Event Recap: AEDE's Participation at the 2012 Farm Science Review

Sep. 21, 2012
The 2012 Farm Science Review was held from September 18-20, 2012 – this year marked a successful 50th anniversary show. The event, which was at The Ohio State University’s 2,100 acre Molly Caren Agricultural Center near London, Ohio, was sponsored by Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, OSU Extension, and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Throughout its history, the Farm Science Review has been at the forefront of showcasing the future of agriculture and this year’s Review did not disappoint – it offered thousands of participants the opportunity to interact with agricultural economists, farm management specialists and Extension educators from the Ohio State community.
 


Participants at the 2012 Farm Science Review. Thousands of Review goers were given the opportunity to interact with agricultural economists, farm management specialists and Extension educators from the Ohio State community. Photo Credit: AEDE
AEDE faculty, staff and students actively participated in this year’s event. Barry Ward, Assistant Extension Professor and Production Business Management Leader, helped to man the Farm Business Office at the Review, which gave event participants the opportunity to interact one-on-one with Ohio State experts.  By visiting this office, Review participants were able to seek advice on topics such as farm budgeting, cash rents, flexible cash rent arrangements, land purchase issues, input buying, farm transition planning, estate planning, retirement planning, farm record keeping and analysis, tax management, human resources management, and risk management issues, among others. Additionally, department staff represented AEDE at a booth in the “Buckeye World” exhibit at the Review, which enabled high school students to learn more about studying at AEDE and interact with representatives from the department. 

On Tuesday morning, AEDE Associate Professor Matthew Roberts, AEDE Andersons Professor of International Trade Ian Sheldon and AEDE Professor Carl Zulauf helped to kick off the Farm Science Review with their participation in the event’s keynote panel discussion, which also featured Katharine Ferguson, the Rural Policy Director for US Senator Sherrod Brown. The discussion focused on “Drought and the Farm Bill: What 2012 Mean for Farm Policy.” The 2008 farm bill will expire on September 30th and the panel weighed in on the 2012 farm bill currently being debated in Congress.
 
The draft 2012 bill, which includes the elimination of direct payments to farmers and an increased focus on risk management programs, remained an important topic of discussion throughout the three-day Farm Science Review with heavy reflection on this topic by farmers, experts and legislators at many of the Review’s events. A general fear is that the new farm bill will not be passed by the quickly approaching end September deadline. When reflecting on this fear the panel moderator, Matthew Roberts asked, “What happens if we don’t have a farm bill?” to which, AEDE agricultural policy expert Carl Zulauf replied, “It’s more common than not common that the farm bill expires before another one is approved.”


Barry Ward (right), AEDE Assistant Extension Professor and Production Business Management Leader, fielding questions from farmers at the 2012 Farm Science Review’s “Question the Authorities” series. Photo Credit: AEDE

Matthew Roberts, Carl Zulauf and Barry Ward also participated in multiple “Question the Authorities” sessions at the Farm Science Review where farmers were given the opportunity to hear from experts in their field and question them regarding their topics of interest. 

 

During his session on “Farmland Values & Cash Rents,” Barry Ward reflected on the current steady pressure on land values in Ohio, noting that 2013 may be a mixed year for farmland cash rents in the state with areas that suffered the least from the 2012 drought seeing rental prices climb. Ward also participated in several sessions focused on “Crop Input Costs” where he reflected that, in general, farm input costs are anticipated to be higher in 2013.

In multiple sessions offering an “Ag Policy Update,” Carl Zulauf reflected that we are “likely to have a farm bill this year” and that, “no matter how you cut it, this farm bill is about the budget,” while fielding policy questions from farmers.   
 
In his session offering a “Grain Market Outlook,” Matthew Roberts reflected on the agricultural commodities market in 2012. Roberts noted that, “there is a lot of legitimate anxiety” regarding the market, and that “the corn market is globally the tightest it has ever been and if we fall short of projected harvests, global availability will decline.” Of all of the agricultural commodities reflected on, Roberts noted that “wheat had a pretty good year in 2012 and is in the best shape overall.”
 
On Thursday morning, Douglas Southgate, AEDE Professor and Associate Director of Ohio State’s Subsurface Energy Resource Center, participated in a panel discussion about shale development.  The discussion also included three specialists from OSU Extension: Mike Hogan, OSU Extension Educator; Peggy Kirk Hall, Director of the OSU Agricultural & Resource Law Program; and Steve Schumacher, OSU Extension Educator. The group updated the audience on recent trends related to shale development in the eastern part of Ohio, such as the construction of pipelines needed to transport natural gas from newly-drilled wells to customers in and around Ohio. 
 


Douglas Southgate, AEDE Professor and Associate Director of OSU's Subsurface Energy Resource Center, presenting at a discussion on shale development, which was held on September 20th at the 2012 Farm Science Review. Photo Credit: AEDE
In his remarks, Southgate emphasized the primary impact of technological advances that have made shale development possible:  “In the food sector, the energy industry, and anywhere else in the economy, improvements in technology that are guided by market forces always benefit consumers more than anyone else, specifically in the form of lower prices.”  He noted that the extraction of natural gas from shale, which began little more than ten years ago, have caused the gas market to “decouple” from the petroleum market; as a result, “gas prices have stayed consistently low in recent years even at times when oil prices have spiked above $100 per barrel,” Southgate said.

To see more coverage of AEDE at the 2012 Farm Science Review, see Ohio Farm Science Review panel discusses likely farm bill expiration from Farm and Dairy, Ohio State Ag Economists: Crop Insurance, Risk Management to Shape Next Farm Bill from AgriMarketing, and Expert: Drought might affect farm rents from the Newark Advocate.
 

September 21, 2012