The House Agriculture Committee heard testimony Thursday from a panel of three economic analysts about recent developments in the farm economy affecting short-term and long-term trends in prices and farm output. The committee also discussed rising input costs from energy prices, rising land and labor costs, and the effects of new product development like biofuels.

"A lot of us on this committee have seen with our own eyes how agriculture has changed in recent times and how it is changing today," said Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson of Minnesota. "The hearing was helpful to this committee in getting a picture of the overall agricultural landscape as we examine what current prices and trends may mean for the future."

"Even though energy has received much attention, it should not be our only focus," said Ranking Republican Bob Goodlatte of Virginia.  "We heard about a number of factors that are influencing the agriculture economy including commodity prices, weather/drought, the declining dollar, and production problems domestically and abroad,” he added.   “It is critical that this committee understand the big picture so that we can put policies in place that allow all of our constituents to compete in an ever-changing global marketplace."

Witnesses included:
. Dr. Keith Collins, Chief Economist, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.
. Dr. Howard Gruenspecht, Deputy Administrator, Energy Information Administration, U.S. Department of Energy, Washington, D.C.
. Dr. Pat Westhoff, Research Associate Professor, Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute, Columbia, Missouri

Witness testimony is available on the Committee website: http://agriculture.house.gov/hearings/index.html.
Source: Ag Press