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The FSRG supports and conducts research on emerging issues regarding the economic performance of U.S. and global food and agricultural markets. Our research objectives include:

  1. Evaluate and measure the impacts to producers and retailers of the emerging contract-based food economy.
  2. Evaluate the role of spatial markets for food retailing and commodity procurement.
  3. Measure the competitive organization and performance of food markets and industries in the U.S. agricultural production and marketing system.
  4. Examine the factors that affect the organization and coordination of agricultural industries and markets, including new technology, economies of size, mergers, and firm strategic behavior.
  5. Assess the impact of government policies and regulations, especially competition policies and agricultural trade policies, on the organization and performance of the global food system.
  6. Research on economic methodologies useful for carrying out the above objectives.

History of the FSRG

The FSRG was created in 1976 under North Central regional research project 117. Under the astute leadership of Emeritus Professors Bruce Marion and Willard (Fritz) Mueller, the FSRG was the operational headquarters of this productive long-term regional project, which involved a national cadre of land-grant college and government agency economists working on issues related to organization and control of the U.S. food system. USDA Special Grant funding, first received in the late 1970's and continuing to date, allowed the FSRG to expand its scope by hiring permanent staff and providing salary and other support for visiting scholars. An outstanding corps of graduate research assistants was recruited to multiply the productivity of FSRG faculty affiliates. Many of these students went on to become leading scholars in applied industrial organization.

The FSRG has had a major impact on public policy relating to competition in the U.S. food sector. Rigorous studies of the effect of concentration in food retailing, food processing, and producer-first handler markets have been used extensively in shaping and implementing competition policy. The special grant funding for the FSRG has been critical in maintaining the Group's reputation for unbiased research. The FSRG conducted/underwritten research resulting 10 books and 63 journal publications along with a popular monograph and working paper series. Ed Jesse was Interim Director from 1998-2001. Kyle Stiegert assumed the directorship in the summer of 2001.