Terrorist act could hurt US agriculture, support programs

September 17, 2001

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Terrorist attacks in New York and at the Pentagon could affect United States agriculture should the economy slow further or if Congress shifts money from commodity support programs to national security, say Purdue University agricultural economists.

Philip Paarlberg, a specialist in international agriculture trade, said the financial fallout to American farmers from Tuesday's (9/11) attacks could be substantial.

"One of the issues is that the global economy is weak. Some people feel it is in a recession," Paarlberg said. "Does this make that worse? Probably so. To what extent is a little bit premature to determine. New York was a major international finance and commerce center. These facilities are now offline for the foreseeable future.

"The other issue is redirection of U.S. federal spending. Beefed up security, air strikes or whatever military action they choose to take, is going to cost money. The federal budget now is tight, unlike a few years ago, and so they would have to find this money someplace."

Some of that money could come from farm programs, said Otto Doering, a farm policy specialist.

Doering said work on the 2002 farm bill likely will be postponed, as Congress turns its attention to protecting U.S. citizens from future terrorist acts. Until Tuesday's tragic events unfolded, leaders in the U.S. House and Senate were locked in a political battle over farm bill provisions and spending. Not now, Doering said.

"This has changed the whole set of priorities about what is important and what is not important, and the ag bill is at the bottom of the list right now," Doering said.

The House crafted a 10-year, $75 billion farm bill heavy on subsidies. House leaders hoped to begin debate on the bill this week. The Senate has not yet drafted a bill, but leaders have said they intend to tie many support payments to conservation practices.

Both houses of Congress would have to agree on a final bill before the president could sign it into law. The deadline for passing farm legislation in order to lock in the $75 billion set aside for commodities programs is April 15, 2002.

"I think events Tuesday take pressure off the Senate leadership to pass a bill they don't like," Doering said. "What they can say now is, 'We have a national emergency, and farmers are taken care of for this year. We've got until 2002 to pass a bill, and we may have less money to spend after April 15.'"

As Washington considers how to retaliate against terrorist groups and the nations harboring them, lawmakers should think carefully before imposing trade embargoes, Paarlberg said.

"The success of embargoes -- and we've had a number of them over the years -- depends on getting the cooperation of all suppliers," Paarlberg said. "In the case of the 1980 embargo of the Soviet Union, Argentina chose not to join with the U.S. and the other countries. And so, consequently, the Soviets were able to replace embargoed grain with Argentine grain and other products to get around the embargo."

The longest U.S. embargo -- placed on Cuba more than 40 years ago when Fidel Castro rose to power -- has not stopped Cuba from importing goods from other sources, including wheat from Canada, Paarlberg said.

"Other embargoes, like the ones against South Africa and Iraq, had a broader coalition of participants who were more interested in actually stopping the flow of grain, reducing smuggling and third-party suppliers," he said.

Should it be determined that Tuesday's terrorist acts originated in the Middle East, a unilateral U.S. trade embargo of nations in that region might go virtually unnoticed.

American agricultural exports to Middle East nations are small compared to major U.S. trading partners, Paarlberg said. For example, the United States exported nearly 30 million metric tons of wheat worldwide in 1999, of which only about 2 million metric tons was shipped to the Middle East.

Exports of course grains -- corn, barley, oats, rye, sorghum and millet -- are greater to Japan than the entire Middle East, Paarlberg said.

"We export 17 to 18 million metric tons of course grains to Japan and about 3 to 4 million metric tons to the Middle East," Paarlberg said.
Sources: Philip Paarlberg, 765-494-4251; paarlberg@agecon.purdue.edu
Otto Doering, 765-494-4226; doering@agecon.purdue.edu

Writer: Steve Leer, 765-494-8415; sleer@aes.purdue.edu

Purdue University
News Service
1132 Engineering Administration Building
West Lafayette, IN 47907-1132
Voice: 765-494-2096
FAX: 765-494-0401

Purdue University

Related Leaders Articles from Brightsurf:

How narcissistic leaders infect their organizations' cultures
Like carriers of a virus, narcissistic leaders ''infect'' the very cultures of their organizations, leading to dramatically lower levels of collaboration and integrity at all levels--even after they are gone.

How scientific leaders can enact anti-racist action in their labs
A new paper provides 10 steps that principal investigators (PIs) and research group leaders can follow to help cultivate anti-racist professional and learning environments.

Children hold leaders primarily responsible, not entitled
Researchers explored how young children conceptualize leadership, specifically whether they view leaders primarily as more entitled individuals or more responsible individuals, relative to non-leaders.

Study: New leaders emerge as organizations go to virtual work spaces
The study found that in face-to-face gatherings, team members value those with 'classic' leadership characteristics, such as extroversion and intelligence, but in virtual settings, those qualities take a backseat to those who take action.

Leaders call for 'Moonshot' on nutrition research
Leading nutrition and food policy experts outline a bold case for strengthening federal nutrition research in a live interactive session as part of NUTRITION 2020 LIVE ONLINE, a virtual conference hosted by the American Society for Nutrition (ASN).

Randomly selecting leaders could prove to be a remedy for hubris
History shows us that power tends to corrupt; a team of Swiss and German researchers have recently examined historical examples of large-scale business fraud and misconduct at the highest-levels of government in order to highlight how leaders sometimes lose all sense of morality.

Infants expect leaders to right wrongs, study finds
Infants 17 months of age expect leaders -- but not others -- to intervene when one member of their group transgresses against another, a new study reveals.

Strongman leaders make for weak economies, study finds
Autocratic leaders are often credited with purposefully delivering good economic outcomes, but new research challenges that long-held assumption.

Government and NHS leaders could do more to encourage collaborative relationships between healthcare
The Nuffield Council on Bioethics has published a briefing note outlining the factors that can contribute to disagreements between parents and healthcare staff about the care and treatment of critically ill babies and young children.

In small groups, people follow high-performing leaders
Researchers at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering have cracked the code on how leaders arise from small groups of people over time.

Read More: Leaders News and Leaders Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.