“Assessing total factor productivity – the amount of output per unit of total factors, or inputs, used for production – for the entire global agricultural sector provides a more comprehensive picture of changes in resource requirements to produce farm commodities,” said Fuglie. “A 1 percent increase in TFP, for example, means that 1 percent fewer agricultural resources are required to produce a given bundle of crop and livestock outputs.”

While economists have developed estimates of agricultural TFP for most industrialized nations, these measures have only recently become available for major developing countries, he said. ERS has combined country-specific studies together with additional analysis of productivity growth in other regions to construct a global measure of agricultural TFP growth since 1961.

This year’s three-day event is expected to draw 1,100 participants from 65 countries to downtown Des Moines.