OSU hosts a public forum on food and fuel prices

September 15, 2008

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Rising food and energy prices will be analyzed during an Oct. 2 conference hosted by Oregon State University's College of Agricultural Sciences.

"The focus is on understanding why we have experienced major increases in food and energy prices and what the projections are for the coming decades," said Greg Perry, a professor of agricultural and resource economics at OSU and an organizer of the one-day conference.

"An important factor influencing both food and energy prices is the development of biofuels, in particular ethanol made from corn,” Perry said. “A major focus of the conference will be on who gains and who loses as a result of the growth in ethanol and biodiesel production. How much impact have biofuels had on food and energy prices, and what are some of the other factors that may contribute to further increases in food and energy prices?"

Leading economists from throughout the United States will speak in a public forum about food and energy prices, the markets that drive prices, and the impact these markets have on land values, labor and environmental quality.

"The issues involved in higher fuel and energy prices are complex,” Perry pointed out. “Our goal in hosting this conference is to educate the public, to help them try and sort fact from fiction. Hopefully the public will come away with a better understanding of the issues and the tradeoffs faced by policymakers when setting food and energy policy for the coming decades.”

Speakers at the conference will address:

  • Factors affecting energy and food prices over the next decade;

  • Ethanol production, tariffs and subsidies;

  • The impact of rising commodity prices on land values;

  • The impact on labor markets of rising food and energy prices;

  • The effects of biofuel production on soil erosion, water quality and air quality;

  • Similarities between the current and previous energy crises;

  • Impacts on rural communities.

The conference, “Rising Food and Energy Prices: U.S. Food Policy at the Crossroads," is open to the public and will be held at the CH2M-Hill Alumni Center on the OSU campus. Registration costs $20 (includes lunch) or $45 (includes lunch, dinner and evening keynote).

For a complete list of speakers and topics, go to OSU Conference Services online. Registration is available on that site, or call 541-737-6439.

Author: Peg Herring
Source: Greg Perry