Forum to Address Ag’s Challenges in Transportation

farmfoundationlogo3News of too few rail cars to move this year’s grain harvest from farming areas to consumers has grabbed the headlines most recently, but agriculture and rural America are facing several other transportation issues this year. Farm Foundation will look to address some key issues, including the nation’s aging transportation infrastructure, which is also important to the movement of biofuels – roads, bridges and waterways – during its next free forum, Wednesday, Nov. 19 from 9 to 11 a.m. EST at the National Press Club, 529 14th St., NW, Washington, D.C. with a live audiocast being made available for those unable to attend in person.

The Forum will begin with presentations by four industry leaders:

Eric Jessup, Vice President, Transportation, Industrials & Energy Services, Informa Economics;
John H. Miller, Group Vice President, Agricultural Products, BNSF Railroad;
Mike Steenhoek, Executive Director, Soy Transportation Coalition; and
Jon Samson, Executive Director of the American Trucking Associations’ Agriculture and Food Transporters Conference.

Moderating the session will be grain farmer Mark Scholl of J&M Scholl, Inc. Mr. Scholl and Mr. Miller are both Trustees of Farm Foundation.

More information and sign-up is available here.

Farm Foundation Forum to Examine Energy, Ag

farmfoundationlogo3Our friends at Farm Foundation will host another one of their thought-provoking discussions, this time, talking about the energy and agricultural markets and their relationship. Titled, “Geopolitical Uncertainty in Agriculture and Energy Markets,” the April 9 Forum will be held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. EDT.

Current political unrest in numerous locations across the world is having a profound effect across agricultural and energy markets and generating supply chain uncertainties.

The April 9 Farm Foundation® Forum will examine the potential consequences of sudden policy changes, production issues, and unforeseen price fluctuations in a turbulent global marketplace. Panelists for this Forum will include:

Former U.S.Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman will moderate the panel.
Vincent Smith, scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and professor at Montana State University.
Gary Blumenthal of World Perspectives, Inc.
Brian Oleson, professor at the University of Manitoba.
Charles Doran, professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

There’s no charge for the forum, and you can register to attend here. In addition, a webcast, including audio and slides, is available here.

Brennan to Head Farm Foundation’s Development

brennan1Our friends at Farm Foundation, a group that has work in agriculture, food systems and rural communities, including biodiesel and ethanol production, has tapped Tim Brennan as their new Director of Development.

“We are excited to welcome Tim to the Foundation staff,” says Jay Armstrong of Armstrong Farms, Muscotah, KS, Chairman of the Foundation’s Board of Directors.

“This is a dynamic time for the Foundation as demand for our high-quality, objective program work continues to grow. Tim’s expertise in fundraising will be crucial to the Foundation’s ability to expand the depth and reach of that programming.”

“The Foundation is uniquely positioned to help public and private decision makers understand evolving issues and demands that are shaping the future of the industry,” says Neil Conklin, President of Farm Foundation, NFP. “Tim will formalize a fundraising strategy and bring valuable experience to strengthen and broaden relationships in the Foundation’s networks.”

Brennan has 20 years in fundraising, most of that in higher education. He was the Associate Director of Alumni Relations for the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business, now the Booth School of Business and the Director of Alumni Relations and Marketing for Northwestern University’s School of Law, as well as the University of Chicago’s Executive Director of the Chicago Society and Director of Development at the Law School and the Senior Director of Alumni and Constituent Relations at the University.

Fracking Subject of Next Farm Foundation Forum

farmfoundationlogo3Getting natural gas out of the ground, especially by using hydraulic fracturing, better known as “fracking,” has been a hot topic lately, especially in agricultural areas. Our friends at the Farm Foundation will sponsor a free forum to talk about the issue from 9-11 am EDT, Wednesday, April 3, at the National Press Club, Washington, D.C.

