Almost famous

As I mentioned in an earlier post, it is spring break here at the U of S and a few of our faculty are away from Saskatoon.  As my luck would have it, yesterday I received an email from the graduate secretary asking if I would like to conduct an interview with one of the local TV stations on an Ag Canada report that stated that farmers were going to be eating rainbow stew as farm incomes are projected to be higher in Canada for the next 5-10 years.  You can find the segment with my interview here

I tried to temper the analysis by stating that these are aggregate numbers and individual returns may vary while demand is increasing due to structural changes such as population growth that farmers in SK have little control over (at least in a global sense).  A conversation with a former colleague at Illinois also got me thinking that the farmland market in Saskatchewan is not nearly as crazy as the one in the Corn Belt.   The economist in me thinks that something has going to happen if farm incomes continue to increase.  I think ultimately, even with greater production risk in the Prairies, costs for land (both opportunity and real) and increased energy and input costs will likely erode some of the projected gains in farm incomes.

Spring Break

It is the second day of spring break here at the University of Saskatchewan.  It is noticeably quieter in the Agriculture building as both students and faculty have found something else to do (or at least somewhere else to do it).

A colleague of mine said in passing last week that he did not understand why students needed a break.  I think this colleague was implying that school work isn’t backbreaking work and therefore students should be able to push through a 13 week semester.  That comment and this article from Inc. got me thinking.  Why do we only give students a couple of days off per semester?  Any why do universities dictate when it is acceptable for students to take days off?

This may be a bit tangential, but could the example of unlimited vacation days apply to a pedagogical framework of no due dates?  I’m nowhere near the professor yet to be able to pull this off, but I wonder if one day I will hand out all the assignments that I will use to assess the student’s knowledge at the beginning of the course, and their job is to hand it back to me before the end of the semester.  There certainly is something to be said for coursework management in terms of grading assignments and exams, but this article got me thinking…

The goal of this blog

This is my first attempt at blogging.  I see this blog as a forum for me to post items related to my role as an agricultural economist at the University of Saskatchewan.  As with most things, it is a work in progress.  In the tabs section of the site you can find links to my published articles, working papers and the like.  I will also post information relating to academic courses I have taught or am currently teaching.

Actual posts will vary.  During conference season, I might post on interesting papers or the on the sights and sounds of the host cities.