An Evaluation of CBOs Baseline Projections of USDA Mandatory Farm and Nutrition Programs

RESCHEDULED - Wednesday, October 26th, 3:30 pm (Eastern)

Hari Regmi and Todd Keuthe, Purdue University "

"An Evaluation of Congressional Budget Office’s Baseline Projections of USDA Mandatory Farm and Nutrition Programs"

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The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projections of USDA mandatory farm and nutrition program outlays play a vital role in shaping agricultural policy and in agricultural policy debates. However, these projections have not been rigorously evaluated. Using CBO projections and realized values from 1985 through 2020, we examine the degree to which projections of farm, supplemental nutrition assistance, and child nutrition program outlays are unbiased, efficient, and informative. We find that projections for farm and child nutrition program outlays are unbiased. Supplemental nutrition assistance program outlays are unbiased at short horizons but are downward bias beyond a three-year horizon. We find that all three series of projections are inefficient. The projections for supplemental nutrition assistance and child nutrition program outlays are informative up to five-year projection horizon, but the farm program outlay projections are informative for only a one-year horizon. Disaggregate farm program outlay projections since 2008 further suggest that the un-informativeness principally stems from conservation program projections. The findings may provide valuable insights for CBO to improve future projections and assist projection users, including policymakers, to adjust expectations and future Farm Bill discussions.

Hari Regmi Bio:

Hari is a PhD candidate at the department of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana. Hari completed a master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 2020. Hari previously worked for the Ministry of Agricultural Development in Nepal for about eight years (2010-2018). Hari’s primary research interests include various aspects of agricultural policy, forecast evaluation related to agricultural policy, and farmer technology adoption decisions. For his dissertation, Hari is working on evaluation of long-term agricultural projections.

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