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.

Cautious farmers dim Deere’s outlook for 2020

The world's largest farm equipment maker, Deere and Co., expects sales of its agricultural equipment to decline by 5-10 percent globally in the year ahead due to lower demand for big machinery. "Lingering trade tensions coupled with a year of difficult growing and harvesting conditions have caused many farmers to become cautious about making major investments in new equipment," said chief executive John May.

Hemp farming may be more pioneer life than Wild West

For all its Gold Rush aura, hemp farming may be more like life on the frontier, where everything must be built from the ground up, said advocates of industrial hemp on Thursday. Hemp can require a lot of manual labor to keep weeds under control, it’s hard to find processors for the crop, and marketing networks are rudimentary.

Short on cash, some farmers will sell assets during winter

Low commodity prices and high costs are tightening the credit squeeze on the farm sector, with little expectation of improvement in the near term, according to ag bankers in the Midwest and Plains. Some farmers and ranchers will liquidate assets during the winter to stay afloat, and some highly leveraged operators will be forced out of business, they said.

When U.S. started trade war, ag competition was already rising

For years, the United States was the indisputable global leader for agricultural exports, partly because it had a comparative advantage in farm production. But the U.S. advantage in pork, beef, corn and soybeans is waning, say two university economists, who conclude "this may have been the worst time to enter into a trade war."

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.