USDA announces bonus payments for prevented planting

Farmers are in line for a “top-up” payment of up to 15 percent if they received a prevented-planting indemnity from crop insurers this year due to flooding or excessive rainfall, said the USDA on Thursday.

Farmer confidence plunges as trade war expands

Although most producers say Trump tariff payments will "completely or somewhat" relieve the impact of the Sino-U.S. trade war on their operations, farmer confidence is plummeting, according to a Purdue University poll released Tuesday. The Ag Economy Barometer, a gauge of the health of the agricultural economy, fell from a record high of 153 in July to the lowest reading — 124 — since May.(No paywall)

Retaliatory tariffs bite U.S. farmers, not the importers

For nine of the 11 commodities examined by ag lender CoBank, "U.S. producers — not the importing country or its consumers — paid the cost" of retaliatory tariffs. "U.S. farms are taking the brunt of the retaliatory tariffs placed on their products, reflecting the lopsided balance of power between U.S. producers and their importing customers," concluded three CoBank analysts, who said America will pay a price in the future, too.

As Trump’s trade agenda falters, Dems see rural America in play for 2020

After years of effectively writing off rural voters, based on their solid support for the GOP, Democratic candidates for the White House are suddenly turning up frequently in Iowa — where the primary season kicks off in February — and rolling out rural initiatives on everything from ethanol and broadband to crop subsidies and healthcare. 

Digital divide persists, though 53 percent of farms conduct business on internet

More than half of U.S. farm operators say they do business over the internet, a 13-point increase in six years, as ownership of computers and access to the internet blossomed, according to USDA. Nonetheless, the Pew Research Center says rural Americans are much less likely than their city counterparts to have a smartphone or broadband service at home.

Ag sector ‘uncertainty’ pulls down sales for world’s largest farm equipment maker

Farmers are sitting on their checkbooks instead of buying new equipment because of the Sino-U.S. trade war and planting delays in the United States, said the chief executive of Deere and Co., the world's largest farm equipment manufacturer. Deere, which also makes construction and logging equipment, said overall sales fell 3 percent during May, June and July, led by a 6- percent drop in agriculture and turf, its largest division.

Profitability of many midwestern corn, soy farms ‘will almost surely fall’

Farmland values are falling for the fifth year in the Midwest, and one factor in the decline is “muted expectations for farm income” this year, said the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank on Thursday. “The profitability of many corn and soybean farms will almost surely fall from their 2018 levels — possibly by a lot for some.”

Rise in commodity prices slows decline in farm income, say bankers

Agricultural lenders expect farm income, which weakened in the spring, to continue to decline this summer, although a recent rally in corn, soybean, and wheat prices will act as a stabilizer, said Federal Reserve banks in Kansas City, Minneapolis, and St. Louis on Thursday.

How farmers will adapt to the prospect of a new, soggier normal

American farmers, having endured the wettest 12 months in well over a hundred years and facing predictions that this could be the soggy new normal for the nation’s midsection, are looking at a variety of ways to speed up their processes next year, according to Bloomberg.

USDA expects storm-related planting claims to top $1 billion

The USDA expects storm-ravaged farmers to file more than $1 billion in prevented-planting claims for fields they could not plant this year due to heavy rains and flooding, according to press reports.