CARD Director Bruce Babcock Addresses US Senate Committee

Bruce Babcock, CARD, 515-294-6785
Sandy Clarke, CARD, 515-294-6257

April 24, 2001

AMES, Iowa – Bruce Babcock, director of the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, appeared before the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry on April 25 to talk about the farm economy, current agricultural trade conditions, and possible barriers to trade over the next five years.

Babcock used baseline projections from the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI), a dual institute of the Iowa State University center and the University of Missouri, to give an overview of the effects of underlying economic trends and domestic policies on U.S. and world markets.

Babcock told the Committee that, based on the FAPRI projections, he expects crop prices to grow moderately over the next five years. Price increases, he said, will be tempered by productivity increases, both in the United States and in other exporting nations.

A bright spot in agriculture is in the livestock sector, according to Babcock. "Strong demand, low-cost producers, and high-quality products are making the United States quite competitive in world markets."

But Babcock cautioned that this advantage is contingent on keeping the U.S. free from Foot-and-Mouth Disease. He told the committee, "Public investments in maintaining this status may yield the largest short- and long-term returns in agriculture available to Congress and the U.S. Department of Agriculture."

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