Terry Barr

Senior Director, Knowledge Exchange

Terry Barr, a nationally recognized agricultural economist, is senior director for the CoBank Knowledge Exchange Division, an information- and knowledge-sharing initiative created in 2009. Knowledge Exchange draws on the expertise and insights of customers, experts within the bank, and people from across the Farm Credit System to develop industry-specific strategic information and research.

Before joining Knowledge Exchange, Dr. Barr served as chief economist for the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining NCFC, he held several positions during a 14-year tenure at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He served as chairman of the World Agricultural Outlook Board, which is responsible for coordinating the USDA commodity forecasts and for publishing its monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates. He also served in the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture as director of economic analysis, where he prepared economic analyses and assessments of the impacts of alternative farm policy options and decisions.

Dr. Barr holds a doctorate in economics from Washington State University.


Help Wanted

August 2018

Part of the rural labor shortage story is best told through statistics and trends. But to gain a more full picture of how labor challenges are affecting businesses, it is best to hear directly from those meeting the challenges head on.

The risk of an escalating trade war is the greatest threat to the U.S. and agricultural economies in the near term. Nearly 70 percent of U.S. agricultural exports are sold to destinations that are under active negotiations or embroiled in trade disputes.

After nearly a decade of record-low interest rates, the market environment is changing. The ongoing strength of the U.S. economy amid the second-longest expansion since WWII is stirring inflation. With the U.S. economy widely expected to continue growing into 2019, the Federal Reserve is expected to continue on a path of gradual rate increases to stem rising inflation and prepare for the next recession. Meanwhile, surging U.S. government debt is pushing yields on longer-dated bonds higher, thereby raising long-term rates as well.
An impending trade war, continued large global supplies, and negotiations over a new farm bill and tax extenders continue to present challenges for U.S. agriculture and farmer cooperatives. Reduced harvests in Argentina and potential droughts in some parts of the U.S. have steadied grain and oilseed market prices but there remains a potential for significant volatility.
Global and U.S. economic prospects appear to have taken a turn for the better during Q1-2012, reflecting renewed optimism as well as an easing in the contagion risks that have dominated earlier economic assessments. The European and U.S. economies seem to be on steadier footings, although they each still face ongoing risks and challenges. Meanwhile, China and other emerging economies are attempting to transition from weaker export growth to stronger internal demand.
The major global economies are now undergoing significant economic transitions. The U.S., Europe and China are in the process of realigning their economies to the new economic and geopolitical realities. This process will mean major structural shifts over the next few years, and the magnitude and pace of these transitions will drive U.S. and global economic potential.
Analysts are becoming increasingly concerned about the medium-term global economic outlook. Annual global economic growth is now projected to slow to less than 4 percent in the next 12-18 months. Much of Europe is enmeshed in a recession, and the European banking system is less and less willing and able to extend credit. The U.S. is wrestling with its own debt problems.