How about some Farm to Fork Politics? That’s what we got to kick off 2013 National Ag Day activities in Washington, DC. Here are the panelists for the session that was sponsored by Agri-Pulse just prior to their annual reception. Seated l-r are Dr. Keith Collins, former USDA Chief Economist, B. Hudson Riehle, Senior VP of the Research & Information Services Division for the National Restaurant Association and Dr. J. B. Penn, John Deere. These gentlemen gave us opening remarks before taking questions from the audience.
You can listen to the session here: Farm to Fork Politics Session
Before we got started I spoke with each of our panelists to ask them to tell me what they planned to tell us.
Let’s start with Dr. J.B. Penn. He had a “generally positive” message but chose to look back at recent years as a guideline for the outlook for the future. So he looks back at the last ten years to see how we “got here today.” He mentions something that is a common thread of the comments of all our panelists and that is uncertainty and volatile markets.
You can listen to my interview with Dr. Penn here: Interview with Dr. J.B. Penn
Next up is Hudson Riehle. He says that “despite a host of challenges the restaurant industry will post record sales this year of $660 billion dollars.” That’s up 3.8% over 2012. He says it’s the fourth straight year of sales growth but that the increase this year is much more modest than it has been.
You can listen to my interview with Hudson here: Interview with B. Hudson Riehle
We also heard from Dr. Keith Collins who said his first focus would be on three things, liquidity, solvency and economic growth. Then his second focus is corn because it accounts for so much of the value of crop production. He says we’re very dependent on having a good crop in 2013. Finally, he talks about where the farm bill may be headed. When it comes to the current Congress Dr. Collins is on the one hand depressed about what he see in politics but at on the other hand seeing that the glass is half full.
You can listen to my interview with Dr. Collins here: Interview with Dr. Keith CollinsCoverage of the National AgDay Activities is sponsored by the BCS think tank and American Seed Trade Association