USDA Report Examines Farm Household Income Volatility

Last week, USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) released a report titled, "Farm Household Income Volatility: An Analysis Using Panel Data From a National Survey." The report noted that, "There has long been information tracking farm income at the national level, yet little information exists about income variability of individual farm households." Due to the volatility associated with agricultural production, federal lawmakers have worked to craft policies that minimize farm household income fluctuations. House and Senate Ag Committees in the 115th Congress have already begun the process of continuing this goal as they conduct hearings relating to the next Farm Bill. Today's update looks at some of the highlights of the ERS report.
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USDA Releases Agricultural Projections, Focus on Corn and Soybeans

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its 10-year projections for the food and agriculture sector. The report noted that, "Over the next several years, the agricultural sector continues to adjust to lower prices for most farm commodities. Although reduced energy prices have decreased energy-related agricultural production costs, lower crop prices result in declines in planted acreage. Lower feed costs provide economic incentives for expansion in the livestock sector." Today's update highlights aspects of the report that focused on corn and soybeans.
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U.S. Corn Exports to Mexico: Will Policy Rhetoric Turn into Concrete Action?

On Monday, February 13th, Patrick Gillespie reported at CNN Money Online that, "Mexico is one of the top buyers of American corn in the world today. And Mexican senator Armando Rios Piter, who leads a congressional committee on foreign relations, says he will introduce a bill this week where Mexico will buy corn from Brazil and Argentina instead of the United States."
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Fed Reports Show Declining Farmland Values, Tighter Credit Conditions

On Thursday, the Federal Reserve Banks of Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City each released updates regarding farmland values and agricultural credit conditions from the fourth quarter of last year. The Fed reports, which contained concerning news for farmers, came on the heels of USDA's forecast that U.S. farm incomes will drop 8.7% in 2017, and on the same day that The Wall Street Journal ran a front page story titled, "The Next Farm Bust is Coming."
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Farm Economy Variables – A Checkup

A complex mix of agricultural economic variables help form the basis of what farmers and ranchers consider essential policy priorities. As Farm Bill conversations have already begun, today's update looks very briefly at several issues such as farm lending, production costs, commodity stock levels, and biofuels that have gained recent attention in the news.
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