The 21st century ushered in a new era of prosperity for global agriculture. Coupled with lean commodity supplies, strong demand for food, fiber and energy led to historically high profits for many agricultural enterprises. Robust profit opportunities were fleeting, however, as the global recession trimmed demand for agricultural products. As global economies emerge from recession, the volatility in agricultural profits remains elevated. The response of agricultural producers to potentially larger but more volatile profit opportunities could reshape the global structure of agricultural production. In turn, these changes could alter the agricultural supply chain and the institutions financing agricultural investments.

The 2010 Agricultural Symposium brought together banking and business leaders, government officials and academia to explore the forces shaping the profitability and structure of the agricultural marketplace in the 21st century.

External LinkConference Summary in the Main Street Economist
PDFComplete Publication of Agricultural Symposium Papers and Remarks

Welcome and Introduction

ALAN BARKEMA, Senior Vice President and Director of Research, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

Session 1: Agricultural Profitability in the 21st Century

This session explored the influence of market fundamentals and policy on agricultural prosperity in the 21st century. Speakers discussed the global supply and demand fundamentals driving the revenues and costs for both crop and livestock producers. The speakers also described how changes in financial markets and government policies affect agricultural profits.

J.B. PENN, Chief Economist, Deere & Company
JORGE CARRERA, Deputy General Manager, Central Bank of Argentina 

Session 2: Reshaping Global Agricultural Production

This session discussed how the structure of global agricultural production could change with shifting market fundamentals. An industry panel talked about the global restructuring in the crop and livestock sectors. Discussions focused on how shifts in the location and structure of global agricultural production are altering the business strategies used to compete in the 21st century.

JAMES MACDONALD, Chief of the Agricultural Structure and Productivity Branch, USDA  

WESLEY BATISTA, President and Chief Executive Officer, JBS Swift & Company
JAMES BOREL, Executive Vice President, DuPont

Dinner Keynote

THOMAS HOENIG, President and Chief Executive Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City 

Session 3: Evolving Agricultural Supply Chains

This session discussed the evolution of agricultural supply chains due to changes in the profitability and structure of agriculture. Discussions focused on how structural changes in agricultural enterprises affect the structure and business strategies of agricultural service industries. The speaker and industry panelists addressed implications for farm input suppliers, wholesalers, distributors, and retailers.

WILLIAM WILSON, Distinguished Professor, North Dakota State University  

PATRICK KLUEMPKE, Executive Vice President, CHS Inc.
WILLIAM LAPP, President and Founder, Advanced Economic Solutions

Session 4: Meeting the Financial Needs of Global Agriculture

This session discussed how the agricultural finance system will evolve to meet the financial needs of global agriculture. The speaker described how the changes in global agriculture affect agricultural financing and reshape the structure and business strategies of international agricultural finance institutions. Panelists addressed how these changes affect global financial institutions, community banks, and government sponsored enterprises. 

MICHAEL SWANSON, Agricultural Economist and Consultant, Wells Fargo  

C.G. HOLTHUS, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer Cornerstone Bank, York, Nebraska
DALE TORPEY, President and Chief Executive Officer, Federation Bank, Washington, Iowa
DOUGLAS STARK, President and Chief Executive Officer, Farm Credit Services of America
TONY ARTHUR, Head of Agribusiness, BNZ Partners, Bank of New Zealand

Closing Address: The Agricultural Marketplace in the 21st Century

A conference rapporteur summarized the highlights of the conference and discuss the future of agriculture in the 21st century. 

MICHAEL BOEHLJE, Distinguished Professor, Purdue University