) 

Agralytica speaks at "Future of the US Egg Industry"

In late January, Tom Earley presented at the “Future of the US Egg Industry” workshop at the International Production & Processing Expo in Atlanta.  His talk was on the economic impacts of proposed legislation that would transition the egg industry to enriched cage systems.  It examined the capital investment requirements, production costs, and the impact on consumer prices.  (January 2013)

Nick Young spoke at the Potato Expo 2013 trade show and conference in Las Vegas

Nick presented a paper on upgrading the potato market by focusing on varietal differences.  Each variety responds differently to the various cooking methods and each has different eat qualities (texture, flavor, taste, etc.).  He was on a panel with a leading UK supermarket buyer (Tesco) and a leading US potato breeder.  (January 2013)

Agralytica presents opportunities for increasing poultry and egg exports to Latin American and Caribbean markets

At USAPEEC's annual meeting, Andre Williamson presented the finding from a USAPEEC-commissioned study of poultry meat and egg product markets in 17 countries throughout the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. Highlights of the presentation can be found on Watt Agnet.  (June 2012)

Agralytica presents findings on the potential impact of regulations on animal agriculture

Andre Williamson presented study findings regarding animal agriculture regulations and their potential impact to audiences at the Commodity Classic, National Institute for Animal Agriculture, and Animal Agriculture Alliance.  He also was interviewed by the ag news service, Brownfield.  The study in question was completed last fall for the United Soybean Board.  It identified an array of potential regulations faced by animal agriculture in the US, and using a case study approach, quantified their potential impact.  (May 2012)

Agralytica completes large-scale study of school food purchasing patterns for FNS

Agralytica has recently completed a large-scale, data-driven study documenting and analyzing the purchasing of food by School Food Authorities nationwide.  The three-year project was commissioned by USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) and required the collection of complete purchasing data from 421 school districts.  The resulting database provides FNS with a wealth of information on the composition of school district food purchases and the accompanying study analyzes differences between purchasing patterns of districts with different characteristics.  The study also identified changes in food purchasing since the previous study conducted in 1996/7. The full report can be found here. (April 2012)

Planning and evaluation training at USAEDC

On November 17th, Nick Young gave a presentation, “Results-Oriented management (R-OM) – a briefing for farm, fiber, and food export groups” to an audience at the US Agricultural Export Development Council (USAEDC) annual workshop in Baltimore.  The presentation and accompanying paper outlined the power of the R-OM approach in preparing export market development plans. (November 2011)