Economic Duo to Speak at 7th Annual Ag Forum

The overall economy, the economic recovery, and the agricultural economy are heavy subjects weighing on our minds the last few years, and NC State’s Dr. Mike Walden will address the country’s economic situation at the year’s 7th Annual Ag Forum on February 2nd:

“My job is to talk about some broad trends in the overall economy, then Blake…my colleague Blake Brown will then apply those specifically to farming and agriculture. So, I’m going to look at trends in the growth situation of the economy, obviously with the recession and the slow aftermath of the recession there are a lot of concerns there. I’ll also look at some international issues vies-a-vie international trade, the value of the dollar. And finally I’ll focus on some policy issues that those in the agriculture community need to pay attention to.”

Walden says in his talk that he’ll also take a look at high commodity prices and their role in the overall economy:

“In particular the fact that there’s a been a large increase in commodity prices and how much of that might be tied to economic policy and specifically to the federal reserve, and if that were to change, how that might affect commodity prices.”

As Walden indicated, Dr. Blake Brown, Extension Economist in Agricultural Economics at NC State will put the agricultural spin on Walden’s topics:

“I’m going to bounce off that and hone in on the agricultural economy for North Carolina, and I’ll be talking a little bit about how net farm income has been going the last two or three years, and some of the highlights for some of our commodities that are growing in demand and then some of the ones that are more important and how they’re faring.”

Brown plans on addressing input costs, as well:

“Mixed in with that will be a little bit about energy prices pertaining to agriculture, trade, and just how the demographics of growth in North Carolina may be affecting the ag market.”

And Brown plans to focus on energy costs:

“We have a couple of things going on. One, is that you have fuel prices that continue to escalate, and then propane, and in North Carolina since we do grow a lot of tobacco, propane or LP gas prices are very important and that is a very major expenditure for tobacco farmers. And then, of course, all farmers burn a lot of diesel fuel. But, the other part of that is that energy prices have a big effect on fertilizer prices, particularly the nitrogen component of fertilizer. And the other side of that is that we see natural gas prices very affordable. And we do a few farmers that are able to take advantage of that. It’s not easy for farmers, but it does have some moderating impact if farmers can get access to it.”

The 7th Annual Ag Forum gets underway at 9:30 on February 2nd in the Holshouser Building on the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. The event is free to attend, and lunch will be provided. To register go to by Friday, January 27th. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.