Chris Thompson is a research economist in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Department of Agricultural Economics and has been with the department for three years.
- Bachelors Degree, Stephen F. Austin State University, Agribusiness, 2005
- Masters Degree, Utah State University, Applied Economics, 2007.
- Ph.D. University of Nebraska, Natural Resources, 2007-present.
Examples of Current Research:
My research interests focus on the ability to apply solid, pragmatic, economic research to Nebraska’s water issues. My research is centered on one main project, the “Water Optimizer” which is the portrayal of a crop water response production function which has been incorporated into a computerized net return calculator for farm and policy decision making concerning optimal water use when agriculture producers are faced with limited water supplies. Developed by UNL’s Derrel Martin and Ray Supalla, Water Optimizer has evolved to allow our group to investigate multiple economic questions regarding Nebraska’s water supplies. My responsibilities include maintenance, construction, expansion, and use and interpretation of Water Optimizer.
Using Water Optimizer has led me to investigate complementary areas of research, such as cap and trade as a groundwater management tool, cropping pattern risk analysis and weather derivatives.
My cap and trade research consists of developing a new multi-field version of Water Optimizer, and using it to analyze the feasibility of trading irrigation water in Nebraska. Results have shown that allowing trading of water will increase economic gains for producers and will also reduce costs of reducing consumptive use when compared to scenarios that do not allow trading.
My risk analysis research is also complementary to Water Optimizer. This research uses Water Optimizer and rainfall patterns to analyze risk concerning producer choices about cropping patterns when faced with limited water. In many areas of Nebraska, when faced with limited supplies, deficit irrigation becomes the economic optimum. However, some producers view this as a risky choice if rainfall is lacking. Preliminary analysis shows that it involves about the same amount of downside risks; other cropping patterns will not take advantage of above average rainfall as deficit irrigation will. Thus, leaving potential net return gains from excess rainfall unrealized.
Weather derivatives are another research area. Weather derivatives incorporate financial, economic, and meteorological research. A Weather Derivative is an insurance product between two parties with an agreed on premium payout structure, based on specific rainfall events in a certain location, during a specific time period. This research is directed towards investigating the potential use of weather derivatives for Nebraska agriculture producers. This project includes aspects such as assessing the amount of real monetary risk, determining a fair premium price and comparing the cost of this form of insurance to other insurance methods available.
Examples of Past Research:
My master’s level research was centered on developing a methodology to properly evaluate the feasibility of controlling invasive Saltcedar. Developing this methodology included analyzing plant biology, eradication methods (cost and efficacy), and evapo-transpiration savings.
- Supalla, R.J. and C.L. Thompson. “Economics of Groundwater Management Alternative in the Republican Basin.” U.S. Society for Irrigation and Drainage Professionals, Proceedings Paper, September 28-29, 2010. Ft. Collins, Colorado.
- Thompson, C.L., R.J. Supalla and D. L. Martin. “Evidence Supporting Cap and Trade as a Groundwater Policy Option for Reducing Irrigation Consumptive Use.” Journal of the American Water Resource Association, 45:6, December 2009.
- Thompson, C.L., R. J. Supalla, D. L. Martin, B. J. Neely and B. P. McMullen. “Weather Derivatives as a Potential Risk Management Tool for Irrigators.” Proceedings, 2009 AWRA Summer Specialty Conference, Snowbird, Utah, June, 2009.
- Thompson, C. and R. Supalla. “Summary Report: North Platte River Area Survey Statistics, North Platte Decree Committee” NDNR Task Order #12, NDNR Contract # 343. November 15, 2009.
- Thompson, C. “Treatment of Saltcedar (Tamarix spp.): Economics and Feasibility” Master Thesis. Utah State University, 2008.