2011 Course Schedule
Wk 01 — 01/19 - Course Introduction
Synopsis: Today in class we will introduce the course and this website where you will find all the materials and information you need to be successful in this course. We will take the time for everyone to introduce themselves
Wk 02 — 01/26 - World Population, Migration, Food and Environment
Synopsis: World population estimates now are much lower than "The Population Bomb" idea of 1968 previously thought. With fewer people being born and living longer, many countries are facing a workforce crisis as population structures get top-heavy with retirees, and not enough young people to replace them. The environmental impact of an expected 3 billion extra people in the world will depend on human behavior, not in the numbers.
- What factors contributed to the reduction in world population estimates from 12 billions down to 9 billions by year 2050?
- What were the breakthroughs that contributed to double life expectancy in the 20th century?
- Predict at least two consequences of the fact that population growth in no longer a global issue, but rather a regional issue, with rapidly increasing population in some parts of the world and declining population in others.
- The “A Greener Globe, May be” article argues that urbanization may help the environment. Explain the pluses and the minuses of having more people living in urban areas on the “global environment".
- Have you heard of "sustainable development"? What does "sustainable development" mean to you?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of letting “young” people from “poor” countries emigrate to “older and richer” countries to fill in the increasing gap in the labor force?
- What are the alternatives?
Wk 03 — 02/02 - Environmental Impacts of Human Consumption and Populations
Synopsis: Americans are big consumers and we really like to eat meat. Along with other developed countries we (Americans) consume the world's resources at unsustainable rates. Developing countries are fast following in our footsteps, but the world cannot sustain human populations if everyone consumes materials like we do. How do we make sure that the expected 3 billion extra people by 2050 can live on the planet's resources too?
Optional Materials: Environmental Cost of transporting food around the world.
Wk 04 — 02/09 - Changing Global Food Demands — "The Livestock Revolution"
Synopsis: With increasing "middle class" population (i.e., number of people with higher incomes an living standards) in developing countries, there is greater consumer demand for meat and milk products. In many developing regions, national production does not currently meet national demand for meat and milk. This discrepancy provides a livelihood opportunity for the rural poor in developing countries. The term coined by international experts of the World Food Organization (FAO) as the Livestock Revolution refers to the potential (if governmental policies are set correctly) to alleviate rural poverty and foster strong rural economies in developing countries, by helping small holders (poor farmers) to serve their own national market for meat and milk.
Readings and Resource Materials: Meating and Milking Global Demand: Stakes for Small-Scale Farmers in Developing Countries | Practice QuizFood for Thought:
- What are the three main factors that drive the increase in milk and meat consumption currently observed in developing countries?
- Analyze and draw two of your own conclusions from the data presented in Table 2.
- After reading the article, imagine that you are an agricultural policy adviser to the President of the United States. What advice would you give the president for the U.S. to take advantage of the world growth in the dairy sector?
Wk 05 — 02/16 - Livestock Around the World: Livestock Revolution "at the ground level"
Synopsis: Livestock agriculture is very diverse between developed and developing countries. In many regions, livestock have different roles on farms and contribute more to the livelihood of the farmers - especially resource poor farms - than just a source for meat and milk products.Reading Materials: The Livestock Revolution: An opportunity for Poor Farmers? | Global Facts About Livestock Data Table from a recent FAO publication | Practice Quiz
Power Points: Small Market-Oriented Production of Milk in Kenya (a 2.0 MB pps file) | Description of Mrs Wambui's farm (a one page doc) | Matching Animal Genetics with local Feed Resources (a 0.5 MB pps file)
Videos: Unheard Voices — Small-holder Dairy in Kenya. A film by The Mediae Company for the Smallholder Dairy Project and Action Aid Kenya.
Optional Reading Materials: Animal Herders of 23 Lands Meet and Swap Stories | Discussion
Optional Presentations: Roles and Contributions of Livestock in Developing Nations (a 5.5 MB pps file) | Chinese Agriculture and Dairy Industry
- What are some of the differences that may explain why livestock are generally less productive (lower milk yield, lower growth rate, etc.) in developing countries than in developed countries?
- Given what we have discussed so far in class, use your own words to define what is a "resource-poor farmer".
- Earlier in class we have discussed the three pillars of "sustainable development": economic aspects, social aspects and environmental aspects. Given what we have discussed so far in this class, provide one example of how Livestock contribute to each of the three pillars of sustainable development.
Wk 06 — 02/23 - The Global Trade Game
Synopsis: Free trade does not necessarily mean trade that is equal and fair. More often than not international trade benefits corporate agribusiness, which receives billions in taxpayer subsidies over small farmers, and guarantees continuing poverty and a harvest of bitterness among third-world farmers.Readings and Resource Materials:
Readings: Trade Game Story | Practice Quiz
Audio: "Life and Debt": Jamaica, Now and Then | "Life and Debt": The Story of the Dairy Industry | "Life and Debt": The Story of the Banana Industry (optional) | "Life and Debt": Life as a Tourist - What will You Eat? (optional).
