2012 Agricultural Symposium

January 5, 2015

Agriculture is notorious for its cycles of boom and bust. Past farm booms quickly faded as economic and financial market conditions changed. Today, farm incomes are swelling because of record high exports and strong demand for biofuels. At the same time, with historically low interest rates, farmland values reached record highs.

Although these current conditions mirror the past, farmers have hesitated to take on debt in financing new investments, raising the possibility that this time could be different. The 2012 Agricultural Symposium will reflect on agriculture’s past, explore its future, and assess whether agriculture can escape its historical cycles of boom and bust.

The Main Street Economist article, “Is This Farm Boom Different?”, explores the foundations of the current and past farm booms.

The Economic Review article, “Agriculture’s Boom-Bust Cycles: Is This Time Different?”, provides a more in-depth examination of agriculture’s boom-bust cycles, including a look at the 1940s when export demand was sustained and debt accumulation was limited.

2012 Agricultural Symposium agenda

Monday, July 16, 2012  
12:30 - 1:15 p.m. Registration
1:15 - 1:30 p.m. Welcome
1:30 - 2:15 p.m. Keynote Address: Reflections of the Past
  The keynote speaker will reflect on agriculture’s past and explore the market and policy drivers of previous farm cycles and the implications for today.
  Ambassador Clayton Yeutter
Former U.S. Trade Representative and Secretary of Agriculture
2:15 - 3:30 p.m. Session 1: When do Farm Booms Become Bubbles?
  This session will explore the fundamental drivers of farmland value booms.
A speaker will describe current farmland market conditions.
In addition the speaker will examine the characteristics of asset value booms,
define asset bubbles and explore their occurrences in various real estate markets, including farmland.
  When Do Farm Booms Become Bubbles? Presentation | Paper
  Speaker: Brent Gloy, Director for Commercial Agriculture, Purdue University
3:30 - 5 p.m. Session 2: What Lies Beyond the Horizon for Farm Income?
  This session will investigate the prospects for sustained farm prosperity.
A speaker and discussant will explore the economic and financial market conditions
that drive future farm profits. The speaker will describe the market forces shaping today's lofty expectations for farm profits. The speaker and discussant will also explore
the key risks to agricultural supply and demand projections that could alter agriculture's profit expectations.

What Lies Beyond the Horizon for Farm Income? Presentation | Paper
  Speaker: William Hudson, Principal and Founding Partner, The Pro-Exporter Network
  What Lies Beyond The Horizon For Farm Incomes: The Case For Volatility With An Upward Bias
  Discussant: Sterling Liddell, Vice President, Rabobank
5 - 6:30 p.m. Reception
6:30 - 8 p.m. Dinner and Speaker: Macroeconomics and Farmland Values
  Esther George, President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City
July 17, 2012  
7:30 - 8 a.m. Continental Breakfast
8- 9:30 a.m. Session 3: Who Leveraged the Farm?

This session will examine the relationship between farm debt, leverage and farmland values.
A speaker and panel of agricultural lenders will explore debt accumulation and leverage in
agricultural markets. The speaker will investigate the historical patterns of farm debt and leverage and the potential risks associated with debt accumulation in the future. A panel of financial lenders will discuss current trends in debt accumulation and the risks building in farmland markets.

  Who Leveraged the Farm? Presentation | Paper
  Speaker: Allen Featherstone, Professor, Kansas State University

Industry Panel: Edward Cooper, Senior Vice President, Wells Fargo Bank
  Don Reynolds, CEO, Regional Missouri Bank
  Daryl Oldvader, CEO, FCS Financial
10 - 11: 30 a.m. Session 4: Who Bought the Farm?
  This closing panel will discuss the future for farmland values and structure of farmland ownership. A diverse panel of farmland managers, lenders and investors will describe U.S. and international farmland market conditions and consider future prospects for farmland values. The panelists will explore the factors driving the ownership of farmland in the 21st century.
  Who Bought The Farm?
  Jim Farrell, President and CEO, Farmers National Company
  Chris Erickson, Managing Director, HighQuest Partners
  Tim Hopper, Managing Director, Global Private Markets, TIAA-CREF
11: 30 a.m. - 1 p.m. Luncheon and Symposium Rapporteur
  A conference rapporteur will summarize the highlights of the conference and discuss whether this farm boom is different from agriculture's historical boom and bust cycles.
  Is This Boom Different? Presentation | Paper
  Michael Boehlje, Distinguished Professor, Purdue University

The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City's Commitment to Agricultural and Rural Research

With the heavy concentration of agriculture across the Great Plains, research on agricultural enterprises and rural economic issues has been a long-standing area of expertise for our Bank. Economists publish a wide variety of research and analysis on agricultural and rural issues.

  • The Main Street Economist
    This bi-monthly electronic newsletter provides analysis on economic opportunities and challenges facing agricultural sectors and rural areas in the Tenth District and throughout the nation.
  • Survey of Agricultural Credit Conditions 
    The Bank’s quarterly survey of agricultural bankers provides current indicators of the financial performance of Tenth District agriculture. The accumulated results also help trace longer term trends. Survey results summarize several indicators of farm financial conditions, including farmland values, interest rates on farm loans, credit supply and demand, and farm income.
  • Agricultural Finance Databook 
    The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City oversees this quarterly compilation of national and regional agricultural finance data. Each release includes national data on term lending to farmers, quarterly Call Report data on national agricultural lending and agricultural bank failures, and data on agricultural land values and credit conditions from quarterly Federal Reserve Bank surveys. A publication summarizing the data is also produced. 
  • Economic Review 
    The Economic Review is a quarterly research publication with articles by Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City staff on issues of relevance to the Federal Reserve. Areas of focus include macroeconomics and monetary policy, agricultural and rural economic issues, regional and international economics, banking, financial markets and payments systems.
  • TEN Magazine
    This quarterly magazine for business and banking leaders highlights the Bank’s research, events and programs, and frequently focuses on agricultural and rural issues.

The District's agricultural and rural research is based out of its branch office in Omaha, Nebraska. Economists are available to speak on a variety of issues affecting farms and rural areas with organizations and the news media.

For speaking inquiries, please e-mail erin.redemske@kc.frb.org. To receive notification of new research and publications on agricultural and rural issues, sign up for email updates.