Issues and policies related to natural gas extraction will be discussed by Shannon Ferrell and Larry Sanders, both of Oklahoma State University. They are the authors of a policy brief, Natural Gas Extraction: Issues and Policy Options, published by the National Agricultural and Rural Development Policy Center (NARDeP).

Also presenting at the Forum will be Brian Rahm, a post doctoral associate at the New York State Water Resources Institute. Other speakers are to be named.

Former Texas Congressman Charlie Stenholm will moderate a discussion after the presentation.

Sign up for the free event here.

Farm Foundation Blog: Food & Fuel for 9 Billion in 2050

How do you keep an expected world population of 9 billion people by the year 2050 fed AND meet the world’s energy needs? Our friends at Farm Foundation are taking on those challenging questions, hopefully with some good answers through their new blog, AgChallenge2050.org.

“It’s an opportunity for more people to be involved in the conversation,” said Mary Thompson, Farm Foundation’s Vice President, Communications, adding there are four key areas of consideration: role of science and technology in agriculture, farm and food policy, adaptability resistance, and human capital needs in agriculture and the food system. “We have contributors who will be twice a week posting new ideas and new perspectives in those four areas, and we will encourage all types of stakeholders to come in and be part of the conversation.”

And don’t forget, Farm Foundation has another one of their forums coming up this Wednesday, November 14th looking at what the recently completed election means to agriculture, food and rural policies. It will be held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC and webcast. Click here for more information.

Listen to Cindy’s interview with Mary here: Mary Thompson, Farm Foundation

2012 NAFB Convention Photo Album

Farm Foundation to Discuss Farm Policy Post-Election

While all elections are important, this year’s promises to have some real implications for rural America. That’s why Farm Foundation is holding a forum about a week after the polls close, and we know WHO is in office to explain WHAT they might do as as far as agriculture, food and rural policy, including renewable energy, is concerned. The forum will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. EST at the National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, Washington D.C.

And for the first time a free live, webcast of the forum will be offered. You can see the webcast by registering here. Email julie@farmfoundation.org by Nov. 12th if you plan to attend in person.

“By their votes on Nov. 6, citizens will set the stage for the next four years of the nation’s policy development at both the state and federal level,” says Foundation President Neil Conklin. “This Forum is an opportunity to examine how those elections may specifically impact agriculture, food and rural policies in the months ahead.”

DF Cast: Debating the RFS Waiver

The EPA has just started the 30-day comment period for a proposed waiver of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). And just as the comments started, the National Corn Growers Association has asked for even more time for comments to come in.

But there’s no lack of viewpoints already out there. In this edition of the Domestic Fuel Cast, we’ll hear from National Turkey Federation president Joel Brandenberger, Purdue University’s Wally Tyner and Chris Hurt, former Secretary of Agriculture Clayton Yeutter, and Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis giving their thoughts about a possible RFS waiver.

You can listen to the Domestic Fuel Cast here: Domestic Fuel Cast

You can also subscribe to the DomesticFuel Cast here.

RFS Waiver Would Not Immediately Impact Corn Prices

While a new report shows that a waiver of the Renewable Fuels Standard could drop corn prices, the impact would not be felt this year and could vary. The Purdue University report, entiled Potential Impacts of a Partial Waiver of the Ethanol Blending Rules, was authored by the school’s Wally Tyner, Farzad Taheripour and Christopher Hurt and presented today in a Farm Foundation webinar. It says corn prices could drop anywhere from 47 cents to $1.34 per bushel, depending on what level the drought impacts the final harvest, how big the waiver is, and how many unused Renewable Fuel Identification Numbers (RINs) are cashed in. But livestock producers and consumers would not see any benefit this year.

Tyner explained that technical and financial incentives could determine the impact of the waiver. “If refiners and blenders cannot change for technical reasons what they’re doing now, then a waiver has very little impact. But if they do have flexibility, then there is potential for a waiver having an impact,” Tyner said. Hurt added that there could be some unintended consequences, including what he calls demand destruction. “If we return to normal production in the next 12 months, then we have a fairly large supply, we have the possibility of looking at a 15 billion bushel corn crop with a utilization base of 11 billion bushels,” pointing out that we could see prices swing back to extremely low prices as quickly as they rose to these current high prices.

