Horticulture and Marine Economics

Since 1990, Dr. Benedict C. Posadas has consistently developed and maintained the Mississippi State University, Coastal Research and Extension Center’s Horticulture and Marine Economics (HME) Program with an emphasis on the following major areas. 
  1. Marine fisheries economics (since 1990) – develop economic impact models, estimate contributions of the seafood industry by major seafood species, and monitor selected seafood species' dockside, wholesale, and retail prices.
  2. Marine aquaculture economics (since 1994) – develop budgets, evaluate the viability of selected aquaculture innovations, predict annual production and farmgate values, and monitor selected cultured species' farmgate, wholesale, and retail prices.
  3. Ornamental horticulture economics (since 2003) – develop economic impact models, estimate impacts of mechanization and horticulture programs, and evaluate selected cultivars' consumer preferences.
  4. Economics of natural and technological disasters (since 2005 after Hurricane Katrina) – develop damage assessment economic models and measure economic impacts of coastal and economic disasters.
  5. Seafood marketing (since 2010 after the Deepwater oil spill) – conduct marketing outreach to promote local seafood products.
The choice of the HME focus areas was motivated by the information needs of the coastal communities and residents, marine, horticultural and coastal-related industries, business establishments and organizations, and state and federal regulatory agencies. The state and federal funding initiatives' specific mandates dictated some of the HME programming efforts' directions. During the past three decades, the MSU-CREC's HME Program was made possible by additional extramural funding from state and federal agencies totaling more than five million dollars.
The long-term collaborative research and extension work with other economists, biologists, engineers, horticulturists, food scientists, geographers, lawyers, and media and information technologists from state and federal agencies, other universities, and other states were very stimulating and productive. Most importantly, I have been fortunate to collaborate as a co-PI with other CREC faculty, which jointly enabled us to raise over $10 million in external research funding.


The timely conduct of applied economic research on horticultural, marine, and coastal-related issues was the key to the successful HME outreach program. For example, state and federal regulatory agencies sought expertise in economic damage assessment in the marine sectors after Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 and the prolonged opening of the freshwater spillway in summer 2011 to support the applications for federal disaster assistance for the affected Gulf states.

These agencies requested the same damage assessment expertise after the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010. Between April 2010 and July 2014, I served in the Technical Working Group (TWG) on Human Use Impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill upon request of state regulatory agencies. The TWG was mandated by federal law to conduct a damage assessment of the natural resources affected by the oil spill.

Recently, I was asked by federal and state aquaculture and fisheries agencies to assist in their current programming efforts. In response to my recent videos, the NOAA Aquaculture Program (NOAA-AP) communicated with me regarding the issues involved in conducting a national study to determine the productive capacity of the oyster farming industry before farmed oyster prices will start to decline. I shared with NOAA-AP recent Mississippi MarketMaker Newsletter issues dealing with the U.S. oyster market and the rising oyster farming industry

During a recent meeting with the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MS-DMR), they cited the need to develop socio-economic profiles of Mississippi commercial shrimpers. These tools are crucial in determining the most desirable options to assist fishers facing falling dockside prices and rising fuel prices. Previous works on Mississippi marine fisheries are posted on the MSU-CREC website and are readily available for MS-DMR leadership and staff. The updated estimates of the economic contributions of the Mississippi seafood industry by major species are crucial information in managing the state marine fisheries sector. 

Results of applied HME research were presented at producer meetings, scientific conferences, and industry workshops. The internet and social media networks played a vital complementary function in extension programming in horticulture and marine-related issues. In response to recent natural and man-made disasters (2019 Bonnet Carre spillway openings and recent hurricanes) and the Covid-19 global pandemic, I created and posted several YouTube videos showing the assessments of the economic impacts on the marine and seafood industries in the state, region, and beyond. These assessments provided marine organizations with the information needed by legislative representations to support requests for federal disaster assistance.

The Horticulture and Marine Economics Outreach Program is summarized at http://coastal.msstate.edu/outreach-goals. Results of HME applied research are disseminated to various clientele groups via the internet and social media networks.

The Mississippi MarketMaker Online Newsletters dealing with horticulture, marine, and coastal topics have been published on the MSU Extension website since 2011. The monthly issues of the Mississippi MarketMaker Online Newsletters are posted at http://extension.msstate.edu/newsletters/mississippi-marketmaker.  Each monthly newsletter is shared with Mississippi MarketMaker Blog, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

The Horticulture and Marine Economics Outreach, consisting of virtual presentations, is available at https://www.youtube.com/user/bposadas. Each virtual presentation contains empirical data on relevant horticultural, marine, and coastal topics. These virtual presentations are shared especially with project collaborators or clientele groups to solicit their comments on the research results. Each virtual presentation is shared with the HME Blog, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.