Coronavirus aid limits will be higher than initially proposed

Farmers and ranchers will need assistance from the federal government beyond the $16 billion in cash payments that were promised a month ago, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. During a broadcast interview, Perdue said producers will be eligible for more than the $125,000 per commodity that was proposed by the USDA.(No paywall)

Multibillion-dollar corn and soy payments possible due to coronavirus

Low market prices on this year's corn and soybean crops due to the coronavirus could trigger up to $7.2 billion in USDA subsidies to corn and soybean growers, said five university economists on Wednesday. "In estimating the damage that U.S. crop agriculture has suffered, it is important to take into account the payments made by existing farm safety net programs," they said. (No paywall)

Key senator defends decisions on nutrition spending

Congress increased funding significantly for public nutrition programs in the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package, said the chairman of the Senate subcommittee in charge of USDA spending on Monday. Congress has come under criticism for unfairly funding food programs in favor of farmers.

Coronavirus question: Spend more on food aid or farm aid?

Farmers and ranchers will need billions of dollars in coronavirus aid beyond the $16 billion in cash that USDA plans to disburse by June, 28 senators said in a letter to President Trump. At the same time, a band of university economists said USDA aid is weighted 4-to-1 toward producers and that the agency "should arguably show an equivalent amount of creativity to help the broader spectrum of struggling Americans with food needs."(No paywall)

Coronavirus lands haymaker on U.S. farm sector

In its first assessment since the coronavirus was declared a pandemic, the government forecast lower prices for U.S. crops and livestock as a worldwide economic slowdown, the result of aggressive efforts to squash the virus, weakens the global appetite for food. The notable exceptions are wheat and rice, where panic buying has driven up prices for the food grains, said the USDA on Thursday. (No paywall)

Ethanol market is ‘disturbing as hell’ to American farmers. And now there’s Covid-19.

Some 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop is refined into ethanol, but over the last two weeks, Covid-19 has joined a host of other disrupting factors to create what Geoff Cooper, president of the Renewable Fuels Association, calls “not just a perfect storm for ethanol, but a perfect tsunami.” Since the outbreak, ethanol prices have plunged to an all-time low of 88 cents a gallon and manufacturers are warning of more plant closures and reduced run rates.(No paywall)

Farm groups’ goal: Fill ‘USDA’s bank’ with cash for coronavirus aid

The two largest U.S. farm groups want lawmakers to nearly double the funding for "USDA's bank," the Depression-era vehicle for multibillion-dollar Trump tariff payments, and give Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue the power to help farmers and ranchers through the coronavirus outbreak. Commodity prices are down sharply and the head of the FAPRI think tank says farm income is likely to be "significantly lower" than expected due to economic disruptions caused by the virus.(No paywall)

U.S. heads for highest farm income in seven years

Thanks to a steady recovery, U.S. farm income this year will be the highest since 2013, the peak of the commodity boom, said the government on Wednesday. The USDA forecast net farm income, a broad measure of profits, at $96.7 billion this year, with higher crop and livestock revenue offsetting the end of two years of mammoth Trump tariff payments.

Farmer sentiment rose with China trade deal

Farmer sentiment jumped to the highest level of the Trump presidency, with a nationwide survey finding farmers upbeat about the prospects for exports following the Phase I trade deal with China, according to the Purdue/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer released Tuesday. The Ag Economy Barometer …

Farmland values: Steady, with a risk of decline

Despite the dour mood in the agricultural sector, prices for good-quality farmland held steady in 2019, partly because less land than usual was on the market, said Farmers National Co., a farm management and real estate company.