Paragon Economics’ Steve Meyer and the University of Minnesota’s Vernon Eidman were also listening in on the call and offering their perspectives. Meyer said the projected reduction in corn prices could translate into $2.60-3.50 per head on hogs. “We’re not talking about peanuts here.” But Eidman was quick to point out any RFS waiver would not impact corn use for ethanol this year. “It will take more time than that to get the rollback to occur,” Eidman said.

All on the webinar agreed that the EPA should not rush to issue any judgment until more complete information is known about the corn harvest, most likely in the next couple of months. “It’s important to get this right,” concluded Eidman.

It’s a really good conversation, and you can hear the entirety of it here: Farm Foundation-Purdue Webinar on Drought and RFS Waiver You can see the associated slide show here.

Farm Foundation to Discuss RFS Waiver

As I mentioned in the previous post, talk about waiving the Renewable Fuels Standard for ethanol continues on. This time, our friends from the Farm Foundation will be hosting a web conference, Thursday, August 16, 2012 at 10 a.m. CDT. Three Purdue University economists will take part in the free conference, discussing the impact of waiving the RFS, especially in light of how hard the drought has hit the nation’s corn crop. You can register for it here.

Purdue University economists Wally Tyner, Farzad Taheripour and Christopher Hurt have completed an analysis of a potential waiver and what it could mean for the ethanol industry and the price of corn. Their findings will be presented at Thursday’s web conference.

“As was the case in 2008, when rhetoric in the food-versus-fuel debate rose with the prices of corn and oil, the drought and high temperatures of 2012 are pushing corn and soybean prices to record levels, and the food vs. fuel debate is once again heated,” says Farm Foundation, NFP President Neil Conklin. “Now, as then, Farm Foundation and Purdue University are not about fueling these fires. Our shared mission is to be a catalyst for sound public policy by providing objective information to foster deeper understanding of the complex issues before our food and agriculture system today.”

Farm Foundation officials say the Purdue economists’ current analysis builds on years of work, including a series of three Farm Foundation publications, “What’s Driving Food Prices,” published in July 2008, March 2009 and July 2011.

Farm Foundation Hosts Renewable Energy Webinar

The use of anaerobic digesters for livestock operations in the Southwest is the focus of the Renewable Energy Education Field Day webinar planned for later this month.

The webinar will be presented on Wednesday October 26 and will examine technical, environmental and financial factors to consider when installing an anaerobic digester on a livestock operation and specifically the use of digesters with dry manure and the unique environmental issues and climatic conditions of the Southwest.

The virtual Field Day is free of charge and targeted to dairy and beef producers in New Mexico, Arizona, California, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Representatives of environmental and agricultural organizations working with livestock producers, as well as staff from state and federal agencies, are also encouraged to participate.

farmfoundationlogo3The webinar’s origination site will be the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, Las Cruces, N.M., where anyone interested in the area is invited to attend live. Five viewing sites have been set up across the Southwest at Lamar Community College, Lamar, Colo.; Otero County Extension Office, Rocky Ford, Colo.; Arizona State University, Polytechnic Campus, Mesa, Ariz.; the U.S. EPA Region 9 Office, San Francisco, Calif.; and the Texas A&M’s AgriLife Research and Extension Center, Amarillo, Texas. Additional sites may be added.

Farm Foundation, NFP is organizing this webinar in collaboration with USDA Rural Development, USDA’s Office of Energy Policy and New Uses, and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. There is no charge to participate in this webinar, but registration is required by going to the FarmFoundation.org website. This is the second Renewable Energy Education Field Day presented by Farm Foundation, NFP and USDA agencies. Biomass was the subject of the first Field Day in November 2010.