Mississippi State University
Mississippi State University Libraries

Need help?

Live chat

Chat Hours

Call or stop by

Reference Desk:
(662) 325-7667

Desk Hours   Location

MSU Faculty Authors

Author

Dr. Little is an associate professor of agricultural economics at Mississippi State University. He received a B.S. degree from New Mexico State University in 1982, a M.S. degree from the University of Illinois in 1985, and a Ph.D. degree from Oklahoma State University in 1990. Little has 18 articles and abstracts published in professional journals and he has presented 25 papers at professional conferences.

His family includes his wife, Dulcy, and six children, Jonathon, Christi, Benjamin, Micah, Anna Lea, and Jesse.


Economics: Applications to Agriculture and Agribusiness

Little, Randall D.
Publisher: Interstate publishers, Inc.
4th Edition,1997
ISBN: 0813429498

Why study economics? There must be more to it than just another hurdle to clear on the way to a college degree, right? Well, there is. And the potential benefits of a fundamental understanding of economic theory accrue at different levels.

On a personal level, we can apply much of what we gain from microeconomic theory every day. For example, we can use rules based on economic theory to guide the decisions we make about how we spend our time. Does the utility (satisfaction) exceed the opportunity costs (benefits foregone from activities we chose not to do) when we spend an afternoon playing golf instead of studying for our upcoming agricultural economics test? Economic theory provides a framework, an approach, for making time management decisions.

Decisions concerning resource allocation influence the success of a business. Every firm is interested in finding the best way to utilize its scarce resources. Our primary focus in this text is on applying microeconomic principles to firms involved in production agriculture - farms and ranches - and other firms in the agribusiness sector.

We also need a fundamental understanding of how the economy, as a whole, functions and how it is influenced by developments internationally. Aspects of macroeconomic theory help us understand these linkages and interrelationships, both between various sectors of the domestic economy and between our economy and other economies in the world market. Recent political changes around the world have created opportunities that are challenging and difficult, yet exciting. Economic laws and principles will play an important role in the development arising out of those changes.

The agribusiness sector is a mainstay in the U.S. economy. However, the structure of this sector has changed dramatically over time - and at all levels. It is hoped that we will gain a better understanding of the changes that have occurred and the effects of those changes on the key players in the agribusiness sector: input suppliers, producers, processors, wholesalers, retailers, etc.

The fourth edition of Economics: Applications to Agriculture and Agribusiness is a much-needed updating by Dr. Randall D. Little of a work nurtured through three prior editions over a period of 25 years by its original authors, the late Dr. Ewell P. Roy and Drs. Floyd L. Corty and Gene D. Sullivan. The goal of this book is to serve as a basic text in a beginning economics course, but it can be used by anyone interested in the application of economic principles to agriculture and agribusiness. The book explains the role of agriculture in the general economy, as well as recognized changes in technology, institutions, and policies that have altered the structures of farming and agribusiness in recent decades.

Economic problems unique to agriculture and agribusiness are discussed in common terms, and economic terminology is introduced to help students and others develop a familiarity with, and an appreciation for, economic theory and economic institutions. The book should help readers, through increased understanding, to make more intelligent economic appraisals, evaluations, and decisions.

Part One introduces the subjects of agricultural economics and agribusiness, provides a brief history of U.S. agriculture, and discusses the several economic systems and types of business organizations. It describes the U.S. monetary system and provides a macro-profile of the nation's economy.

Part Two is oriented toward the human, natural, and capital resources available in agriculture and discusses the principal characteristics associated with U.S. farming operations.

Part Three is devoted to the explanation of economic concepts and principles. Among these are comparative advantage, production functions, diminishing marginal returns, costs, returns, optimum output levels, supply, demand, price elasticity, equilibrium price, cobweb theorem, price cycles, perfect competition, imperfect competition, and monopoly.

Part Four is oriented more toward agribusiness and includes a discussion of the farm supply business, marketing, consumption of food and fiber, and farm policies.

Part Five deals with the history, organization, and functions of the Federal Reserve System; input-output functions; principles of agribusiness management; international trade; and economic development.

Both the original authors and the revising author made every effort to produce a book that is readable and applied, yet thought-provoking and stimulating. Suggestions and comments from users are always welcome.