Published on 03/30/04

Noted economist to give Ziemer lecture April 14

By Cat Holmes
University of Georgia

John Baffes, a senior economist in the Development Prospects Group of the World Bank, will present the University of Georgia Rod Ziemer lecture, "Experience with decoupling agricultural support," April 14 in Athens, Ga.

The lecture is part of the University of Georgia department of agricultural and applied economics celebration of its 75th anniversary, which includes the lecture, banquet and golf tournament April 14-16.

"To celebrate our 75th anniversary, we wanted to bring back alumni who have really distinguished themselves in the field of agricultural and applied economics," said department head Fred White.

"John Baffes is a well-known expert in global economic analysis," White said. "His lecture should be of great interest to anyone following agricultural economics today."

Baffes received his Master's degree from the UGA agricultural and applied economics department in 1986. He will speak on two recent economic trends in agriculture: decoupling agricultural support and one-time buyouts.

Agricultural support, until the mid-1990s, meant farmers received payments from the government directly related to their current production. Unfortunately, this could encourage farmers to over- or underproduce.

In the '90s, many governments agreed to stop these payments and decoupled agricultural support from current production. Baffes will provide an overview of the current situation in various countries.

One-time buyouts were implemented after the government did away with quotas for commodities such as peanuts. Because these quotas had value, the government reimburses quota holders for the loss. Baffes will speak directly about peanut buyouts, which should be of particular interest to Georgia farmers.

The lecture will be at 2:30 p.m. April 14 in Room K of the Georgia Center for Continuing Education. A reception will follow.

The department's annual spring banquet, "Conner Connects – A 75th Anniversary Celebration" will be the following evening, April 15. It will begin at 7 p.m. at the Georgia State Botanical Gardens in Athens. The cost is $17 per person. Reservations should be made by April 7.

The Friday, April 16, finale of the three-day celebration is the Tom Frazier Golf Tournament. The tournament is named in honor of a former faculty member who, at 87, still plays golf five days a week.

The Lauderdale-style tournament's first tee time is 8:30 a.m. The $45 entry fee covers green fee, cart fee and range balls. Reservations should be made by April 7.

For reservations for the banquet or golf tournament, call (706) 542-2481 by April 7.

(Cat Holmes is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

Cat Holmes was a science writer with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.