2017 U.S. Farm Income Forecast Updated

Yesterday, the USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) released its August 2017 Farm Income Forecast.  This was the first revision of the initial net farm income forecast released by ERS in February.  Today's update provides a recap of highlights from the farm income forecast.  As the discussion over the next Farm Bill continues, the ERS update provides an important reference point regarding the current status of the U.S. farm economy.
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Recent USDA Updates Provide Snapshot of Farm Economy Variables

Last week, USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released three important updates that provide current insight into the state of the U.S. agricultural economy.  The releases focused on land values, cash rents, and production expenditures. Meanwhile, USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) recently updated its monthly agricultural trade data, and on Monday, included an article related to farm household income in its Amber Waves magazine publication. As lawmakers and the executive branch continue to gather perspective in preparation for the next Farm Bill, today's post looks briefly at some of the key findings from these recent USDA updates on the farm economy.
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Drought Persists in the Plains

Last week, Billings Gazette writer Tom Lutey reported that, "The life had been fading from Grant Zerbe's stunted chickpeas for the better part of a month, and now drought’s hot breath was burning through the final green inch of every plant stem. The Montana farmer’s worst growing season in 30 years was coming to a brutal end. There are few crops to harvest in the region, and with a lack of food and water, unwanted livestock are headed to auction."
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Farm Lending Variables- Updated Analysis From the Kansas City Fed

On Friday, Nathan Kauffman and Matt Clark, of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, penned an update titled, "Farm Lending Steady, but Risks Remain," which noted that, "Agricultural lending at commercial banks was steady in the second quarter, but risks in the farm sector continued to weigh on loan growth and credit conditions."  Today's post looks at the Kansas City Fed article in more detail.
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Drought in High Plains- “Simple Survival” a Goal for Some

Associated Press writer Blake Nicholson reported on Saturday that, "Drought in North Dakota is laying waste to fields of normally bountiful food and hay crops and searing pastures that typically would be home to multitudes of grazing cattle. Some longtime farmers and ranchers say it’s the worst conditions they’ve seen in decades — possibly their lifetimes — and simple survival has become their goal as a dry summer drags on without a raincloud in sight."
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Dallas Fed Ag Credit Survey

Earlier this week, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas released the results of its 2017 Second Quarter Agricultural Credit Survey, which stated that, "Demand for agricultural loans overall decreased for a seventh consecutive quarter. Loan renewals and extensions continued to increase, albeit at a slower pace.  The rate of loan repayment stabilized after declining for two years. Overall, the volume of non-real- estate farm loans was lower than a year ago, as was the volume of farm real estate loans.  The volume of operating loans increased; all other loan categories’ volumes fell year-over-year this quarter."
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