Food for Thought:
- Explain the resentment that exists among farmers in poor countries towards U.S farmers and agribusiness? Is this justify or not?
- What is the WTO? What does it do?
- What is the IMF? What does it do?
- Free trade versus fair trade? If not fair, what's the problem? What would you do to fix the inequalities in international trade?
Wk 09 — 03/23 - US - Mexico Trade: The Corn Stories
Synopsis: Like in many other developing countries entering global trade, there have been definite winners and losers in the opening of Mexico's economy, especially under NAFTA, or the North American Free Trade Agreement (between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada). At the same time Mexico sees an increase in market opportunities, it also faces environmental degradation, a loss of biological genetic diversity, and a rise in economic and food insecurity among its people.
Readings and Resource Materials: Mexico Rises (3.6 MB) | Why Mexico's Small Corn Farmers Go Hungry | Science and Culture Clash in a Mexican Staple: Corn | Practice Quiz
Optional Materials: U.S.-Mexico Corn Trade During the NAFTA Era: New Twists to an Old Story | Summary
Food for Thought:
- What are some of the major factors that have contributed to the “rise” of Mexico according to Dale McDonald, the author of the article?
- The article compares the Old (street markets) to the New (The “Gigante” grocery chain). What does the “New” provides to customers over the “Old”?
- Using the information presented in the article (or your best educated guess), describe a “typical customer” of (a) the street market, (b) the Gigante grocery stores and (c) the Café des Artistes in Puerto Vallarta?
- List at least three barriers that prevent the small resource-poor farmers to move ahead and improve their conditions.
- What is the "immigration fix" proposed by Tina Rosenberg?
- Why did the discovery of genetically modified corn set off such an uproar in Mexico? What does this story tell us about the U.S. - México relations?
- Explain why the most important cause of the loss of genetic diversity to maize varieties in México is the loss of people from the Mexican countryside.
Wk 10 — 03/30 - Introduction to Immigration Issues
Synopsis: One result of NAFTA is an increase in immigration between Mexico and the U.S. But not all Mexican immigrants coming to the U.S. are equal and not all of them are poor. Demographic and economic changes in Mexico in the early 1990s encouraged Mexican migration to the United States. However, future demographic and economic shifts - an aging population reaching retirement age and a growing economy meaning more jobs available domestically - are likely to stem some of the numbers of emigrants in the long run.
Optional Audio: Listen to PBS' Jim Lehrer "Mexico's President goes North of the Border" Broadcasted Friday Feb 15, 2008.
Food for Thought:
- Why did the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers decided to raid the Postville Meat Plant?
- What are the contradictions / implications associated with the United States decision to build a 700 miles border fence?
- Why was Mr. Bermudez, ("Mr. Tomato!"), disqualified from running for office three years ago?
- Why would the couple from Milwaukee bother traveling to Mexico for a local election?
- Should Méxican immigrant who sent "large" remittances to their Mexican community back home, have the right to vote and (or to run for office?
- What are two consequences of the predicted decrease in Mexican immigration to the US in the next decade?
- What should we do about the six million Mexican living illegally in the United States?
- What do you think (illegal) immigrant "really" want when they cross the border to come in the United States?
Wk 11 — 04/06 — Stories of Mexican Immigrant Workers on Dairy farms
Synopsis: The U.S. agricultural industry relies heavily on immigrant labor for everything from picking produce to milking cows. Dairy producers and Latino workers have formed an interdependent relationship; at the same time they need each other, they sometimes have a hard time "understanding" each other.
Optional Materials: What should we know about cultural norms? | Economic Impact of Migrant Workers on Wisconsin's Economy | Also, you may read (optional) the contrasting perspectives from an un-mediated Talk Forum postings from KXnet.com, Minot, ND, in the days following the Sandhills Dairy raid.
Food for Thought:
- Manufacturers of certain goods (e.g., clothing or electronics) can move their manufacturing operations from one country to another fairly easily where ever low wages and local regulations allow them to compete on a global scale - Why then shouldn't a farmer who cannot easily move her operation to another country, be allowed to "import" cheap labor from other countries?
- Although the article indicates that Felipe and Benicio have been on Mike Anderson's farm for more than three years, it describes employees with little loyalties and employers with no qualm "stealing" employees from other employers. Provide as many reasons as you can identify (as indicated in the text or outside of the text) to explain the lack of trust between employers and employees as described in this article.
- How would you characterize the variety attitudes of Hispanic workers as described in this article?
- Imagine you are the editor of the magazine and you decide to change the title of the article because no one will know what a "Bracero" is anyway. After reading the article and thinking about carefully, give it a new title and explain your choice in a short paragraph (2-3 sentences maximum).
Wk 12 — 04/13 - Mexico's Dairy Industry — U.S. Perspectives
Synopsis: There is a large disparity between Mexico's national milk consumption and production; Mexico's dairy industry cannot supply consumer demand for milk. Through NAFTA, the U.S. dairy industry has been able to take advantage of this and export a large share of milk products to Mexico, mostly in the form of non-fat dry milk.
