Goss to speak at Farm News Ag Show

n Economist to discuss ‘promise in agriculture moving forward’

FORT DODGE – Ernie Goss, professor of economics at Creighton University and director of the Goss Institute is just one of seven speakers scheduled for the upcoming 16th annual Farm News Ag Show.

Goss, who is scheduled to speak on Wednesday, Dec. 6 at 1 p.m. said he will be presenting, “The Farm Economy, Exports and Federal Reserve Policies: The Outlook Based on Rural Bank CEOs.”

“I will talk about the promise of agriculture going forward,” he said. “How important trade is to agriculture and the federal reserve policy and how it relates to agriculture.”

“I’ve been looking forward to it,” he added. “I feel like I know Fort Dodge and the area pretty well. I have been up there a lot. It’s a great area.”

Goss said he will focus on some local aspects of agriculture in the Fort Dodge area and Iowa in terms of Cargill, Valero, CJ Bio America and how they connect back to programs at Iowa State University and Iowa Central Community College, as well as how those businesses extend forward to not only other businesses in this area, but throughout the state and around the globe.

He will also discuss the decline in agriculture and the differences farmers and agribusinesses are facing compared to the 1980s.

“We’re going into the fourth straight year of a downturn in farm income, but when you look at agriculture today versus in the ’80s, it is very different,” he said. “The banks aren’t over extended in terms of loans they have restructured loans, don’t get me wrong but the delinquency rates are not like they were. The farmer was in much better condition entering this downturn than they were in the ’80s. That’s part of it as well.”

Most importantly, Goss said he will talk about the indicators farmers and ag professionals can keep an eye on when determining the risk to their own situation.

“There is significant risk, for example, with investments, so we will be just looking for economic indicators to tell those decision makers where the opportunities are and where the threats are,” he said.

To help with this, for example, Goss said he will discuss the MOO exchange trading fund (etf), which he explained is an agriculture etf.

“What is that really telling us about what is going on in agriculture? Is it looking ahead? Is it looking behind?” Goss said. “Farmers and businesses and families out there have their own investments to make and what are the risks? What about their own loans? Should they be borrowing more right now assuming they can obtain those loans? Or should they be paying off those loans? What’s the situation with interest rates going forward?”

Ag policy, crop insurance, NAFTA, as well as the RFS, are all important to the region and the state of Iowa, Goss said, and he plans to discuss some of those issues as well.

“It’s not that long of a presentation. I could take an entire day to talk about all of these things,” he said. “The bottom line is, it’s an exciting time to be in agriculture. It’s exciting on the positives, exciting on the negatives as well. The farmer remains a risk taker and we will be talking about how to reduce those risks if possible.”

Attendees can also expect to hear Goss’ thoughts on supply and demand as well as trade and how important trade is to the ag sector.

“Agriculture is front and center when it comes to trade,” he said. “There’s a lot of volatility of trade and agriculture and when you get into trade wars, agriculture is the No. 1 casualty.”

The outcome of four straight years of the decline in farm income, is definitely being seen, but he feels there is still a lot of hope.

“As I travel there’s still an enthusiasm,” Goss said, “It’s not a sad situation, even though, again, farm income is down the fourth straight year and we would like to see grain prices up another 25 to 30 percent. But even so, there is some enthusiasm, some promise. He said. “People see a bright future.”

In the long run, Goss said he believes agriculture is doing well.

“We may replace automobiles with driverless cars or buses, but you still need corn for food products,” he said. “You still need Iowa beef, you still need Iowa pork, and there’s not much of a substitute there, so the long run looks good.”

Goss said after he received his MBA, he taught business classes in a community college.

“I found that I loved teaching and studying economics even though I did not have a major in economics,” he said.

Thus after two years of community college teaching, and realizing that he had to obtain the union card (a Ph.D.) to teach economics at the university level, he embarked for the University of Minnesota to study economics.

“But weather and a Tennessee gal enticed me to the University of Tennessee,” he said. “I received my Ph.D. in 1983 from that university, and could not be happier with my choice and my career. People ask, “when will you retire?” My answer is, “why would I retire from an endeavor that I love (and I get paid a reasonable salary)?” If I retired, I would still do the same activities but without the pay.”

Prior to coming to Creighton, Goss was a research fellow at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

“I worked in decision support systems and data analysis. By accepting an endowed chair position at Creighton, I was able to once again devote 100 percent of my work time to economics,” he said. “Prior to coming to Creighton, I had never been to Nebraska. Weather aside, my family and I could not have found a state and region more fitting to our preferences and lifestyle than Nebraska, Iowa – (we have a vacation home in Iowa) – and mid-America. The region is highly dependent on an industry-agriculture-that is like a laboratory for economics. I often say, I only teach supply and demand; farmers live it. I say this with no exaggeration. My family and I cannot imagine being happier with a location decision-(that’s an economic term)-than this part of the country.”

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