Monday, May 08, 2006

43 Amber Waves; The economics of food, farming, natural resources, and rural America

Although I recognize it's being published at my expense, I enjoy seeing a handsome, well-designed magazine such as Amber Waves. The Premier issue is dated February 2003, and it is available on-line.

Keystone of arched entry to USDA's Whitten Building, Washington, D.C.

I loved working in the Agriculture Library at Ohio State. It's now called something else--maybe the third name change since I worked there in the late 70s. When I was there it was food (both plant and animal) and natural resources and forestry. I was the agricultural economics bibliographer for three and a half years, paid by the U.S. Department of State on special contract to establish an agricultural credit and technology file (ACTS), mostly from third world countries, and to assist the ag econ faculty. It was truly a dream job--great people to work with, wonderful students, publishing and teaching opportunities, half time with the summers off, and for some reason, working half time gave me a full year's credit in the retirement system.

But enough about me. Susan E. Offutt, the ERS administrator writes in the first issue that Amber Waves consolidates three venerable ERS periodicals into one weblinked publication, providing a platform for serving its long time audience and a way to reach new readers (the on-line version reached me, although I don't remember how). One of the previous titles was Food Review. Its purpose is to relate ERS research to current events--and today's readers want information in smaller bites and conveniently packaged. (I'm thinking old time journalists must feel like old time Lutherans trying out contemporary songs a worship, thinking, will this never end?)

The first issue contains feature articles on rural America, household food security (that means access to food, not safety), the importance and regulation of clean water, and farm subsidies (now called Production Flexibility Contracts or PFCs). Smaller sections of well-designed graphs update the reader with material from Agricultural Outlook in Indicators. Findings contains one page articles on current research. Gleanings is a section of short abstracts about research, meetings, and new publications. Profiles features photos and bios of ERS employees.

Amber Waves; the economics of food, farming, natural resources, and rural America.
February 2003, Premier Issue, Volume 1, Issue 1.
ISSN: 1545-8741 Online ISSN: 1545-875X [supplied]
Subject: United States Agriculture
Publication schedule: 5 times a year, February, April, June, September and November
United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service
1800 M St., NW
Washington, DC 20036-5831
The Internet edition includes links to web-only resources.
Sheila Sandaran, Executive Editor
Susan E. Offutt, Administrator, Economic Research Service, USDA

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