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* Purdue Ag Alumni Fish Fry

January 7, 2008

Demand for agricultural products brings profits and problems

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Shortages and heavy global demand for agricultural products are combining to increase commodity prices, but one Purdue University expert predicts that higher prices may not translate into more money in farmers' pockets.

Prior to the 2008 Purdue Agriculture Alumni Fish Fry, Mike Boehlje, Purdue agricultural economist, will present the annual Agriculture Forecast. His presentation, "Landscape of Agriculture Today and Tomorrow: Ten Forces Shaping the Agriculture Industry," will begin at 9:30 a.m., Feb. 2, in the Old National Grand Hall on the Indiana State Fairgrounds. The event is free, while tickets for the fish fry are $20 in advance.

"Right now we are seeing very unique circumstances in the world of agriculture," Boehlje said. "We have growing demand for agricultural products in two areas—both domestic, because of biofuels, and abroad because of growing economies in India and China combined with a weaker dollar, which means that right now commodity prices are up and driving increasing production."

Boehlje said these are sustainable circumstances, but there are challenges associated with the higher prices.

"While producers are seeing their commodities bring higher prices, input costs are increasing as well," Boehlje said. "Land rents are up anywhere from 15-20 percent and seed and fertilizer costs are up 15-20 percent or more."

Boehlje's presentation topics also will include the long-term business climate and expanded market opportunities; the globalization of both production and consumption of commodities; the new market environment with energy policy and global nutrition demand; policy and trade; land, water and open space challenges; human skill sets needed for sustaining and improving agriculture; and new technologies, ideas and information regarding the agriculture industry.

The Purdue Agriculture Alumni Fish Fry will begin, following Boehlje's presentation, in the Toyota Blue Ribbon Pavilion, also located on the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Doors will open at 10:30 a.m., with lunch to follow. Keynote speaker Andrew Card, former chief of staff for President George W. Bush, will begin his presentation at 11:30 a.m.

The Purdue Agriculture Alumni Fish Fry is only a fish fry in name. The lunch menu will feature roasted pork loin.

Tickets are $20 and must be purchased in advance by calling (765) 494-8593 or by e-mailing agalumni@purdue.edu.

Round-trip bus transportation will be provided from campus, or attendees may purchase a parking permit in advance to ensure the best available parking at the fairgrounds. Free on-site childcare will be provided for those who make advance reservations.

Writer: Jennifer Cummins, (765) 494-6682, cumminsjs@purdue.edu

Source: Mike Boehlje, (765) 494-4222, boehljem@purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Beth Forbes, forbes@purdue.edu
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