75th Anniversary Symposium of the Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics

May 3, 2006
UC Davis Activities and Recreation Center

The 75th Giannini Foundation Anniversary Symposium was held on the Davis campus on May 3, 2006. The event memorializes A. P. Giannini’s early affiliation with agriculture, his generous gift to the University in support of California agriculture and rural areas in a period of difficult economic times (the early years of the Great Depression), accomplishments of the Foundation over the past 75 years in meeting the changing needs of this dynamic and ever changing sector of the California economy, and an examination of challenges and issues deserving the attention of the University while moving forward through the 21st Century. Speakers include some of our esteemed faculty and alumni, friends of the Foundation in California's private and public sectors, and Emeritus State Historian of California Kevin Starr. Commissioned papers and discussant comments will be published for general audiences.


The Event: An All-Day Symposium

9:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. Registration and Coffee

10:00 a.m. Welcome/Introduction to Seminar:

  • W. R. (Reg) Gomes, UC Vice President, Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • David Zilberman, Director, Giannini Foundation

Session I: Giannini – A Retrospective

Chair: Neal Van Alfen, Dean, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of California, Davis

10:10 a.m. - 10:40 a.m. "A. P. Giannini, His Legacy to California Agriculture"

  • Alex F. McCalla and Warren E. Johnston, Professors Emeriti of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California, Davis

10:40 a.m. -11:10 a.m. "The Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics: Origins and Changing Focus Over Time"

  • Warren E. Johnston, Grace Dote, Retired Head Librarian, Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics, University of California, Berkeley, and Alex F. McCalla

11:10 a.m. -11:50 a.m. Round Table – "A Retrospective on A. P. Giannini and the Giannini Foundation"

  • Chair: Cornelius (Corny) Gallagher, Senior Vice President, Bank of America
  • A. W. (Tom) Clausen, Retired CEO, Bank of America
  • Ken Farrell, Emeritus . C Vice President, Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • Duncan Knowles, Retired Historian, Bank of America
  • Len Richardson, Editor, California Farmer
  • Henry Schacht, Retired San Francisco Chronicle Columnist

12:00 p.m. - 1:15 p.m. Lunch – Speakers:

  • Chair: Rick Maya, Senior Vice-President, Bank of America
  • Kevin Starr, Professor of History, University of Southern California; Emeritus State Historian of California

Session II: Giannini – The Contributions of the Giannini Foundation to the Changing Context of California Agriculture

Chair: Jeffrey M. Perloff, Chair, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California, Berkeley

* Historical Note: The purpose of "The Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics" was set forth in a letter from the Bancitaly Corporation to the Regents of the University of California (UC) in a letter dated February 10, 1928.

"The activities of the FOUNDATION shall be embraced by the great field of Agricultural Economics, and relate to such subjects as:

  1. The economic consequences of increased production which result from improved seed grains, improved nursery stock, improved livestock, improved machinery, and improved methods of farming;
  2. The economic consequences of overproduction arising from unusually favored seasons or unusually unfavorable seasons as to weather and other conditions in producing nations;
  3. The relations between conditions existing in the farming industry and the general economic conditions prevailing in the nation and internationally;
  4. The acquiring of such knowledge concerning soil qualities and climatic and other conditions in any or all parts of the State of California, and of such knowledge concerning existing or prospective supply and demand conditions for the various agricultural products of the State, as will enable the appropriate representatives of the FOUNDATION to advise the farmers of California as to wise plantings, sowings, breeding, etc., in relation to areas and kinds;
  5. The methods and problems of disposing of farm products on terms or conditions giving maximum degree of satisfactions to producers;
  6. Any economic questions which concern the individual farmer and the members of his family, and affect their living conditions, and so on. However it should be understood that the activities of the FOUNDATION are to be regarded as chiefly:
    1. Those of research, with purpose to find the facts and conditions which will promise or threaten to affect the economic status of California agriculturalists: and
    2. Those of formulating ways and means of enabling the agriculturalists of California to profit from the existence of favorable facts and conditions, and/or protect themselves as well as possible from adverse facts and conditions.

This Session assesses how well the Foundation met its charges. There are three dominant themes in the six items (a-f):

Theme I: "The Supply Side of California Agriculture." Item (a) consequences of productivity growth; (b) consequences of shocks, plus and minus - variability; (c) advise on choices of products and volume of production.

1:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Paper One: "The Giannini Foundation and California Production Agriculture"

  • Lead Author: Daniel Sumner, Frank H. Buck Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California, Davis

Theme II: "Profitable Marketing of California Production." Item (e) methods and problems in disposing of products profitably.

2:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. Paper Two: "The Giannini Foundation and Marketing California Farm Products"

  • Lead Author: Julian M. Alston, Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California, Davis

Theme III: "California Farmers in a Global Context." Items (c) national and international impacts; (f) facts and conditions which impact agriculturalists and help them design policies and programs that manage external events (positive) good markets, policy, and marketing structure (negative), e.g., environmental constraints—pesticides, water, and air quality; waste disposal; and resource competition for land and water.

2:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Paper Three: "The Giannini Foundation and the Welfare of California Agriculturalists in a Changing State, Nation, and World"

  • Lead Author: Gordon C. Rausser, Robert Gordon Sproul Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California, Berkeley

3:00 p.m. - 3:20 p.m. Coffee

3:20 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Alumni Discussants

  • Chair: C. Richard Shumway, Professor, School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University
  • Bruce Babcock, Director of CARD, Iowa State University
  • Nicole Ballenger, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, University of Wyoming
  • Richard E. Just, Distinguished University Professor, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Maryland
  • Peter Thor, President, Bellissimo Foods, Walnut Creek

Session III: The Giannini Foundation – Challenges in the Next 75 Years

4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. The panelists will present five-minute statements on the context and challenges for California agriculture in the future from various perspectives, and then engage in a spirited wrap-up discussion. The session ends with Giannini Foundation response.

Panel Chair: Dan M. Dooley, Chair, President’s DANR Advisory Committee, Dooley & Herrs LLP, Visalia

  1. Public Policy and Government: A. G. Kawamura, Secretary, California Department of Food and Agriculture
  2. Research and Development: University-Changing Roles—Public versus Private Investment: Alan B. Bennett, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, University of California, Davis
  3. Financing California Commodity Production: Vernon M. Crowder, Senior Vice President, Bank of America, Fresno
  4. Resource Competition and Environmental Constraints: Thomas J. (Tom) Graff, Regional Director, Environmental Defense
  5. Marketing and Value-Added Products: Karen Caplan, President and CEO, Frieda’s, Inc., Los Angeles
  6. Labor and Migration: Philip L. Martin, Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California, Davis

5:35 p.m. - 5:50 p.m. Implications for Giannini Foundation

  • Richard J. Sexton, Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California, Davis