The Laboratory of Agricultural Management is a social science laboratory. Our research draws on theories of economics and management as sources of analytical methods for focusing on the social and economic aspects of agriculture. We deal with a very broad range of themes, from management problems faced by individual farmers to global food problems.
If you look at the main research areas following the flow of agribusiness goods, as shown in the following diagram, you can see the relevant problems that exist: difficulty procuring production factors (land, capital, labor, and information) in agricultural management, the issue of efficient agricultural production, the idea of improving agricultural management, the problem of marketing of agribusiness goods -- including trade of agricultural products, the problem of processing agricultural products, the idea of replacing home-made meals with meals from food-service industries, and the issue of food consumption. Moreover, there are the questions about the effect of agriculture on the natural environment, agricultural credit and finance, the involvement of JA (Japan Agricultural Cooperatives) in virtually all agribusiness sectors, and the resolution of agricultural and food policies.
In this laboratory, students determine what they are interested in pursuing as subjects of study and they personally go forward with their own research. As the name indicates, agricultural economics and farm management are applied sciences putting theories of economics and management into the field of agriculture. Thus, both economics and management can be tools used to develop various research topics. Since Associate Professor Shibagaki is quite adept at supporting this student-led style of research, students can confidently pursue their chosen topics. In fact, he focuses his own research on agricultural credit as well as researching the activities of the JA.
Since social and economic phenomena are the subjects in this laboratory, we cannot perform physical experiments like other laboratories. Instead, we carry out surveys, using tools like interviews and questionnaires. In addition to survey results, we also study subjects by analyzing documents and applying the tools of statistics.
A JA Farmer’s Market(farm stand)
A center for daily living services is one of the JA’s elder welfare activities.