2nd Annual Florida Agricultural Policy Outlook Conference

The UF/IFAS Food and Resource Economics Department is pleased to announce the 2nd Annual Florida Agricultural Policy Outlook Conference to examine critical policy issues facing Florida agribusiness leaders and explore valuable economic insight helpful for making informed business and policy decisions.

2017 Conference Presentation and Discussion Topics

  • Innovation Economy
  • Agricultural Labor
  • Water Quality and Management
  • Food and Nutrition Policy
  • Agricultural Production Policy and Trade

Conference Agenda

9:00 am     Welcome and Introductions

Spiro Stefanou, Chair, UF/IFAS Food & Resource Economics Department

9:15 am     Innovation Economy

Jerry Parrish, Chief Economist and Director of Research, Florida Chamber Foundation

Discuss agriculture and agriculture research that are already benefitting from the development of Florida’s innovation economy.  The benefits to Florida will increase as agriculture becomes an even more important part of the Florida economy in the future.  The Florida Chamber Foundation is currently conducting research for Florida 2030, the Florida Chamber Foundation’s strategic plan for Florida.  Dr. Parrish will give a preview of some of the research for this report, which will be published in early 2018.

10:00 am   Break

10:15 am   Fruit and Vegetable Industry: Threats, Challenges, & Opportunities

Zhengfei Guan, UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center

Discuss the challenges in production, trade and competition, and the impacts of the Food Safety Modernization Act, NAFTA and the tomato Suspension Agreement. Dr. Guan will analyze how the challenges and changing operating environments will affect management practice, crop choice, technology development and innovation, marketing, and the industrial organization. He will present a picture of the past, present, and future trajectories of the industry.

11:00 am   Agricultural Water Issues

Jeff Sumner, Federico and Associates

Explore how regulatory and environmental challenges to agriculture are related to water quality and water supply issues. Discuss the role of agriculture in regional water supply planning. Finally, examine how farmers are involved in Everglades restoration efforts, such as the Water Management District's Dispersed Water Management Program.

12:00 pm   Catered Lunch

1:00 pm    Food, Nutrition, and Health

Jaclyn Kropp, UF/IFAS Food & Resource Economics Department

Discuss the National School Lunch Program and initiatives to get children to make healthier food choices. The first part of the talk will discuss two completed studies and one on-going study that utilize “nudging” and other behavioral economics techniques such as pre-commitment, to encourage healthier choices in the lunchroom. These studies suggest that low-cost initiatives can have large impacts on the choices children make. The second part of the talk will focus on the link between product procurement and school lunch choices especially with Farm to School Programs, which combine school gardens, education, local procurement, and increase fruit and vegetable consumption.

1:45 pm     Agricultural Labor and Immigration

Gülcan Önel, UF/IFAS Food & Resource Economics Department

Learn about recent research on the economics of immigration and its implications for the farm sector in the United States and in Florida. The first part of the talk aims to answer the two questions: To what extent are immigrant farmworkers affecting the economic opportunities of native farm workers, and could immigrant farmworkers be easily substituted with domestic farm workers? The second part of the talk will present findings from the Florida Citrus Workers survey conducted during the last harvest year. Implications for the ongoing debates on immigration policies will be discussed, including border enforcement, amnesty, and guest worker programs for agricultural labor.

2:30 pm     Break

2:45 pm     Economic Issues for Genetically Modified Organisms

Brandon McFadden, UF/IFAS Food & Resource Economics Department

Economic issues related to the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, which allows food manufacturers to select text, symbol, or electronic digital link – like a Quick Response Code – for disclosure, will be discussed.  The presentation will discuss the aspects of the bill that are unknown, including what constitutes a food to be considered genetically modified.  The presentation will also discuss the costs associated with the legislation. 

3:30 pm     Panel Discussion

4:15 pm     Evaluation, wrap-up, and adjourn


Dr. Jerry Parrish

Innovation Economy

Dr. Jerry D. Parrish is the Chief Economist and the Director of Research for the Florida Chamber Foundation. In that role, he is responsible for conducting in-depth analyses of economic trends, Florida’s industry clusters and on solutions to help secure Florida’s future.

Parrish previously was the Chief Economist and Director of the Center for Competitive Florida at Florida TaxWatch. Prior to that position, he served as the Associate Director of the Center for Economic Forecasting & Analysis (CEFA) at Florida State University and has many years of experience in management roles at international manufacturing companies.

