Few farmers—only 13 percent—surveyed for the Ag Economy Barometer said they expect farm profitability to improve in the year ahead. "There remains an undercurrent of concern about the farm economy among producers," said the Purdue economists who oversee the monthly gauge of farmer confidence on Tuesday.
U.S. farm income will be slightly higher than expected this year due chiefly to $4.7 billion in Trump tariff payments that will buffer the impact of trade war on commodity prices, says the USDA. With the bailout, farmers are forecast to collect $13.6 billion in direct farm payments, the largest amount in 12 years.
Across the Farm Belt, ag bankers forecast a continued decline in farm income as winter arrives, reported four regional Federal Reserve banks on Thursday. Low commodity prices worry farm lenders, and a Minnesota banker said that the “trade war needs to be resolved to provide stability for customers.”
These are grim times in farm country, according to a Purdue University poll: One-half of farmers say their farm's financial condition is worse than a year ago and, for the third month, more than 70 percent said the trade war will reduce their net income this year. An equally large share of farmers expect hard times for the ag economy in the year ahead, according to the Ag Economy Barometer released on Tuesday.
Corn may be more profitable than soybeans in 2019, but that isn’t saying much about the outlook for midwestern farmers, say a pair of agricultural economists from the University of Illinois.
President Trump's promise to protect U.S. agriculture from retaliatory tariffs by China and other countries will be paid on the installment plan — half this fall and the rest in December, or early 2018 if assistance is still needed, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Monday. The USDA announced $6.2 billion in outlays that will begin in September, with soybean growers in line for $3.6 billion of it.
With commodity prices dropping and farm income projected to plummet, America’s farmers are growing increasingly anxious over the lack of specifics about how much money they’re going to get, and when they’re going to get it, from President Trump’s $12-billion bailout, reports The Wall Street Journal.
The slump in commodity prices that has accompanied the ongoing tit-for-tat trade war has sapped the farm economy this summer and poses financial risks going into the fall, said Federal Reserve banks in Chicago and Kansas City on Thursday.
The smallest fruit and vegetable growers will pay comparatively more than big operators to comply with the so-called Produce Rule from the FDA — as much as 6.8 percent of their sales compared with less than 1 percent for big farmers, said three USDA economists on Wednesday.