Today's update looks at a variety of information sources that highlight recent developments relating to the U.S. farm economy, including variables associated with farmland values, agricultural prices, and farm income.
Yesterday, the Senate Ag Committee held a hearing to consider the nomination of Sonny Perdue to be Secretary of Agriculture. Issues associated with the Trump Administration's proposed USDA budget cuts, trade policy, and labor were among the topics discussed at yesterday's meeting.
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."
Last week, the Federal Reserve Board released its February ’17 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.
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.
Speaking yesterday at USDA's Agricultural Outlook Forum in Arlington, Virginia, USDA Chief Economist Robert C. Johansson provided a broad outlook for U.S. agriculture. Today's update provides an overview of key aspects of Dr. Johansson's presentation.
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.
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."
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."
Jesse Newman reported yesterday at The Wall Street Journal Online that, "U.S. farm incomes will drop 8.7% in 2017, a fourth consecutive year of declines amid a deep slump in prices for many crops."