By Blair Fannin
Attendees at the Texas A&M University department of agricultural economics tailgate program recently heard experts discuss the future of U.S. farm programs and agricultural trade, while sharing fellowship over food and drink prior to the Aggies win over the University of South Carolina.
The tailgate program has become an annual tradition, providing the opportunity for former students to return to A&M and hear more about farm issues affecting policy and the economy, said Dr. Parr Rosson, department head.
“It’s a great opportunity for our former students to come back to A&M and catch up on important issues farmers and ranchers are facing in Texas, and at the same time see old friends and enjoy a networking opportunity with our current students,” Rosson said. “We’d like to thank the many individuals who sponsored our tailgate activities as we had more than 650 take part in making this another successful event.”
Dr. Joe Outlaw, co-director of the Agricultural and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M in College Station and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service economist, provided an update on agricultural policy. Outlaw said current issues include NAFTA and overall agricultural trade, heightened consumer interest in how food is produced, immigration and labor, low crop prices and the debate over the next farm bill.
Dr. Luis Ribera, director of the Center for North American Studies at Texas A&M and AgriLife Extension economist, College Station, discussed the importance of agricultural trade and the U.S. farm economy.
“The U.S. is the largest agricultural exporter with $135 billion worth of exports in 2016,” Ribera said. “Exports account for about 35 percent of agricultural income. U.S. imports totaled $115 billion in 2016, so both exports and imports contribute significant economic impacts.”