The majority of farms in Georgia are classified as small farms which are characterized by low profitability due to high production costs. The Agricultural Economics Program at FVSU conducts research on the economic and social development of small, limited resource, minority, women, new and beginning farmers in Georgia. Research projects include: value addition through labeling, economics of organic farming, estimating the marketing potential of meat goats and demand for goat meat, food safety and food security issues, and childhood obesity. Interdisciplinary research on cost and benefit analyses of innovative research findings are also being conducted.
Developing and understanding structural elements and consumer preferences for organic fruits and vegetables and nontraditional agricultural products has been a focus of our recent research work. This effort will identify structural problems that exist in various markets and enhance producer and consumer decision making relative to revenue and food choices.
The practice and study of food safety is experiencing a shift from Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) System to Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) and traceability. HACCP has been the primary response to food safety in the U.S. for many years and was mainly confined to the processing period, whereas COOL and traceability meet the new demand for surveillances and control over food safety along the whole food supply chain. The shift from HACCP to COOL challenged all agents and researchers by bringing about an extensive collection of food safety information and changes in the way information should be handled. FVSU research focuses on information aimed at choices to be made within the framework of COOL and Farm-to-Fork analyses. The results will have significant implications for development of food safety policies.