Audio Files: What’s Driving Food Prices?

Farm Foundation released the report, What’s Driving Food Prices?, at the Farm Foundation Forum in Washington D.C., on July 23, 2008.

Listen to the two-hour Farm Foundation Forum.

Here are excerpts from the July 23 Forum:

  • Farm Foundation President Neil Conklin talks about why Farm Foundation did this project.  (… in a clear way.) 1:46
  • Two excerpts of  Wallace Tyner of Purdue University, lead author on the report, which was written with Phillip Abbott and Christopher Hurt.  All three are agricultural economists at Purdue.

1. Three main drivers:  (….growth in biofuels.) 1:13

2. Effects of oil prices and ethanol subsidies (….on the cost side.) 2:13

  • Brad Lubben, agricultural economist at the University of Nebraskas, responded to the report:

1. Food consumption is exceeding demand – (We don’t have many policies … shortage mentality.) :43

2. All the analysis is economics which is long run, while policy is short run. (And we’re considering… too expensive.) 1:11

3.Main policy that could be changed is the Renewable Fuels standard because it is the easiest. (The RFS is the easiest … ag commodities and for energy.) :33

4. More corn production for ethanol could be met by land in conservation reserve. (If the debate is food versus fuel… into the argument.) :34

  • Seven excerpts from the question and answer session:

1. How can we make the public understand through the media the complexity of the food price situation? Tyner reponse. (That’s why Farm Foundation took this on … to do that.) :53

2. To what extent does organized agribusiness distort farm policy and economics?
Former Texas Congressman Charlie Stenholm, who moderates the Forum, points out new Farm Bill may be outdated quickly.  (Most of what we are now….. world has changed.) 1:18

3. One more piece to the puzzle –biodiesel mandate –do we have enough vegetable oil to meet the mandate? Tyner response (The combination of the EU and US … no question about it.) :40

4.  What impact would adoption of biotech in other countries have? Tyner says this could be very important for especially developing countries.  (Biotech impacts…had that possibility.) :55

5.  What happens when we go to second generation biofuels? Tyner says that would be in addition to corn.  (If the RFS stays … for that base.) :26

6.  What would be the impact of an outright ban on corn for biofuels? Tyner response.
(We did not … policy of interest.) :27

7.  Speculate on how much sugarcane ethanol could reach market if tariff were reduced or eliminated. Tyner response.  (I work with Brazilian … policy barrier that we have.) 1:01

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