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, emphasizing the following major areas.
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.
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.
Ornamental horticulture economics (since 2003) – develop economic impact models, estimate impacts of mechanization and horticulture programs, and evaluate selected cultivars' consumer preferences.
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.
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 $16 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 the following natural disasters and economic events to support the applications for federal disaster assistance for the affected Gulf states:
- Devastating Hurricane Katrina in August 2005,
- Prolonged opening of the freshwater spillway in the summer of 2011
- Massive Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010,
- Twice openings of the Bonnet Carre Spillway in 2019,
- Covid-19 global pandemic started in Marh 2020,
- The rapid increase in diesel fuel prices in 2022.