2020 Agricultural Policy and Outlook Conference Day 4

Sponsored and Hosted by The Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics Session Descriptions


Friday, November 13, 2020: Consumer Demand and Commodity Outlooks 12:00- 2:00 P.M. EST


The final day of the 2020 Agricultural Policy and Outlook Conference will cover consumer demand for food products, supply and demand fundamentals for row crops, and the current health of the U.S. livestock sector. Consumer confidence has continued to increase, reaching a six-month high in September, according to the consumer confidence sentiment survey. This is the highest level for the index since the pandemic disrupted consumer behavior in March, but there is still significant uncertainty about if and when consumer behavior will return to pre-COVID patterns. Increases in COVID-19 cases in parts of the United States have delayed plans to reopen the economy, shuttered food service institutions, and reduced gas consumption. COVID-19 has had differing impacts on producers depending on type of product produced, end market, and product distribution.


Zoë Plakias, Assistant Professor of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics, will kick off session four with an outlook on consumer demand heading into 2021. Her presentation will look at changes in domestic consumer purchasing patterns due to the pandemic, the consumer-level outlook for 2021, and implications for Ohio food system stakeholders and producers.


Ben Brown, Assistant Professor of Professional Practice in Agriculture Risk Management, will provide an outlook of row crops and price expectations for producers for the remainder of the marketing year, which ends in August as well as a short term outlook for soybean crush, corn used for ethanol, and exports.


The final presentation will be William (Bill) Hahn, Agricultural Economics with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, on the forecast for meat supply and demand over the next several quarters. After COVID-19 outbreaks among workers and precautionary closings of plants reduced livestock packing capacity in the United States between 33-41 percent in May, the industry has returned to normal processing capacity. However, macroeconomic impacts on demand coupled with relatively large supplies continue to suppress producer prices.


The session concludes with a panel discussion titled “Adapting and Preparing for Continued Volatility in Commodity Markets” moderated by Associate Professor of Extension David Marrison. Panelists include Aaron Appel- Regional Trader with Consolidated Grain and Barge Enterprises Inc., Bailey Elchinger- Regional Director with Stone X, and Erin FitzPatrick- Senior Analyst of Grains and Oilseeds with Rabobank. The panel will continue the conversation about the commodity complex during the global pandemic but discuss risk management strategies producers might consider as 2021 approaches.


The 2020 Agricultural Policy and Outlook Conference will be offered virtually, free of charge. Information about all sessions and registration can be found at: go.osu.edu/aedeoutlook.