The agricultural economy, both in the U.S. and internationally, continues to adjust to the sharp drop in commodity prices and profit margins from those of just a few years ago. The reduction in prices and profits has led farm producers, agribusinesses, and agricultural lenders to consider fundamental changes to their business models to maintain competitiveness, improve efficiency, and position their businesses for long-term growth. These decisions, however, require a pragmatic recognition of a new commodity price landscape, resulting in strategic realignments and consolidation across the agricultural sector.
The 2017 Agricultural Symposium, “Agricultural Consolidation: Causes and the Path Forward” explored the underlying drivers of consolidation in the industry and potential implications for businesses, consumers, and rural communities. The first day of the Symposium discussed the factors driving consolidation in food and agricultural production and the economic implications of consolidation. The second day of the Symposium discussed the implications for agricultural lending institutions and the role of policy in addressing agricultural consolidation.
Session 1: Drivers of Agricultural Consolidation
- Michael Langemeier, Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University | Presentation | Economic Review Article
- Michael Boland, Professor and Director, The Food Industry Center, University of Minnesota
Session 2: Economic Trade-offs of Agricultural Consolidation
- Richard Sexton, Professor, Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California-Davis | Presentation | Economic Review Article
- Jeff Dorfman, Professor, Agricultural and Applied Economics, University of Georgia
- Mike Frank, Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, Monsanto
- Bob Young, Chief Economist, American Farm Bureau
Session 3: Financing a Changing Rural Landscape
- Allen Featherstone, Department Head and Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, Kansas State University | Presentation | Economic Review Article
- Damona Doye, Rainbolt Chair of Agricultural Finance, Department of Agricultural Economics, Oklahoma State University
- Rob Keil, Senior Director of Credit Administration, Dacotah Bank
- Shawn Smeins, Senior Vice President and General Manager. Rabo AgriFinance
- Senator Pat Roberts, Chairman, United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry
Session 4: Policy Responses
This session discussed how domestic or international policies might respond to consolidation in the agricultural sector and the key factors that these policies need to consider.
- James MacDonald, Structure, Technology and Productivity Branch Chief , U.S. Department of Agriculture | Presentation | Economic Review Article
- James Richardson, Regents Professor of Agricultural Economics and Co-Director of the Agricultural and Food Policy Center, Texas A&M University
- James Rhilinger, Deputy Assistant Director, Mergers II Division, Federal Trade Commission
- Kip Tom, Managing Member, Tom Farms
Lunch and Closing Economic Outlook
- Esther George, President and Chief Executive Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City