Dr. Keith Coble 4

Dr. Keith Coble presents as the guest speaker for 2018's James C. Snyder Memorial Lecture.

Ej Lee | Staff Photographer

“My goal is to become ‘Purdue South,’” said Keith Coble, professor of agricultural economics at Mississippi State University, eliciting laughs from his audience in Krannert Auditorium.

Provost Jay Akridge introduced Coble at the annual James C. Snyder Memorial Lecture on Friday with a touch of nostalgia, commenting on the fact that he has previously worked as a professor of agricultural economics.

Coble, the distinguished lecturer, talked about agricultural economics, detailing how the United States has passed bills that affect the average farmer. Coble is currently the head of the department of agricultural economics at Mississippi State University, has testified before congressional committees and has penned over 85 publications, according to his biography on the MSU website.

Coble covered a wide range of topics on agriculture and economics, but he especially emphasized the rise of crop insurance over the past several decades.

“Crop insurance has become more important,” Coble said. “Remember that in 2000 we were writing separate crop insurance legislation because crop insurance was legislation you did in the ag committees when you weren’t writing the farm bill. This was the off-farm bill year thing to do. In 2014 when I was chief economist for Senator Thad Cochran on the committee, you could not score Title I, the traditional programs, without scoring the crop insurance title at the same time.”

This kind of policy has always been important to Coble, which can be seen by a 1993 dissertation that entirely focused on crop insurance.

Now, however, Coble spreads knowledge on governmental regulation to his students in Mississippi, where he concentrates on agricultural policy, insurance and risk management.

“Markets matter. Trades matter,” Coble emphasized.

The wife of the late Snyder, whom the lectures are in memorial of, was also in attendance, and she commented on the wonderful weather that West Lafayette residents got to experience at the tail-end of the week.

“I’m thankful that the cold weather is about over,” Mary Ruth Snyder said, clutching a bouquet of tulips she received during the lecture, which ended the day-long event.

Coble had a few pieces of advice for students who may be interested in agricultural economics as a future college or even career choice.

“One of the things that I see,” Coble said, “is that while we have plenty of food in the United States, there are people all over the world that are hungry, and finding a way to produce the food that the world needs and do so in a way that doesn’t destroy the environment — those are going to be tough, complicated choices.

“And those are fascinating challenges.”

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