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Food and Inflation: Truth and Consequences

Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Holiday Inn, University of Memphis, 3700 Central Avenue Memphis, TN 38111

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Event Detail

Food and Inflation: Truth and Consequences

One of the most pressing issues of our time is the rapid rise in food prices. They were a contributing factor in the Arab Spring which overthrew governments across North Africa. They are the key to rampant inflation in China, India, Brazil and other emerging nations. In the US, steadily rising food and energy prices undermine the concept of core consumer inflation, one focus of the Federal Reserve. Will we run out of food? Or will technology once again answer the call?

The Global Interdependence Center, in conjunction with the Memphis Economics Club and the University of Memphis Fogelman College of Business, is bringing together the world’s experts on agriculture and inflation to discuss these issues. What is the view of the Federal Reserve concerning food inflation, its effects on US monetary policy and the transmission of the policy throughout the world? What is the current state of the supply and demand in the grain and meat markets, and the outlook for 2012? Will technology respond and how will the industry adapt? Is ethanol a boon or a burden to the Agricultural industry and what does the future hold for this alternative energy?

Capping our day long discussion is a keynote dinner presentation by Dennis Gartman, of the Gartman Letter, a renowned expert on commodities and markets often seen on CNBC.

Agriculture is changing as the demands of the Emerging Markets challenge the ability of current technology to meets its needs. Higher prices are the signal, what will be the response? Join us in Memphis February 8th to listen and join in the debate. If you eat, you are already involved!


8:00 am – 8:30 am     Registration

8:30 am – 8:45 am     Welcome Charles McVean, Chairman & CEO, McVean Trading & Investments

8:45 am – 10:15 am     Session I: View from the Federal Reserve
Moderator: Michael McKee, Economics Editor, Bloomberg
Participant: Kevin L. Kliesen, Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, “Commodity Prices and Inflation”
Participant: Dave Altig, Senior Vice President & Director of Research, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
Participant: Michael Bryan, Vice President & Senior Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

10:15 am – 10:30 am  Coffee Break

10:30 am – 12:00 pm  Session II: “Can World Farmers and High Prices Keep Up With Demand?”
Speaker: Dan Basse, President, Ag Resources

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm   Lunch sponsored by McVean Trading & Investments, LLC

1:00 pm – 1:30 pm      Session III: The Meat of the Issue
Speaker: Dan Halstrom, Senior VP Global Marketing and Communications, US Meat Export Federation

1:30 pm – 2:00 pm     Session IV
Speaker: C. Bailey Ragan, Vice President, Grain, Biofuels & Fertilizer, Bunge North America

2:00 pm – 2:15 pm     Coffee Break

2:15 pm – 3:45 pm     Session V: Ethanol and the Future of Alternative Energy
Moderator: Michael Drury, Chief Economist, McVean Trading & Investments, LLC
Participant: Hal Reed, President, Grain and Ethanol Group, The Andersons
Participant: David Pimental, Cornell Emeritus Professor
Participant: Randall W. Powell, Program Manager for Biobased Products, BioDimensions, Inc.

3:45 pm                          Conclusion

6:00 pm – 7:00pm                    Reception with The Memphis Economics Club
7:00 pm – 8:30 pm                   Dinner with speaker Dennis Gartman, Editor, The Gartman Letter
“Food, Fuel, and the Fed: A Trader’s Perspective on the Capital Markets”

Event Location

Date: Wednesday, February 8, 2012 City: Memphis Holiday Inn, University of Memphis Download iCal


Dennis Gartman

Editor and Publisher, The Gartman Letter

Mr. Gartman has been directly involved in the capital markets since August of 1974, after his graduate work at the North Carolina State University. He was an economist for Cotton, Inc. in the early 1970’s, analyzing cotton supply/demand in the US textile industry. From there he went to NCNB National Bank in Charlotte, North Carolina where he traded foreign exchange and money market instruments. In the late 70’s, Mr. Gartman became the Chief Financial Futures analyst for A.G. Becker & Company in Chicago, Illinois. Mr. Gartman was an independent member of the Chicago Board of Trade until 1984, trading in treasury bond, treasury note and GNMA futures contracts. In 1984, Mr. Gartman moved to Virginia to run the futures brokerage operation for the Sovran Bank, and in 1987 Mr. Gartman began producing The Gartman Letter on a full time basis. He continues to do so today.

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Dan Halstrom

Senior Vice President, U.S. Meat Export Federation

Dan joined USMEF in 2010 after 26 years in the meat industry with Swift & Company, which operated over the years under the names of Monfort of Colorado, ConAgra Beef Company and, finally, JBS.

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Kevin Kliesen

Business Economist and Research Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Kevin L. Kliesen is a business economist and Bank Officer in the Research Division at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

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Michael Drury

Chief Economist, McVean Trading & Investments

Michael Drury is the chief economist for McVean Trading & Investments, LLC. He joined the firm in 1992, after serving for five years as senior economist with Allen Sinai at Shearson Lehman Brothers and its successor firms. Michael began his career in New York in 1982 as senior economist at A. Gary Shilling and Company. He received his B.S. in economics from the Georgia Institute of Technology and did his graduate work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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David Pimentel, Ph.D.

David Pimentel is a professor of ecology and agricultural sciences at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. His Ph.D. is from Cornell University and had postdoctoral research at the University of Chicago, MIT, and fellowship at Oxford University (England). He was awarded a distinguished honorary degree from the University of Massachusetts.

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C. Bailey Ragan

C. Bailey Ragan is a vice president responsible for grain, biofuels and fertilizer for Bunge North America. Mr. Ragan joined Bunge in 1981 as procurement manager at the soybean processing facility in Decatur, AL when Bunge purchased the plant from Goldkist. Within two years, he was promoted to commercial manager.

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Randall W. Powell, Ph.D.

Randall “Randy” Powell is the Program Manager for Biobased Products at BioDimensions, Inc. where he oversees the interface between agricultural production and processing of alternative crops and downstream technologies related to advanced bio fuels and green chemicals.

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David E. Altig, Ph.D.

Executive Vice President and Director of Research, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Dr. David E. Altig is executive vice president and director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. In addition to advising the Bank president on monetary policy and related matters, Dr. Altig oversees the Bank’s regional executives and the Bank’s research department.

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Michael Bryan

Vice President and Senior Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Mike Bryan is a vice president and senior economist in the Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. He is responsible for organizing the Atlanta Fed’s monetary policy process.

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