Introduction

On its 40th anniversary as a national and state-wide leader in the analysis of key agribusiness market issues, the Texas Agribusiness Market Research Center (TAMRC) at Texas A&M University is becoming the Agribusiness, Food, and Consumer Economics Research Center (AFCERC) with an expanding research purview and vision. While continuing the TAMRC tradition of providing timely, unique, and professional research on a wide variety of issues related to agribusiness markets, AFCERC will expand its research efforts to downstream markets with a particular focus on consumer health, nutrition, and food safety concerns.

AFCERC will continue to reside within the Department of Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M University. Three faculty members will be primarily responsible for the day-to-day operations of AFCERC: Dr. Oral Capps, Jr., Executive Professor and Holder of the Southwest Dairy Marketing Endowed Chair, Dr. Gary W. Williams, Professor and former Director of TAMRC, and Dr. Victoria S. Salin, Associate Professor.

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Mission

AFCERC provides analyses, strategic planning, and forecasts of the market conditions impacting domestic and global agricultural, agribusiness, and food industries. Our high-quality, objective, and timely research supports strategic decision-making at all levels of the supply chain from producers to processors, wholesalers, retailers, and consumers. An enhanced emphasis on consumer economics adds depth to our research on the behavioral and social aspects of health, nutrition, and food safety. Through our research endeavors, outreach programs, and industry collaboration, we have become a leading source of knowledge on how food reaches consumers efficiently and contributes to safe and healthy lives. AFCERC is a research and outreach service of Texas AgriLife Research and Extension and resides within the Department of Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M University.

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Research Goals and Objectives

The research goal of AFCERC is to enhance the flow and quality of information along the farm-to-consumer market channel to improve decision-making and enhance the competitive position of our clients in national and global markets. Specific areas of research emphasis include:

  • Agricultural input and commodity markets
  • Agricultural, food, and fiber marketing and distribution
  • Supply chain management and analysis
  • Strategic management and planning
  • Pricing strategies and the price discovery process
  • Generic and branded advertising and promotion programs
  • Concentration and industrialization in agribusiness, food, and fiber industries
  • Globalization, international trade, and trade policy
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Consumer economics and behavior
  • Health and nutrition economics
  • Food safety economics
  • Food and fiber sector implications of environmental and resource issues

The specific AFCERC research objectives to achieve our research goal in each area of research emphasis include the following:

  1. State-of-the-art qualitative and empirical assessments of issues of importance to our clients in each area of research emphasis.
  2. Objective inferences, forecasts, and research result reporting to insure accurate intelligence, free of partisan bias, for optimum decision-making.
  3. High-quality, peer-reviewed research reports to clients written to enhance the understanding of lay readers.
  4. Educational outreach programs to empower our clients and enhance their decision-making skills.
  5. Dissemination of non-confidential research results to agricultural producers and processors, commodity organizations, rural communities, food industries, government agencies, and other researchers through various reports, conferences, seminars, symposia, popular press articles, and academic journal publications to enhance strategic decision-making all along the food supply chain.

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Operational Goals and Objectives

Our primary operational goal is to partner with industries, government, and other organizations in the agriculture, food, and fiber sector to cultivate the image and reputation of AFCERC as the premier source for applied economic analysis associated with the food industry. To that end, the specific operational objectives of AFCERC include the following:  

  1. Maintain a core group of principal AFCERC associates from among the Texas A&M University faculty to: (1) support the research program of AFCERC; (2) develop a quick response capability to research needs; and (3) obtain feedback on the operation of AFCERC, potential research opportunities, and future plans. 
  2. Foster a team approach to research to enhance the ability of AFCERC to tackle the increasingly complex and interdisciplinary research needs of our clients.
  3. Minimize research fees by maintaining an efficient organization that maximizes research output while minimizing costs of staff and operations as well as the size and complexity of the administrative structure. 
  4. Attract high-quality students to the graduate programs of the Department of Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M University and provide them research funding. 
  5. Establish internal and external linkages to national and international research organizations and client groups to expand research opportunities.
  6. Maintain a series of AFCERC reports as well as other means of disseminating research output such as conferences, seminars, and symposia.
  7. Establish an external advisory board to interact on a continual basis with stakeholders of the food industry.

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