More than 120 agricultural lenders, economists, and producers heard updates on the farm bill debate, trade, and farm economic conditions at the Rural Economic Outlook Conference, held Oct. 20, at Stillwater, Okla.
Keynote speakers included Cortney Cowley, an economist in the Regional Affairs Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City; Dr. Pat Westhoff, director of Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute, University of Missouri; and Dr. Luis Ribera, professor and director of the Center for North American Studies at Texas A&M University.
Cowley discussed the economic conditions in the United States and Oklahoma. Westhoff focused on the farm bill, the context of the next farm debate and outlining some of the major issues in agriculture today. And Ribera discussed trade, including NAFTA, the 1994 trade pact between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, and its success in increasing U.S. exports to NAFTA countries. “We have quadrupled our exports to NAFTA countries, while only tripling exports to the rest of the world,” Ribera said.