Dr. Ernest E. Davis: Lifetime Acievement Award

Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, August 2002 | Go to article overview
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Dr. Ernest E. Davis: Lifetime Acievement Award


Dr. Ernest E. Davis, Regents Fellow, professor, and extension economist-livestock marketing, Texas Cooperative Extension, Texas A&M University System, has maintained an innovative and highly visible extension education effort in livestock marketing for the past 29 years. Dr. Davis is extremely well respected for his knowledge of the livestock industry, not only within Texas, but also in the southern region and nationally.

James G. Butler, newly appointed deputy undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs, U.S. Department of Agriculture, wrote in a recent letter, "I have the utmost respect for [Dr. Davis's] work and contributions to the livestock industry.... His opinion is frequently sought and quoted by livestock industry leaders. ... He is one of the best extension and academic professionals that I have been associated with."

John Dudley, President of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers' Association (TSCRA), states, "Members of the TSCRA have relied for years on Dr. Ernest E. Davis for reliable and valuable analyses and forecasts." Mr. Dudley goes on to add, "As a regular speaker at TSCRA meetings, [Dr. Davis's] remarks are eagerly anticipated."

Ernie Davis has provided national leadership in livestock market situation and outlook. He is frequently invited to present beef cattle market outlook at multistate regional and national meetings. He has made numerous presentations at the Southern Regional Outlook Conference in Atlanta, the Midwestern, Great Plains, and Western States Outlook Conferences, and the Annual Conference of the American Agricultural Economics Association (AAEA). In 1993, Dr. Davis became the president of the Western Livestock Marketing Information Project's (WLMIP) technical advisory committee. One of the first things he did was to change the WLMIP to the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC) to make it a national center for the development of information regarding livestock marketing outlook. The center's membership, under Dr. Davis's leadership, has since grown to 23 states, 1 Canadian province, and 7 national livestock organizations.

Dr. Davis's understanding and knowledge of the agricultural futures and options markets and the potential of these markets for reducing the risk associated with the livestock industry is well known. He spent 8 years encouraging the Chicago Merchantile Exchange (CME) to develop a stocker calf contract so U.S. cowcalf operators would have an efficient risk management tool to hedge their price risk. On November 30, 1998, the CME started trading the stocker calf contract that Dr. Davis helped them design. He and the past president of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, John Lacey, were invited to Chicago to ring the bell for the start of trading for the new contract.

One of the most significant contributions of Dr. Davis's career was the design and development of a computerized market for feeder cattle, called CATTLEX. With a $675,000 grant from the Agricultural Marketing Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the involvement of a select group of cow-calf producers, stocker cattle operators, feedlot managers, cooperative managers, and veterinarians, Dr. Davis and his coworker, Dr. Tom Sporleder, developed the trading techniques and operating procedures for the computer market. This computer market for feeder cattle was successfully conducted for 15 months with daily auction sales and forward contract sales. The system was demonstrated to livestock industry officials from 42 states and four countries. Although CATTLEX is no longer in operation, today's satellite auctions and beef cattle sales on the Internet use essentially the same description and trading procedures developed for the CATTLEX system.

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