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USDA’s top economist to speak at CALS on Sept. 24

Joe Glauber is the USDA”s top “good news, bad news” guy, and since he
took the job last year he”s delivered plenty of both.

As the USDA”s chief economist, Glauber heads the office that issues
crop outlook and situation reports that are eagerly awaited and
scrutinized by agricultural producers, processors and commodity
traders throughout the world.

Glauber, who will speak on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus
on Sept. 24, was appointed chief economist in February 2008. At that
time his office was issuing some of its most optimistic reports in
decades.

“People are trying to figure out, is this a new era,” he said in a
March 2008 New York Times article about soaring exports. A year
later, quoted in the same paper, he noted that prices for most
commodities had dropped 40-50 percent and suggested that farm incomes
could drop by as much as 33 percent.

He also made news when he testified before a Senate subcommittee about
the impact of using corn for ethanol production on the price of food.
Bush administration economists had calculated that bioenergy
production accounted for 2-3 percent of the rise in food prices.
Glauber”s staff put the impact at closer to 10 percent.

Glauber will speak about U.S. trade policy and agriculture at a
symposium marking the centennial of the Department of Agricultural and
Applied Economics. He earned his Ph.D. in agricultural economics from
UW-Madison in 1984.

Also speaking at the symposium will be David Kaimowitz, a noted
authority on issues related to the sustainability of natural resources
in the face of globalization and international development. Kaimowitz
is director of the Natural Assets and Sustainability unit at the Ford
Foundation.

Glauber will speak at 8:45 a.m. on September 24. Kaimowitz will speak
at 8:45 a.m. on September 25. The symposium takes place in the
auditorium of the UW-Madison Biotechnology Center, Room 1111, 425
Henry Mall, beginning at 8:30 each day. Both talks are free and open
to the public.

More information on the symposium is available at www.aae.wisc.edu/centennial/