USDA Updates U.S. Ag Export Forecast Amid NAFTA Worries

In fiscal year 2017, U.S. agricultural exports totaled $140.5 billion, representing the third-highest level on record.  In its quarterly export forecast in August, USDA indicated that fiscal year 2018 agricultural exports were projected at $139.0 billion.  However, in its latest quarterly forecast, released late last month, USDA increased the fiscal year 2018 export projection by $1.0 billion.  Today's update examines the latest export forecast in more detail, and looks briefly at recent NAFTA news items pertaining to agriculture, including a report from the Nebraska Farm Bureau.
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EPA: Recent Perspectives on RFS and Agriculture

Recall that in December of 2016, agricultural policy observers expressed some measure of unease with President-elect Donald Trump's pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt.  As The Wall Street Journal stated at the time, "After campaigning as a strong supporter of the use of ethanol and other biofuels in the nation’s gasoline supply, President-elect Donald Trump has chosen a forceful adversary of those federal requirements to implement them."  Nearly one year later, today's update looks briefly at recent EPA action on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), and Administrator Pruitt's visit to Iowa on Friday.
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2017 U.S. Farm Income Forecast- November Update

On Wednesday, the USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) released its November 2017 Farm Income Forecast.   This follows the August revision of the initial net farm income forecast released by ERS in February.  The USDA will release one more revision of the 2017 net farm income forecast in February 2018, and the 2017 official estimates will be released in August 2018.  Today’s update provides a recap of highlights from the farm income forecast.
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A Focus on Corn Belt Ag Exports; NAFTA Update

A FarmPolicyNews update last week pointed to recent USDA information pertaining to the aggregate value of U.S. agricultural exports, and how these trade flows have changed over the past two decades.  A recent article from Iowa State University looked more narrowly at recent trade trends pertaining to four specific agricultural sectors: beef, pork, corn, and soybeans.  Today’s summary looks at these issues in more detail, along with a brief update on the NAFTA renegotiations.
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Farm Bill Update: Perspective from Chairman Conaway and Chairman Roberts

Last week, Don Wick, a farm broadcaster from the Red River Farm Network (Grand Forks, N.D.), sat down with several lawmakers on Capitol Hill to discuss current Farm Bill issues.  Notably, he spoke with both the Chairman of the House Ag Committee, Mike Conaway, as well as the Senate Ag Committee Chairman Pat Roberts.  Today's update includes key elements from these lawmaker conversations with the Red River Farm Network.
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U.S. Ag Exports Remain Strong, But Global Share Declines as Destinations Have Changed (NAFTA, China)

U.S. agricultural exports in fiscal year 2017 increased over $10 billion to the third-highest level on record.  Although the U.S. remains the second largest exporter of agricultural goods in the world, the share of U.S. agricultural exports has fallen from 23 percent of global value in 1995 to 12.5 percent in 2013.  Nonetheless, U.S. agricultural exports to NAFTA countries and to China have increased since 1995, highlighting the importance of these regions to U.S. agricultural trade.  Today's update looks at these issues in more detail, along with a brief update on the NAFTA renegotiations.
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Rural America: Perspective from USDA Report, and Federal Reserve Ag Credit Survey

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its annual Rural America at a Glance report, which summarizes the status of conditions and trends in rural areas. In addition, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis recently provided details of its third quarter Agricultural Credit Conditions Survey, which follows on the heels of recent third quarter agricultural reports from four other federal reserve districts. Together, the USDA report and Minneapolis Fed update, provide some interesting perspective on the state of non-metro America.
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Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis: Impacts of Summer Drought in the Plains

An update last week from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis ("The worst they've ever seen," by Ashwini Sankar) explored some of the lingering impacts of this summer's severe drought in Montana and the Dakotas. The article noted that, "Recent heavy rains have brought relief to drought-stricken parts of the Ninth District, but months of dryness have exacted a heavy toll on crops, cattle herds and natural resources that is likely to weigh upon regional and local economies for months to come."
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