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” will explore the underlying drivers of consolidation in the industry and potential implications for businesses, consumers, and rural communities. The first day of the Symposium will discuss the factors driving consolidation in food and agricultural production and the economic implications of consolidation. The second day of the Symposium will discuss the implications for agricultural lending institutions and the role of policy in addressing agricultural consolidation.


Welcome and Overview of the Ag Economy

Speaker:

  • Nathan Kauffman, Assistant Vice President and Omaha Branch Executive, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

Session 1: Drivers of Agricultural Consolidation

Recognizing recent developments in the agricultural economy, this session will discuss the underlying factors driving consolidation in the industry, the types of businesses most susceptible to consolidation, and how these forces may differ globally.
 
Speaker:

Discussant: 

  • Michael Boland, Professor and Director, The Food Industry Center, University of Minnesota

Panelists: 

  • Jennifer Sirangelo, President and Chief Executive Officer, National 4-H Council
  • Pam Johnson, Iowa Farmer and Former President of National Corn Growers Association
     

Session 2: Economic Trade-offs of Agricultural Consolidation

This session will discuss the economic trade-offs of agricultural consolidation across the supply chain, what these trends might mean for the future structure of the industry, and how these changes might affect future food prices.
 
Speaker:   

Discussant: 

  • Jeff Dorfman, Professor, Agricultural and Applied Economics, University of Georgia

Panelists: 

  • Mike Frank, Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, Monsanto
  • Bob Young, Chief Economist, American Farm Bureau

 


Dinner and Panel Discussion

Speaker:

Session 3: Financing a Changing Rural Landscape

This session will discuss the implications of industry consolidation for agricultural lenders of varying sizes against the backdrop of a changing rural landscape. 
 
Speaker:

Discussant: 

  • Damona Doye, Rainbolt Chair of Agricultural Finance, Department of Agricultural Economics, Oklahoma State University
Panelists:
  • Rob Keil, Senior Director of Credit Administration, Dacotah Bank
  • Shawn Smeins, ‎Senior Vice President and General Manager. Rabo AgriFinance

Policy Keynote

Speaker: 

  • Senator Pat Roberts, Chairman, United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry

Session 4: Policy Responses

This session will discuss how domestic or international policies might respond to consolidation in the agricultural sector and the key factors that these policies need to consider.

Speaker: 

Discussant: 

  • James Richardson, Regents Professor of Agricultural Economics and Co-Director of the Agricultural and Food Policy Center, Texas A&M University

Panelists:

  • James Rhilinger, ‎Deputy Assistant Director, Mergers II Division, Federal Trade Commission
  • Kip Tom, Managing Member, Tom Farms

Lunch and Closing Economic Outlook

Speaker: 

  • Esther George, President and Chief Executive Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City