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Call for Papers: Improving Statistics for Food Security, Sustainable Agriculture,and Rural Development. Linking statistics with decision making. Technical Session 5: Measuring Contract Farming. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 23-25 October 2013
Author Session organized by James MacDonald, USDA/ERS (

Contract farming is an important and growing phenomenon. The term refers to pre-harvest arrangements between farmers and buyers that specify quality attributes, outlets, and delivery windows for products and compensation formulas for farmers. Contract farming provides challenges for existing statistical systems. Commodity price data may not be observed if farmers are paid for the services that they provide rather than for products. Even when farmers are paid for products, meaningful price data must also convey information on product attributes. Contractor-provided inputs may not be tracked in statistical systems.

Papers should address the methodological challenges posed for statistical systems by contract farming. What statistics need to be collected on contract farming, and with what frequency? Does contract farming change the universe of entities that ought to be surveyed, and how should statisticians respond to that challenge? Do contract systems change the timing between production and payments, and do statistical systems need to take account of that change? How should samples be designed? Can data systems rely on random samples of contract producers, or must they also cover contractors? Does contract farming alter the methods by which we should collect production and price information? How should we measure the economic performance of contract farming systems, and what do we know about their relative performance?

For further information, please contact the session organizer.