Agricultural production has expanded dramatically during the past two decades due, in large part, to innovative and opportunistic solutions to challenges large and small. Technological advancements in agriculture reflect a problem-solving mindset as innovation has alleviated pressure points or expanded opportunities. As in the past, agricultural enterprises continue to require innovative solutions to new and existing problems. At the same time, however, many businesses have also been facing intensifying labor shortages that have inhibited existing operations and growth. Help wanted signs abound – not just to work in agriculture – but, more broadly, to solve problems and advance the industry.

The 2022 Agricultural Symposium, “Help Wanted in Agriculture” will explore the role of labor in determining the long-term outlook for agriculture and related businesses, how policies will shape that outlook, and the potential for structural change. On the first day of the symposium, speakers will discuss how issues connected to labor will affect long-term agricultural production prospects and efficient supply chains. On the second day of the symposium, speakers will discuss how existing and emerging policies affect the decisions of agricultural businesses, and how the structure of the industry may evolve in the future alongside changes in workforce trends.

Agricultural Symposium Presentations and Materials


May 23, 2022

12:00 p.m. 1:00 p.m.

Lunch Available

1:00 p.m. 1:30 p.m.

Welcome and Opening Remarks

Nate Kauffman
Vice President, Economist and Omaha Branch Executive, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City
1:30 p.m. 3:00 p.m.

Session 1: Farm Labor

This session will examine the outlook for farm labor in the years ahead and how agricultural workforce developments might affect future challenges and opportunities related to agricultural production.

Diane Thronson
Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics, Montana State University
Shari Rogge-Fidler
President and Chief Executive Officer, Farm Foundation
Jeff Lakner
CEO, Lakner Farms, LLC
A.G. Kawamura
Founding Co-Chair, Solutions From the Land
Cortney Cowley
Senior Economist, Regional Research, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City
3:30 p.m. 5:00 p.m.

Session 2: Labor in the Ag Supply Chain

This session will discuss the outlook for labor among businesses connected to agricultural production and the significance of labor in maintaining efficient supply chains.

Tim Richards
Morrison Chair of Agribusiness, W.P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University
Julie Anna Potts
President and CEO, North American Meat Institute
Brent Emch
Project Manager, Cargill Incorporated
Tonn Ostergard
CEO and Chairman, Crete Carrier Corporation
Francisco Scott
Economist, Economic Research, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City
5:00 p.m. 6:00 p.m.


6:00 p.m. 7:30 p.m.

Dinner and Keynote Address

Esther L. George
President and Chief Executive Officer

May 24, 2022

7:30 a.m. 8:30 a.m.

Breakfast Available

8:30 a.m. 10:00 a.m.

Session 3: The Role of Policy

In this session, speakers will discuss how policies related to labor are affecting the hiring and investment decisions of farm businesses and those in the ag supply chain.

Daniel Costa
Director of Immigration Law and Policy Research, Economic Policy Institute
Chuck Conner
President and Chief Executive Officer, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives
Kristi Boswell
Agriculture Policy Counsel, Alston & Bird LLP
Alison Krebs
Director, Dairy and Trade Policy, Leprino Foods Company
Ty Kreitman
Assistant Economist, Regional Affairs, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City
10:30 a.m. 12:00 p.m.

Session 4: Labor and Structural Change

In this session, speakers will explore how developments associated with labor and employment in agriculture might affect the structure of the agricultural sector and related businesses in the years ahead.

Veronica Nigh
Senior Economist, American Farm Bureau Federation
Jim Heneghan
Senior Vice President, Gro Intelligence
Kurt Coffey
Vice President of North America, Case IH
Deacue Fields
Dean and Senior Associate Vice President for Agriculture-Academic Programs, Bumpers College, University of Arkansas
Todd Kuethe
Visiting Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, and Associate Professor, Purdue University
12:00 p.m. 12:15 p.m.

Closing Comments

Nate Kauffman
Vice President, Economist and Omaha Branch Executive, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City
12:15 p.m. 1:00 p.m.

Lunch Available