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MU establishes Rural and Farm Finance Policy Analysis Center

The University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR) has formed a new Rural and Farm Finance Policy Analysis Center (RaFF). The center will study how policies and agricultural markets affect farm and rural finances by U.S. region.

RaFF will work closely with the College’s Food and Agricul­tural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI), which provides objec­tive policy and market analysis at the national level. By taking a regional approach to its analysis, however, RaFF will assess financial conditions with detail not available from a national view. A region’s climate, available market opportunities, tech­nology adoption and other factors can shape how it weathers challenges and responds to opportunities.

RaFF will make its unbiased regional analysis available to Congress, which can use the information to better understand how policies and markets affect rural people and communities.

One project the center will undertake involves developing forward-looking farm income estimates by state, said Sarah Low, director of RaFF and associate professor of regional eco­nomics in MU’s Division of Applied Social Sciences. The center will also create and disseminate briefings throughout the year, highlighting timely rural or agricultural issues. The first briefing focuses on agriculture’s contribution to the rural economy.

“We are not developing policies or proposals,” Low said. “We are providing unbiased analysis for policymakers. This will hopefully help them better understand what is happening in rural and farm communities.”

Along with Low, the center has a collection of contributors who will dedicate part of their time to the center. She said these individuals are passionate about modeling as well as farm and rural communities.

The center has been in the works for several years, Low said. FAPRI identified a need to expand its national analysis and track how policies and markets affect regions across the U.S.

“We’re looking to build our network of collaborators and ideas for the issue briefings series,” Low said. “I love policy and helping rural communities. That is where my passion truly lies.”

For more information about the Rural and Farm Finance Poli­cy Analysis Center, visit online at

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