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Last Updated: 10/18/2021

Agriculture Conference – November 30, 2021

2021 Midwest Agriculture Conference

Electric vehicle production is on the rise, while corn ethanol usage during the pandemic faltered. The role of government is in flux as debates about the Renewable Fuel Standard and other policies continue. What will these factors mean for the future of biofuels, the agriculture industry, and the midwestern economy?

On Tuesday, November 30, 2021, we held a virtual event where we explored the impacts of biofuels on the Midwest and related trends in agriculture. Serving as keynote speaker was Scott H. Irwin, who holds the Laurence J. Norton Chair of Agricultural Marketing in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The keynote speech was followed by an expert panel discussion on how biofuels could impact:

  • Farmer’s cropping plans
  • Farming’s future
  • Greenhouse gas reduction efforts
  • Public health concerns
  • Vehicle and fuel mixes

Through events like this, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago serves the public, fostering economic opportunity and advancing a strong economy for our region and nation.

John Campbell
Managing Director
Ocean Park

John Campbell is a Managing Director of Ocean Park and pioneer in the renewable fuels industry. He was previously responsible for building and operating the first commercial scale biodiesel plant in North America. Campbell also served as USDA Deputy Undersecretary and as a staff member of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees.

Jason Hill
Jason Hill
Professor, Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering
University of Minnesota

Jason Hill is Professor in the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering at the University of Minnesota. His research focuses on the environmental consequences of food, energy, agriculture, and natural resource use from a life-cycle perspective. Dr. Hill received his AB in Biology from Harvard College and his PhD in Plant Biological Sciences from the University of Minnesota.

Scott Irwin
Scott Irwin
Laurence J. Norton Chair of Agricultural Marketing , Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Dr. Scott H. Irwin Irwin is a national and international leader in the field of agricultural economics. His research on commodity markets is widely-cited by other academic researchers and is in high demand among market participants, policymakers, and the media. He is best known for his work on commodity market speculation and biofuels markets.

Natalie Mason
Commercial Area Leader
Gevo

Natalie Mason has served as the Commercial Area Leader for Gevo, Inc. since July 2021. The year prior to joining Gevo, Ms. Mason was the Commodity Manager for Siouxland Energy Cooperative; a 65-million-gallon ethanol facility where she was responsible commodity procurement, sales, and logistics. In previous roles, Ms. Mason was a Corporate Lender for an Ag Bank and did Business Development.

photo of leslie mcgranahan
Leslie McGranahan
Vice President and Director of Regional Research
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

Leslie McGranahan is a vice president and director of regional research in the Economic Research Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Her primary research interests relate to the effects of federal, state, and local government policy on individuals and households. She has written about numerous government programs, including the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit, the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, and the sales tax. She also closely follows regional and national developments in government spending and revenues.

David Oppedahl
David Oppedahl
Senior Business Economist
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

David Oppedahl is a senior business economist in the Economic Research Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. He conducts research on the agricultural sector and rural development, as well as analyzes business conditions and the regional economy. He directs the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago's survey of agricultural banks on agricultural land values and credit conditions and publishes the results in AgLetter—the Chicago Fed's quarterly agricultural publication.

Tuesday, 11/30/21
10:00 AM
Welcome & Opening Remarks
Speaker
Leslie McGranahan, Vice President and Director of Regional Research, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
10:05 AM
Keynote Speaker
Speaker
Scott Irwin, Laurence J. Norton Chair of Agricultural Marketing, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics (ACE), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
10:45 AM
Keynote Q & A Session
Speaker
Scott Irwin, Laurence J. Norton Chair of Agricultural Marketing, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics (ACE), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
11:00 AM
Panel Discussion and Q & A Session
Moderator
David Oppedahl, Senior Business Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
Panelists
Jason Hill, Professor, Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering, University of Minnesota
Natalie Mason, Commercial Area Lead, Gevo
John Campbell, Managing Director, Ocean Park
11:55 AM
Closing Remarks
David Oppedahl, Senior Business Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
Event Information
Date
11/30/21
Location

Virtual

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