Parrish is currently an adjunct instructor in the Masters in Applied Economics Program at Florida State University. He earned a B.S. in Agricultural Business and Economics from Auburn University, an M.B.A. from Bellarmine University, an M.S. in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and a Ph.D. in Economics from Auburn University. He has published many research reports and articles on the Florida economy, Florida’s competitiveness and other economic topics of interest to Floridians.

Dr. Zhengfei Guan

Fruit and Vegetable Policy and Trade

Dr. Zhengfei Guan's current research focuses on producer behavior and decision making under risk and uncertainty; covering decision areas in production, land use, investment, and technology adoption; and the economic, environmental, and policy implications of these decisions.

Dr. Guan is an assistant professor of agricultural economics at the UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center. His research interests are in the areas of agricultural finance, production economics, environmental economics, consumer behavior and preferences. His main research activities revolve around the theme of agents’ response to the changing market, regulatory, and natural environments, as well as, the repercussion of their operations on the environment.

Jeff Sumner, P.E.

Agricultural Water Management

Jeff Sumner, P.E. is Vice President, Federico & Associates, Inc (FAA). He joined (FAA) in May 2016, where his practice focuses on engineering and water policy consulting primarily in the agricultural sector. Prior to joining FAA, he served as head of State and Agricultural Policy for the South Florida Water Management District, and previously as Director of Agricultural Policy since 2013. In this position, he served as primary point-of-contact for agricultural interests in the 16 counties in the District. In addition, he oversaw the Northern Everglades Program, Dispersed Water Management Program and Permit Acquisition and Compliance Section. Before joining the District, Mr. Sumner spent 18 years as an engineering consultant and manager in the private sector.

Mr. Sumner earned his bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering from the University of Florida. He resides in Okeechobee with his wife, Robbi, and daughter, Shelby. He is a licensed Professional Engineer and a seventh-generation Floridian.

Dr. Jaclyn Kropp

Food and Nutrition Policy

Dr. Jaclyn Kropp's research focuses on issues related to agricultural policy and agricultural finance, including the impacts of agricultural support programs on farm-level production decisions, how government support program participation affects access to credit, the role of trust in lending relationships, and the link between food assistance program participation and child obesity.

Dr. Kropp is an assistant professor in the food and resource economics department at the University of Florida. She earned her Ph.D. in Applied Economics and Management from Cornell University in 2008. Jaclyn joined the University of Florida in August of 2012 and has a 60% teaching and 40% research appointment. Prior to joining the University of Florida, she was a tenure-track assistant professor at Clemson University. Prior to earning her Ph.D., she worked as a financial advisor and hedge fund analyst. At the University of Florida, Kropp teaches a variety of courses at the undergraduate and graduate level, including Advanced Agribusiness Management, Agricultural Finance, and International Agricultural Trade.

Dr. Gülcan Önel

Agricultural Labor

Dr. Gülcan Önel's primary research focuses on the analysis of agricultural commodity and input markets, and how market frictions and structural changes impact agricultural prices and demand for food. Her second area of research is agricultural labor markets, focusing on how the legal status of workers and federal immigration policies may affect labor supply and demand. She received the 2015 Early Career Scientist Seed Funding Award from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences for her research on immigration and agricultural labor in Florida.

Dr. Önel, an assistant professor in the food and resource economics department at the University of Florida, earned her Ph.D. in economics with a minor in statistics from North Carolina State University in 2011. She received national awards for both her master's thesis (Turkish Economic Association, 2004) and her Ph.D. dissertation (Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, 2012).

Dr. Brandon McFadden

Food Innovation and Policy

Dr. Brandon McFadden's research focuses on consumer behavior, food choice and attitudes towards contemporary agriculture production. He has analyzed the effects of advertising on GMO labeling initiatives, cognitive biases on genetically modified goods and brain activity when making choices related to food technology and animal welfare. He is currently working on a project that uses eye tracking to better understand how consumers interact with nutrition information.

Dr. McFadden is an assistant professor in the food and resource economics department at the University of Florida.


Register Online

$50 registration covers the cost to attend the conference and a catered lunch.  Contact Candy Kaswinkle with any questions about registration.