Readings and Resource Materials: NAFTA background handout | Mexico's Dairy Industry Under NAFTA | A study of the Mexican Dairy Sector (please read pages 7 & 8: the executive summary only) | The Dairy Industries of Mexico, Central America, Argentina and Brazil | Practice Quiz
Optional Materials: USDA"s Foreign Agricultural Services North America Free Trade Agreement- Agricultural Fact sheet (January 2008) highly recommended | Will Mexcio become self-sufficient? | USDA report on the Changes in the U.S. Dairy Sector 1991-2002
Food for Thought:
- For which of the following two products, fluid milk or cheese, is the U.S. share of the Mexican market the lowest ? Explain.
- The dairy product imported in greatest amount in Mexico is NFDM (non-fat dry milk), which is used to reconstitution into fluid milk for sale to low income at subsidized price. Yet, the executive summary, indicates also that self-sufficiency for NFDM increased considerably as importations as a proportion of amount consumed dropped from 91% in 1994 to 44% in 2001. Do you think that the importation of NFDM by Mexican processing companies help or hurt the Mexican dairy industry? (Note: the answer is not in the reading, venture a guess, we will discuss this in class!)
- It is estimated that Mexico’s dairy farmers produces 75% of the country’s milk requirements. The situation in Mexico is such that we could potentially argue that we could have a “livestock revolution” in which milk production may be a way to help alleviate rural poverty while fulfilling a national need. What would it take for the small resource-poor dairy producers of Mexico to benefit from this potential market? (Again, the answer is not in the reading, but you need to think about some of the earlier discussions we had to find elements of responses to this question.)
- In the U.S. we often assume that consumers buy the cheapest possible foods. Can you explain why in the Mexico City market, U.S. fluid milk and ice creams are priced 42 and 60% over the same products of Mexican origin? (The answer to this question is “kind a” buried within other points of the executive summary, take a good guess. Again, we will discuss this in class).
Wk 13 — 04/20 - Mexico's Dairy Industry — Dairy as an Opportunity for Small-holders
Synopsis: Even as Mexico's dairy industry is changing and evolving along a similar path as the U.S., towards larger and more specialized dairy farms with higher production capabilities, Mexico's agriculture industry is still dominated by diversified smallholders and subsistence farmers. Livestock and the way they contribute to a farm's livelihood depends on the farming system in which the farm belongs.
Readings and Resource Materials: The Contribution of Livestock to Small Holder Livelihood: The Situation in Mexico | San Felipe Slide Show - Other Species | Alculco Slide Show - Dairy | Practice Quiz
Optional Materials: Mexican Dairy Industry in Pictorial Review of Dairy Systems
Food for Thought:
- Use Google to search a definition and learn about “Ejido”. You can use any of the following key words: “land tenure Mexico” or “ejido land tenure”. Provide a definition of \"ejido\" in the form of a citation (i.e., provide the url (website address) and the “author” or “authority” for the definition.
- Results of the project described in the article indicated that small holders in the ejido of San Cristóbal have incorporated dairy production into their farming system (see Table 7.3 and page 109-110). In contrast, smallholders in both sites of San Felipe del Progreso have not adopted dairy production to the same extent (see Table 7.1; Table 7.2, and pages 105-106). What are some of the reasons for this difference according to the authors?
- How do the authors describe the economic (and other) benefits of dairy production for the small holders in the ejido of San Cristóbal and in San Felipe del Progreso?
Wk 14 — 04/27 - Mexico's Dairy Industry — Trends, Challenges and Sustainability
Synopsis: Mexico's dairy industry is characterized by three main dairy production systems: dual-purpose, familial, and specialized. Because each system has its own characteristics as well as being regionally diverse, Mexico lacks a national dairy policy and industry structure.Readings and Resource Materials:
Readings: Mexican Dairy Production and Support System: A National Perspective (Translated from "Lechería Familiar Factores de Exito Para el Negocio. Escoto et al., 2001) | Contrast and Challenges of the Mexican Dairy Industry, an Hoard's Dairyman article | Practice Quiz
Presentation: Jenny Blazek: Survey of Mexican Dairy Farmers
Wk 15 — 05/04 - Last Day of Class Review and Wrap-Up
Synopsis: Today in class we will conduct a review of the semester to help you prepare for your final take-home assignment. In class we will conduct a follow-up survey to the one you answered at the start of the semester. The take-home final will be distributed in class.
Readings and Resource Materials: Review session: Please Class Review Assignment (DO NOT drop the completed assignment in the drop box but rather use BLOG 13 to share with the class at least ONE CONNECTION YOU CAN MAKE FROM TOPICS COVERED IN DIFFERENT WEEKS OF THE CLASS (preferably, but not exclusively the material covered in the latter part of the semester) by Wed. May 4, 1:00 pm). This assignment was designed to help review class material and prepare for the final take home exam. you will share your thoughts with the class. Note that this assignment will be graded and will count toward your take-home final grade.