Pat Westoff on biofuels and food prices, soya trade, commodity speculation, US farm profit and land values

If there are high petroleum prices then the price of oil will determine the price of food. But if oil prices stay at current levels or drop then only policy measures will keep up biofuel production. That is one conclusion from the work of Pat Westhoff and his colleagues at the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI), at the University of Missouri.

The institute models what is happening in US agriculture and the likely effects of different policy options and production scenarios. This work provides a direct input to the US Congress to aid in the decision making there. They do not make recommendations but only say would happen based on different scenarios.

They recently published their latest US Baseline Briefing Book of Projections for Agricultural and Biofuel Markets. The models they use took years to develop and that for the baseline study has some 2050 equations and is run 50 times. I talked to Pat about trends in biofuels, their impact on food prices, as well as trends in soya trade and farm profitability in the US and you can listen to the interview here.

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About geofftansey

I curate the Food Systems Academy, a free, on-line, open education resource to transform our food systems. I am also a member of the Food Ethics Council and chaired the Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty, which reported in 2015.
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