Animal Agriculture Facing Pressure from Regulations and Private Standards
2016 Filley-Garey Lecture Animal agriculture faces pressures from government regulations and private buyer standards, including those related to labeling. This presentation will review economic relationships for several important issues related to poultry, pork, beef and milk industries. These issues have a common theme: widespread concerns about farm or food system practices are based on misperceptions or misinterpretations. Also, that changes in practices and product characteristics have been imposed by government regulation or intermediate buyer standards that limit consumer choices, rather than by effective market demand by end use consumers. Among the most significant implications of these trends in animal agriculture are disincentives for application of science and technology to agricultural and food practices. Such disincentives for innovation may foster slower farm and food system productivity growth, slower declines in food prices, slower improvements in food safety, and slower reductions in food waste. In rich, relatively well-fed economies the impacts are substantial but affect a relatively small part of the economy and a small share of most consumer budgets. Among the poor of the world, the consequences are vital and include less nutritious diets and resultant health threats for a billion people.
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