Assessing the Benefits of Virginia Tech Agricultural Programs:  Studies in Feeder Cattle Certification and Small Grains Breeding

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Virginia Tech


This thesis consists of two research papers, each of which studies the benefits from a different College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) program. These analyses provide necessary information to allocate resources efficiently among programs.

The first paper studies the Virginia Quality Assured feeder cattle certification program and its effects on feeder cattle prices and profitability. No significant effect on price from VQA certification is found. However, enterprise budgets indicate that VQA cattle allow higher farm profits due to their lower sale weight, which allows for faster turnover and lower prices.

The second paper studies the benefits to producers from wheat and barley breeding conducted by Virginia Tech researchers. Variety trial data are combined with acreage estimates constructed from royalty data to estimate gains from replacement of old varieties with new ones. The study finds that the program generated benefits to producers of over $119 million between 2000 and 2018.



impact assessment, feeder cattle, certification, plant breeding, small grains