2004 Agricultural Bankers Conference

The 2004 National Agricultural Bankers Conference was held in Minneapolis-St. Paul with more than 550 in attendance from the U.S., Canada and Australia. This conference was filled with speakers from academics, industry, production and government, and provided an informative, fun-filled three days. The following are some of the highlights.

Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, gave an informative and compelling discussion on bio-terrorism and the pending influenza pandemic he expects in the coming years. He feels bio-terrorism from domestic and international sources in the form of chemical water supply contamination need a proactive rather than reactive approach.

The flu could be spread from animal to human and spread worldwide in three days, wreaking social and economic havoc. If it broke out in the Twin Cities, it could cause 80,000 deaths.

Dr. Sung Won Sohn, the famous Wells Fargo economist, indicated that the economy would grow 3.5% next year. The wealth effect has kept the U.S. economy strong through refinance growth. His worry list includes interest rates and the United States’ ability to be innovative and creative to maintain productivity and finance the federal deficit. Interestingly, he indicated oil prices could decline to $30-35/barrel.

I’ll write more on the conference in future columns.

P.S.

  • The Canadians have their fingers crossed that President Bush will announce the opening of the U.S./Canadian border in his visit on Nov. 30.
  • It was fun watching Alberta producers baling hay in my drive up Highway 2 in late November. It must be freeze dried!


My e-mail address is:sullylab@vt.edu

Editors' note: Dave Kohl, The Corn and Soybean Digest Trends Editor, is an ag economist specializing in business management and ag finance. He recently retired from Virginia Tech, but continues to conduct applied research and travel extensively in the U.S. and Canada, teaching ag and banking seminars and speaking to producer and agribusiness groups.

To see Dave Kohl's previous road warrior adventures type Dave Kohl in the Search blank at the top of the page.

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