OLD Media Moves

Covering the ag beat

September 8, 2008

Sean Sposito, a student at the University of Missouri, covered a session Tuesday morning at the Society of American Business Editors and Writers fall conference in Kansas City on agriculture economics and filed this report:

The speakers were Missouri professors Jan Duave and Wyatt Thompson. The pupils: business reporters from publications across the country. They ranged from Diana Henriques, of the New York Times, to Diana HenriquesChip Floury, of the Iowa-based Pro Farmer Magazine.

The candid conversation started off on a simple, if not expected, topic: agriculture.

Henriques chimed in: “(It’s) the international cultivation of natural products, usable to human beings.”

Said another SABEW member: It’s “the cultivation of land for the purposes of producing food, not just for (people) but also for animals that we in turn kill for (consumption).”Â

Floury, who was one of work shop’s first panelists, perhaps, summed it up best when he answered in one word: “risk.”

So, it’s not surprising that this particular specialty is made even more separate by government policy, said Duave. Unlike the other commodities, products like sugar are heavily regulated.

But, he added that the study is just a lesson in simple economics.

And, Duave left the class with a tip.

“Many people don’t think about imports as what it does to our resources,” he said. “It adds to them.”Â

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