Perspective on Government Policy
Recently I lectured at the Northeast School for Agricultural Lenders at Cornell University. This is the 58th year of the school and I have participated in nearly 20 of the events.
In the evening session, we discussed the future of agricultural policy with invited speakers and professors. One of the speakers from Washington, DC, presented an interesting slant on the future of farm policy.
The future of farm policy will lie in the hands of a new breed of policymaker, regardless of whether they are Democrat or Republican. Many of today’s bureaucrats have some roots in agriculture. They are either degreed from a land grant institution, born, raised or worked on a farm, or have parents and relatives with tentacles in a rural area.
The future policymaker who is now emerging has a liberal arts or non-land grant education. They have been trained with a green or environmental slant, having little knowledge of production agriculture. These people will be the drivers of change in legislation as we proceed toward 2010. They will also be supported by voters of the Xer and Nexter generations who have similar philosophies.
While at Cornell, I observed a ticker that thanked alumni of six classes for their support. In one weekend they raised more than $60 million. Some of the more notable alumni were Tom Peters, author of the training video, “In Search of Excellence,” and Christopher Reeve, Superman. Some schools’ alumni put funds toward football and basketball arenas. It’s nice to see academic priorities; some balance is needed.
Where was the first veterinary program started? Answer: Cornell University!
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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.
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