2018 U.S. Farm Income Forecast Released

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service (ERS) indicated on Wednesday that, "Net farm income, a broad measure of profits, is forecast to decrease $4.3 billion (6.7 percent) to $59.5 billion in 2018, which would be the lowest level in nominal terms since 2006."
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House Ag Committee Hearing with Sec. Perdue: Trade Issues

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue testified before the House Agriculture Committee on Tuesday morning  at a hearing on the “State of the Rural Economy.”  Recall that back in May, shortly after his confirmation, Sec. Perdue also provided lawmakers on the Committee with an update on rural economic issues.  Trade issues with China and the ongoing renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) were among the key concerns that emerged on Tuesday.
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Kansas City Fed: Ag Lending and Interest Expenses Increase for Farmers

An update on Friday from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City ("Agricultural Lending Increases, As Do Interest Expenses for Farmers," by Cortney Cowley  and John McCoy) stated that, "Lending at agricultural banks increased sharply in the fourth quarter, after appearing to stabilize in previous quarters. Large loans drove the increase in farm lending, which may heighten concerns about cash flow in 2018 as interest rates have continued to rise steadily."
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Ag Economy: 2018 Outlook from CoBank; and Farmland Values

CoBank recently released a new report that explored a variety of issues that will impact the U.S. rural economy in 2018.  In addition, recent newspaper articles have discussed reports relating to the value of U.S. farmland.  This update briefly highlights core points from the CoBank report, and also looks at the new information on farmland values.
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Kansas City Fed Ag Outlook- Robust Corn, Soybean Production Make Exports Increasingly Important

Cortney Cowley, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, indicated in an update last week ("As Winter Looms, Key Risks Keep Ag Outlook Cool") that, "Following steep declines for three consecutive years, farm income was expected to stabilize in 2017 and beyond. In inflation-adjusted dollars, real net farm income was forecast to be relatively unchanged from 2016."
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Recent USDA-ERS Reports: Farm Structure (2017), and Evolving Distribution of Government Farm Payments (1991-2015)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS) has recently released two separate reports that provide interesting perspective on the structure of U.S. agriculture.  The first provides a detailed overview of current statistics relating to U.S. farms, while the second highlights the evolving distribution of Federal farm payments (1991-2015).  This update underscores key findings from the two recent ERS reports.
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