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What's on the Ag Radar Screen for 2021?

Hi, I'm Dr. Dave Kohl, Professor Emeritus, Agriculture Economics and Academic Hall of Famer from Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia. The theme today is, what's on the radar screen for 2021?

I've got five things that I'd really like to discuss. First of all, is minimum wage. I think the minimum wage going to $15 an hour is very dangerous because one of the things that it'll do is it'll be a very, very critical to small business, and small business and entrepreneurship is what build America. Your larger businesses, like Walmart and Amazon, can absorb those costs. Also, those organizations will automate. And so, one of the things is it could be very, very detrimental, and create business consolidation.

Second area is to look at our oil and energy complex. One of the things after 9/11, the United States said, "We're going to be the major energy producer by 2025." Well, we did it in 10 years. And we did it through a series of base hits, ranging from ethanol to fracking to wind to solar power. It's going to be interesting to watch, to see if that energy complex is unraveled. If it does, then it's going to put the power to Russia and OPEC and it will create extreme volatility in energy prices.

Another element is taxes, taxes and taxes. Expect your taxes to go up. Local, state, federal taxes, but for agriculture, we've got to watch the wealth tax. So a good accountant understands agriculture will be critical.

The other aspect is, will we see de-urbanization continue? It's definitely starting now, and one of the things that will be interesting, our new neighbors in rural America may be different in five years, 10 years from now.

And then finally, we've got to watch regulation. We may not have many new regulation, but there'll be swagger with the regulators in the areas of Environmental, Labor, FDA, Banking and Financial services.

So again, it's going to be interesting, and these will be elements that we'll have to manage around, as we manage our business for 2021 and beyond. See you the next time.

Dr. David


Professor of Agriculture
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