Will farming's boom period continue? Workshop offers insights

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After four consecutive years of record farm incomes, many in the agricultural industry are asking: How long will the good times last? They'll get a clearer picture of what lies ahead by attending a Purdue University workshop.

Financial Health of Farming and Land Values takes place March 27 from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Beck Agricultural Center on the grounds of Purdue's Agronomy Center for Research and Education, near Montmorenci.

Registration is $150 per person and includes breakfast and lunch. The workshop is an outreach program of the Purdue Center for Commercial Agriculture.

"The focus of this workshop will be on trying to obtain insights on whether the current prosperity of agriculture is sustainable, what will shape the financial future of farming and if this boom will be followed by a bust or a soft landing," said Mike Boehlje, a Purdue agricultural economist and workshop coordinator.

"We'll be focusing on the next 3-5 years, not a 50-year perspective. While almost everyone in agriculture is optimistic about the long-term potential for farm incomes, in our program we'll be looking at the kind of bumps in the road we might see in the next several years."

The workshop's keynote speaker will discuss agriculture's historical booms and busts, and what lessons can be applied today. Jason Henderson, branch executive of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, will examine the factors behind the current boom period and what changes could be forthcoming.

Other speakers are Boehlje and fellow Purdue agricultural economists Tim Baker, Craig Dobbins, Brent Gloy, Mike Gunderson, Chris Hurt, Michael Langemeier and Nicole Olynk Widmar.

The day will begin and end with a simulated sealed bid auction.

"We'll show some slides of a real farm and provide information about the farm to those in attendance, and ask them to put in a bid for the property like they would at a farm auction," Boehlje said. "Then after they've heard about the financial health of the agricultural industry during the day we'll come back and have them put in a second sealed bid to see if anything they've heard has changed their thinking.

"We hope they'll see that the farm economy isn't just about farmland values. Farmland is a part of it, but it's much broader than that."

For more information about Financial Health of Farming and Land Values, a complete workshop agenda and links to registration and hotel/travel pages, visit the Center for Commercial Agriculture's website at http://www.agecon.purdue.edu/commercialag/ and click on the workshop link.

The Agronomy Center for Research and Education is at 4540 U.S. 52, about six miles west of Purdue's West Lafayette campus.

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