Student Spotlight: Hajar and Angie

Oct. 20, 2020

Agricultural & Resource Economics students attend annual conference


The Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics supported Hajar Falouhi and Angie Plank in attending the Agribusiness & Water Council’s (ABWC) Annual Meeting & Water Conference which was held virtually on Wednesday, September 16, 2020.  We asked both students to provide an overview of their experience and below is what they shared.

Hajar Falouhi:

I am a junior, majoring in Agribusiness Economics and Management and minoring in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. I have an affinity for economics and am deeply driven to conserve the scarce resources of the earth and this is why I wanted to attend the Annual Agribusiness & Water Council Conference.

I enjoyed this conference immensely; I think that all the speakers brought novel information to the conference all the while not deviating from the Covid-19 pandemic. The personal experiences relayed through the conference, elevated my understanding of the economic, administrative, and social sectors of agribusiness which will aid me in formulating my own response. I urge other AREC students to attend the Annual Meeting & Water Conference because it will broaden their perspectives on water disputes, agriculture management, consumer and supplier behaviors, and a multitude of other topics that are applicable to the major. It is also an opportunity for networking, studying the different agents in agribusiness, and to satiate your curiosity.

The speaker panel culminated with Dr. Shane Burgess and I believe that his account on the implications of COVID-19 on the consumer and that fear is the conduit for their behavior is spot on. An unwarranted surge in the purchase of certain supplies, overrun hospitals, and reluctance to trust the vaccine point to this fear factor.  On the supplier level, a swift transition to the digital marketplace will assuage the fear of consumers and facilitate their post-COVID-19 financial recovery. Lastly, I think that Dr. Burgess’ conjecture on the future economic activity being a rapid V-shaped recovery, by early 2021 really struck me as plausible.

Angie Plank:

The ABWC Annual Meeting & Water Conference had numerous speakers that talked about water and agricultural resources specifically during this time with a pandemic affecting everything.  With all the speakers presenting, David Puglia's presentation interested me the most. He is the CEO of Western Growers, he talked about fresh produce and how COVID affected the produce. When the March economic shutdown millions and millions of pounds of produce were stranded and not used. They were left behind in the ground or on the trucks that were heading to the distribution centers. Around a billion dollars a week was lost in the economy at the start of the shutdown and now it has been several months, it is more like a million dollars. All farmers were hit hard, and congress passed the CARES act to help farmers. There is still a gap in economic relief for farmers, which is around 250 million dollars. Massive farmers have lost a lot during this time, losing about $750,000. With COVID, the agriculture industry had to adapt and transition to help protect their workers and still be able to produce food.

With David Puglia and other presenters talking about their experiences how COVID affected agriculture and the economy and being able to hear what the government was doing to help was fascinating to hear. I recommend any AREC student interested in water and agriculture should attend this event. You will learn so much about how real-life situations, like how COVID can affect our economy and resources.


Images provided by Hajar & Angie.