Agricultural Consulting

Production agriculture is a unique and complex sector of the U.S. economy that faces a wide array of economic and financial challenges. The vagaries inherent in weather, crop yields and commodity markets, government policies, and global markets create volatility. Macroeconomic conditions and geopolitical events are also a major influence. The major shift in the role of Government initiated by new programs under the Agricultural Act of 2014 (such as the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) programs) presents further challenges in effectively managing production and financial risks.

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Expertise includes:

  • Provide sound advice and critical evaluation of policies that affect farmers, processors, traders, retailers, and consumers.
  • Evaluate credit availability and use for production agriculture.
  • Examine the trade-offs among alternative risk management strategies.
  • Identify asset portfolio strengths and vulnerabilities, particularly in the case of farmland.
  • Develop robust, statistically sound forecast models for all components of the agricultural economy including capital acquisition, production inputs, non-commodity based sources of farm earnings, and others.

As a recognized expert on the farm economy, Mitch has published more than 150 research articles and provided numerous presentations and briefings to Congress, academia, agricultural lenders, farm advocacy groups, and many others.

Data Analytics

There is a story embedded in all data “big” or “small.” Extraction of relevant information for use by decision makers comes out by the use of proper tools by a skilled analyst. Modeling and managing complex data arising in information-rich and knowledge-intensive next-generation information systems requires context. Complex data are distinguished by several and diverse formats: spatial data, hierarchical data, multidimensional data, transactional data, and others. Understanding how these data characteristics intersect with purpose is essential to creating useful interpretations.

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Expertise provided includes:

  • Design and implement databases, dimensional models, and data warehousing strategies.
  • Evaluate the appropriate methods and tools for data analysis in specific organizational contexts.
  • Transform large data sets into actionable information in an easy-to-understand format to support organizational decision making through the use of advanced analytical tools.
  • Create a collaborative, cloud-based platform for sustained analysis and reporting.

Mitch has a wealth of experience and knowledge in visualizing and understanding large, complex data sets, including the successful redesign and modernization of USDA’s farm income and wealth estimation and forecast system.

Applied Open Science

Reproducibility is the hallmark of scientific integrity. The ability to replicate a research outcome or experimental result is dependent on devotion to good scientific practice, the choice of statistical methods for study design and analysis, and availability of data used. Different types of scientific research are innately easier or harder to reproduce. A variety of tools have emerged that provide a platform for making methods and analyses more transparent, reproducible and sharable. For example, environments exist for publishing computer source code and portals for sharing and storing data. The standards for dissemination of confidential microdata are demanding, but can be met with increasing availability of secure information technologies and producer commitment. Enabling others to replicate studies published across all areas of science also requires changes in the way scientists submit research to peer review journals, the review process, and in some instances how science is funded.

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Expertise provided includes:

  • Workshops on applied open science research methods.
  • Consultation on the design and implementation of confidential data access and warehousing.
  • Evaluation of collaborative, cloud-based research environments.

Mitch spearheaded efforts to create formal review council and quality standards for evaluating the Economic Research Service data products, which has become a best practices model for other federal statistical agencies.

Policy and Economic Consulting

Economics touches many aspects of everyday life through changes in demand, supply shifts, price volatility, and competitive dynamics. Understanding and quantifying the financial and economic circumstances arising from the intersection of government policies and today’s complex global marketplace is essential to prosperity. Developing economic impact predictions involves creating and using sophisticated mathematical and statistical models. Success also is dependent on strong knowledge and interest in economic policy and ability to conceptualize new policy and economic arguments for that policy. Areas of emphasis include matters such as finance, fiscal and monetary policy, international trade, agricultural and natural resource commodities, and labor and industrial markets.

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  • Deliver thorough studies and presentations that address client needs.
  • Evaluate the economic impact of alternative policy prescriptions.
  • Environmental policy analysis, regulatory development support, and program evaluation.
  • Provide cost/benefit analysis of varying policy scenarios.

With more than 30 years of experience conducting economic analysis and research, Mitch is uniquely qualified to help individuals and organizations make sound decisions, improve competitiveness, and support innovation in a challenging environment.

Survey Design and Statistical Advice

High quality data is essential for high impact research. A survey is an investigative technique for collecting information from a select population that utilizes questionnaires or interviews. Developing the questionnaire is just one part of the survey process. Surveys also involve the proper identification of populations for inclusion, cognitive instrument testing, determining delivery methods, ensuring validity, and analyzing the precision of results. Statistical inference has a key role in both the collection and analysis of data. Areas of Expertise include: Linear Models and Regression, Time Series Analysis, Multivariate Statistics, Categorical Data Analysis, and Data Mining. Statistical Software employed include: R, SAS, Excel, ArcGIS, SPSS, and many others.

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Services include:

  • Data collection and analysis support.
  • Guidance on the acquisition and assessment of administrative data.
  • Applied statistics and econometrics.
  • Independent advice on statistical software products.

Mitch was one of the key architects of USDA’s Agricultural Resource Management Survey; a unique, complex, and highly successful economic survey that has monitored the health of farming for more than 30 years.