Secretary Perdue Visits Iowa- Discusses Trade, RFS

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue visited an Iowa farm on Friday and took questions from producers. In his remarks, Secretary Perdue addressed a number of issues; today's update focuses more narrowly on his comments relating to trade and biofuels. Also, Secretary Perdue was in Arkansas on Sunday to survey flood damage with Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson.
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Prices Concern Farmers and Ag Lenders; Sec. Perdue Comments on NAFTA; Spring Weather Causes Havoc

Today's update looks briefly at the U.S. agricultural economy from a variety of perspectives. A recent news report has shown that some Corn Belt producers may be losing money from farming this year, while a survey of agricultural lenders this month demonstrates that many are concerned about commodity prices, liquidity and farm income. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has stated that U.S. farmers won't be worse off if NAFTA is renegotiated, and adverse weather conditions continue to adversely impact farmers and ranchers in the Nation's midsection.
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Low Farm Prices Impacting Ag Economy– Will Executive Branch Trade Policy Help?

A recent article from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis discussed the downward economic trajectory that has impacted the U.S. farm economy in recent years. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, in remarks this week to USDA employees, noted that trade is an area that could help provide relief for surplus stocks. News reports yesterday indicated that President Trump could sign an executive action withdrawing the United States from the North American Free Trade Agreement; since NAFTA's implementation, U.S. agricultural trade has grown significantly. However, subsequent news developments explained that Trump had decided not to pull out of NAFTA. Many in the agricultural sector are already anxious about U.S. trade policy, yesterday's executive branch actions on trade may not alleviate ongoing concerns.
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U.S. Ag Economy: Kansas City Fed Reports; and, Ag Export Competitiveness

The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City released two interesting reports this month that provide timely insights into the U.S. agricultural economy. The first report took a closer look at crop inventories and agricultural finance, while the second update included recent analysis on farm lending. Meanwhile, a front page article in Friday's Wall Street Journal highlighted issues associated with America's agricultural export competitiveness in the global market.
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FAPRI Baseline: Financial Pressure on Farms Likely to Continue

A news release last week from the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) at the University of Missouri indicated that, "The latest analysis of national and global agricultural trends from the University of Missouri indicates continued financial pressure on United States farm sector. Good news in the report includes a modest recovery in grain prices in 2017."
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