Dr. Emma C. Stephens

Image Emma C. Stephens
Research Scientist

Bio-economist at the Lethbridge Research and Development Centre. 

Current research and/or projects

  • Identifying gaps in agricultural systems analysis and food security outcomes
  • Quanitfying the value of beneficial insects in Prairie crops
  • Using machine learning methods to assess climate mitigation strategies in agriculture
  • Carbon capture in root crops
  • Economist for Quebec and Ontario Living Labs 

Recent publications

McCallum, B.D., Geddes, C.M., Chatterton, S., Peng, G., Carisse, O., Turkington, T.K., Olfert, O., Leeson, J., Sharpe, S., Stephens, E., Hervet, V., Aboukhaddour, R., & Vankosky, M. (2021). We stand on guard for thee: A brief history of pest surveillance on the Canadian Prairies.

Crop Protection vol. 149 105748. DOI:10.1016/j.cropro.2021.105748.

 

Kroebel, R., Stephens, E. C., Gorzelak, M., Thivierge, M-N., Akhter, F., Nyiraneza, J., Singer, S., Geddes, C. M., Glenn, A., Devillers, N., Alemu, A., St. Luce, M., & Giardetti, D. (2021). Making farming more sustainable by helping farmers to decide rather than telling them what to do. Environmental Resource Letters, vol. 16(5) 055033. DOI:10.1088/1748-9326/abef30.

 

Stephens, E. C. (2021). ASAS-NANP SYMPOSIUM: Review of systems thinking concepts and their potential value in animal science research, Journal of Animal Science, vol. 99(2), pages 1-7. DOI:10.1093/jas/skab021.

 

Nicholson, C. F., Stephens, E. C., Jones, A. D., Kopainsky, B., Parsons, D., Garrett, J. (2021).  Food security outcomes in agricultural systems models: Current status and recommended improvements. Agricultural Systems, 188(103028). DOI: 10.1016/j.agsy.2020.103028.

 

Nicholson, C. F., Stephens, E. C., Kopainsky, B., Thornton, P., K., Jones, A. D., Parsons, D., Garrett, J. (2021). Food security outcomes in agricultural systems models: Case examples and priority information needs. Agricultural Systems, 188(103030). DOI:10.1016/j.agsy.2020.103030.

 

Nicholson, C. F., Kopainsky, B., Stephens, E. C., Parsons, D., Jones, A. D., Garrett, J. & Phillips, E. L. (2020). Conceptual frameworks linking agriculture and food security. Nature Food, vol. 1, pages 541-551. DOI:10.1038/s43016-020-00142-3

 

Stephens, E. C. (2018). Food Shortages: The Role and Limitations of Markets in Resolving Food Crises During the 2012 Famine in the Sahel. In J. Brewer, N. Fromer & F. Trentmann, (Eds.), Scales of Scarcity in the Modern World, 1800-2075. New York: Bloomsbury Publishing

Research and/or project statements

  • Estimating and characterizing economic factors in agro-ecosystems
  • Improved joint modeling of agricultural systems and food security
  • Supporting inclusion of economic forces into agro-ecosystem resilience research

Professional activities / interests

  • bio-economic modeling
  • econometric analysis
  • food security and food sovereignty
  • agricultural commodity market analysis

Education and awards

  • Ph.D. Economics, Cornell University, 2007
  • B.Sc. Physics, McGill University, 1996

International experience and/or work

  • Dissertation research in Kenya (2005-2007)
  • Peace Corps Volunteer, Cameroon (1996-1999)

Key publications

  1. Charles F. Nicholson, Emma C. Stephens, Birgit Kopainsky, Philip K. Thornton, Andrew D. Jones, David Parsons, James Garrett,
    Food security outcomes in agricultural systems models: Case examples and priority information needs,
    Agricultural Systems,
    Volume 188,
    2021,
    103030,
    ISSN 0308-521X,
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agsy.2020.103030.
    (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308521X2030891X)
    Abstract: Analyses of food security with agricultural systems models often focus on indicators of food availability, with limited treatment of the other three dimensions: food access, stability and utilization. We illustrate how three indicators of access (food consumption expenditures, a food insecurity scale and dietary diversity) and their stability can be incorporated into a dynamic household-level model of a maize-based production system in the Kenya highlands and a dynamic regional model of sheep production and marketing in Mexico. Although stylized due to limits on empirical evidence, the analyses suggest that inclusion of multiple access indicators can provide insights because the indicators respond differently to production shocks, demand growth and programs providing production subsidies. We also illustrate how to examine stability of food security outcomes in response to shocks using metrics of hardness (ability to withstand shocks) and elasticity (ability to return to previous conditions). The data required for more widespread empirical implementation of these methods include measurement—preferably at frequent intervals over time—of food access indicators, but also their determinants and linkages to outcomes in agricultural systems models. Analyses of food access and stability will be most valuable for assessments of food security impacts of climate change, when food systems are undergoing transformative change and to identify priority interventions and target audiences.
    Keywords: Food security; Agricultural systems models; Food access; Stability

    2021 - View publication details

  2. Emma C Stephens, ASAS-NANP SYMPOSIUM: Review of systems thinking concepts and their potential value in animal science research, Journal of Animal Science, Volume 99, Issue 2, February 2021, skab021, https://doi.org/10.1093/jas/skab021

    2021 - View publication details

  3. Snow, V., Stephens, E.C., Martin, G., van Wijk, M., Timsina, J., Klerkx, L. (2021). Agricultural Systems Editors' Picks for World Soil Day 2020, 187 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.agsy.2020.103006

    2021 - View publication details

  4. Nicholson, C.F., Kopainsky, B., Stephens, E.C., Parsons, D., Jones, A.D., Garrett, J. & Phillips, E.L. (2020). Conceptual frameworks linking agriculture and food security. Nature Food, Vol. 1 (September), pages 541-551. https://doi.org/10.1038/s43016-020-00142-3

    2020 - View publication details

Research facility

5403 1st Avenue South
Lethbridge, AB T1J 4B1
Canada

Affiliations

  • Economics Editor, Agricultural Systems
  • Professor of Economics, Pitzer College (California)

Language

English
French