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One of a Kind: J. Carroll Bottum

I have enjoyed writing recently about four retired professors who had a major influence on me both professionally and personally when I was a graduate student at Purdue. Next up is J. Carroll Bottum, known just as “Carroll.” He first joined the Purdue Ag Econ Department in 1928, so he had been there over 50 years when…

A Story of Redemption in Ag Economics

In a previous post, I talked about how a group of four retired ag econ professors had such a big impact on me when I was in grad school at Purdue. Today, I want to relay an interesting story of redemption involving one of the four: Dr. Earl Butz. If memory serves, he was the…

Who Do I Want to Be Like When I Grow Up Professionally?

When I consider that classic question from a professional academic perspective I am amazed that my answer has not changed in over 40 years. To understand you have to go back to my graduate school days at Purdue. The entire time I was there from 1980-1985 there was a group of highly distinguished retired ag…

Tarnished Gold: My All-Time Favorite Paper on Ag Policy

“Tarnished Gold: Fifty Years of New Deal Farm Programs” by Don Paarlberg was written in 1987. It is a withering critique of farm income support programs and one of the last papers written by Don, a long-time Purdue prof, and writer of extraordinary skill. Here is the link: https://lnkd.in/gV2NyDee I actually had the good fortune to…

The Golden Number for Illinois Agriculture

What is the golden number for Illinois agriculture? I ask this question every year to the students in my commodity price analysis class. It’s guaranteed to be on the final exam. The golden number I have in mind is 4, as in 4 inches of precipitation in July. The attached chart shows trend deviations for…