Rural Economy: Farm Income, Manufacturing- Both Important Variables

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) indicated in a news release last week that, "State personal income grew 0.7 percent on average in the second quarter of 2017, after increasing 1.4 percent in the first quarter, according to estimates released [Tuesday] by [BEA]." However, the release added that, "Farm earnings declined for the nation and in every state in the second quarter and was the leading contributor to slow earnings growth in many states."
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Senate Farm Bill Hearing, Rural Development- Broadband Access, Opioid Epidemic Noted

On Thursday, the Senate Agriculture Committee held its ninth Farm Bill hearing where the panel turned its attention to rural development and energy programs.  Recall that a House Agriculture Subcommittee explored similar issues back in March.  Today's update provides a brief overview of yesterday's hearing with particular focus on rural broadband Internet access and the opioid epidemic, two issues that were raised by lawmakers.
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“Drowning In Grain”- Reuters Special Report on the Global Grains Glut

Reuters writer Rod Nickel reported yesterday that, "On Canada’s fertile Prairies, dominated by the yellows and golds of canola and wheat, summers are too short to grow corn on a major scale. But Monsanto Co is working to develop what it hopes will be North America’s fastest-maturing corn, allowing farmers to grow more in Western Canada and other inhospitable climates, such as Ukraine...The question, amid historically high supplies and low grain prices, is whether the world really needs more corn."
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FAO Report: Global Hunger is on the Rise Again

An update on Friday from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations indicated that, "After steadily declining for over a decade, global hunger is on the rise again, affecting 815 million people in 2016, or 11 percent of the global population, says a new edition of the annual United Nations report on world food security and nutrition released today. At the same time, multiple forms of malnutrition are threatening the health of millions worldwide."
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Farmland Values From 2017 Iowa Land Survey; NASS Cash Rent County Estimates

Donnelle Eller reported on the front page of Friday's Des Moines Register that, "After three years of decline, Iowa farmland values bumped nearly 3 percent higher this year, but experts say it's unlikely a signal the ag downturn has turned a corner. Iowa farmland values are climbing because of limited supply of farms for sale, outweighing concerns about low corn and soybean prices that drive income from the land, experts say."
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Senate Ag Committee Farm Bill Hearing: SNAP Quality Control Issues

On Thursday, the Senate Agriculture Committee held a Farm Bill hearing that focused on nutrition programs and the 2018 Farm Bill.  This was the Committee's eighth Farm Bill hearing, and followed field hearings in both Kansas and Michigan, as well as Committee meetings on the farm economy, agricultural research, conservation issues and commodity, credit, and crop insurance programs.  The hearing focused on fraud in the SNAP program (food stamps), and specifically highlighted program payment error rates and misreporting of program costs by some states.
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