Students join the M.S. program from a variety of undergraduate majors. In the program, they have the opportunity to work on wide-ranging research topics and take classes which suit their unique interests. Students have recently researched: hay supply in the U.S. Midwest, Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards, and Middle Eastern agricultural productivity. Learn more about the M.S. program here.
Meet two recent M.S. graduates:
Sarah Rehkamp joined the M.S. program after receiving a B.A. in Economics from Augsburg College.
For her thesis, Sarah examined the environmental and health costs of the U.S. diet compared to French, Japanese, Mediterranean, and Nordic diets. She first estimated the environmental costs of each diet by determining carbon dioxide emissions. Next, the health costs were determined by finding the association of body mass index (BMI) with each of the five representative countries. Finally, she assessed the costs using estimates of the social cost of carbon per ton and the health cost associated with an increase in BMI.
Results suggest that the U.S. diet is more environmentally costly than the Japanese and Mediterranean diets and less environmentally costly compared to the French and Nordic diets. All four alternative diets result in reduced BMI and, therefore, reduced health costs compared to the U.S.
Sarah presented her research at the Western Agricultural Economics Association annual meeting. She also co-authored three related Cornhusker Economics articles.
In addition to her research, Sarah served as the treasurer for the Agricultural Economics Graduate Student Association. She also participated in the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association case study competition.
For her research work and outstanding coursework, Sarah was named the Department's Outstanding M.S. Student.
Sarah is currently an agricultural economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service Food Markets Branch.
Read Sarah's Thesis: The Environmental and Health Costs of Alternative Diets: A Comparative Study of the U.S. Diet Relative to the French, Japanese, Mediterranean, and Nordic Diets
Calvin ShaneyfeltCalvin Shaneyfelt joined the M.S. program from Tulane University, where he obtained a B.S. in Environmental Biology.
For this thesis research, Calvin used 30 years of data from the Upper Republican Natural Resource District to estimate how climate conditions affect the use of irrigation water.
Results show that increased heat, measured in cooling degree-days, correlates with increased water use, while increased precipitation correlates with decreased water use. However, the effects are generally magnified for later summer months, and are lower at the beginning and end of the growing season - with a few exceptions. These results are critical for understanding how climate change will affect the availability and use of water resources in the future.
Calvin presented his research at the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association annual meeting. He also participated in the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association case study competition.
For his research work, Calvin was awarded the J.B. Hassler Research Citation which is awarded to the Department's most outstanding research by a graduate student.
Calvin is currently working at Sandia National Laboratories on a project which deals with how climate change is expected to impact the Ogallala aquifer in Nebraska and Kansas.