On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve Board released its November 2017 Beige Book update, a summary of commentary on current economic conditions by Federal Reserve District. The report included several observations pertaining to the U.S. agricultural economy.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
Today's update takes a closer look at recent USDA agricultural trade export data for fiscal year 2017, and then proceeds to examine recent news items that provide perspective on NAFTA trade issues from lawmakers, the Secretary of Agriculture, farmers, and Mexico.
On Thursday, the Federal Reserve Banks of Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City each released updates regarding farm income, farmland values and agricultural credit conditions from the third quarter of this year.
Recent news articles have documented that lower crop prices for commodities such as corn and soybeans have caused some producers to make changes to their traditional crop rotation, or to consider organic crop production methods. More broadly, a recent Wall Street Journal article noted that larger operations may still be able to reap profits in times of lower prices, fueling "a cycle in which size begets size" and where, "smaller-scale farmers struggle to expand their operations to become profitable."