MU Breimyer Conference takes on broader economic topics, Sept. 6-7

What was called the Breimyer Conference will be held Sept. 6-7 in Columbia, Mo. However, it has expanded to cover more economic topics. The meeting gives more details on complex economics of farming. Called the “Agribusiness and Policy Symposium,” the new two-day version covers many University of Missouri research studies.

“The audience expands,” says MU economist Scott Brown. “We’ll get our arms around more ideas. It still benefits farmers, but also businesses, communities, government, policymakers and decision-makers.”

Originally Harold Breimyer started the meeting. He was a former USDA economist who finished his career as an MU professor of policy. For years, he stuck to outlook and policy issues, often covering the next farm bill being written in the U.S. Congress.

Now, current faculty will be joined by out-of-state speakers. The theme is “Strategic Thinking in Uncertain Times.”

The opening keynote talk is by Mike Boland, professor at the Food Industry Center, University of Minnesota. He will tell “Global Trends Affecting Agribusiness Retailers.” He will connect that back to farm production.

A second keynoter, the next morning, will be former USDA chief economist Joe Glauber, Washington, D.C. His talk is “Whither Multilateralism?”

An early talk will be by Richard Fordyce, director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture, Jefferson City. He will give “The Current State of Play in Missouri Agriculture.”

Welcomes will be given by sponsors. That includes Dean Tom Payne of the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.

From MU Extension will be the newly arrived Marshall Stewart, vice chancellor.

Most talks are by MU economic researchers. First up is Mike Cook, MU professor of cooperative leadership. He will cover “Changing Agribusiness Organizational Structures.”

The afternoon research covers “Newcomers in the Heartland.” Corinne Valdivia, associate professor, will tell her findings on immigrants working amongst us.

Next will be Nicholas Kalaitzandonakes, MU professor and Soybean Merchandising Council Endowed Chair. He looks ahead two decades for ag industry changes.

After dinner, Randy Westgren, MU professor of entrepreneurial leadership, will talk on the beef supply chain. His title: “Bullwhips and Branding: Managing Risks and Returns.”

After breakfast on Sept. 7, Joe Parcell, MU department chair, leads off the discussions. There will be “rapid fire” talks.

Linda Sowers, MU instructor, follows with “Sales Strategies for Everyone.”

Laura McCann and Ray Massey, both MU professors, will cover the environment.

Quick takes on price outlooks will be given by MU economists Joe Horner, dairy; Pat Westhoff, MU FAPRI; and Scott Brown, livestock.

There will be a wrap-up discussion followed by box lunches. Those can be taken on the road, or participants can stay to visit.

The group meets at the Courtyard Marriott Conference Center.

For detailed agenda and meeting registration, go to or search the web for “MU Conference Office Agribusiness.” Or call (573) 882-2429. The email is [email protected].

Rooms are available at the Marriott at 3301 Lemone Industrial Blvd. in southeast Columbia off Highway 63. The MU registration fee covers sessions and lunches and dinner.

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