University of Illinois

U.S. should increase aid to farmers and food assistance programs — survey

More than 60 percent of consumers across the political spectrum support increasing government support for both farmers and food assistance as a response to inflation, according to a survey released last week by the University of Illinois. Liberals had the highest rates of support for both, with 90.2 percent supporting increased funding for food programs and 85.3 percent supporting increased funding for farmers, the Gardner Food and Agricultural Policy Survey found. Conservatives had lower levels of support for both, but 64.4 percent still supported increased funding for food programs and 66.4 percent, increased funding for farmers.

Bad weather may prevent planting of 1 million soybean acres

Growers may be prevented by bad weather from planting 1.1 million acres of their intended record 84.6 million acres of soybeans, says economist John Newton of U-Illinois.

Corn ethanol setback “is not expected” with EPA proposal

"The demand for corn for ethanol production appears to be on solid footing for the next 18 months," says economist Darrel Good of U-Illinois. "While growth may be limited, a setback is not expected."

Plenty of holiday turkey despite avian influenza losses

"Much has been made of a potential supply disruption impacting the availability of turkeys during the Thanksgiving holiday," say economists John Newton and Todd Kuethe of U-Illinois, who rebut the idea at farmdoc daily. They say the monthly Cold Storage report shows turkey stockpiles are 5-percent larger than a year ago and other USDA reports show turkey production from January-April was up by 7 percent from the same point in 2014.

2014 was best year ever for ethanol plant profits

The average 100-million-gallon-a-year ethanol plant in Iowa had a record profit of 54 cents a gallon in 2014, says economist Scott Irwin of U-Illinois at farmdoc daily.

The “aging farmer problem” may not be as big as thought

The average age of U.S. farmers is on the rise - 57.8 in 2012 vs 53.2 in 1997, according to USDA data. But economist Todd Keuthe of U-Illinois says that "a closer look at the data reveals the 'aging farmer problem' may be overstated by some."

Corn prices “firm to slightly higher” after harvest-time dip

Corn futures prices are the highest in five months and "are expected to remain firm to slightly higher" for the near term, says economist Darrel Good of U-Illinois.

Less winter wheat is sown, suggesting less wheat, more soy

Wheat farmers planted the smallest amount of winter wheat in five years and 5 percent less than last year, said the government, based on a survey of growers in early December. Winter wheat is planted in the fall, lies dormant during the winter and sprouts in the spring for harvest in early summer. The total of 40.2452 million acres was far below trade expectations and also was the second-smallest figure in a decade.

“Little risk” of corn-for-ethanol to fall below 5 billion bushels

Ethanol makers are likely to need at least 5 billion bushels of corn for making the renewable fuel in the coming year despite the biofuel selling at a premium to gasoline, say economists Scott Irwin and Darrel Good of U-Illinois.

Capital purchases zoomed with farm income, now face a dive

Measured on a per-acre basis, capital purchases, such as machinery and buildings, by grain farmers have more than tripled, says economist Gary Schnitkey of U-Illinois, who warns farmers will have to tighten their belts.

US corn crop is slightly smaller, average price slightly higher

The Agriculture Department lowered its estimates of the corn and wheat crops marginally and raised its estimate of the soybean crop by 1 percent in its monthly crop report.

Price slump makes crop insurance pay-out possible

The harvest-time prices for corn and soybeans are significantly below the prices projected last spring, so there is a possibility of payments under crop insurance policies that assure growers of a portion of average crop revenue, said economist Gary Schnitkey of U-Illinois.

Soybeans more profitable this year, may be next year too

Soybeans "are projected to be more profitable than corn in 2014," a reversal from most years, but a situation that is likely to prove true again in the new year, says economist Gary Schnitkey of U-Illinois.

Corn revenue per acre could be lowest since 2009

Gross revenue per acre for corn growers in northern Illinois is forecast to be the lowest in five years, says economist Gary Schnitkey of U-Illinois.

After record harvest, US crop plantings may decline

Corn plantings could decline by 3 percent next year without pinching the U.S. supply, swollen by the second record-setting crop in two years, says economist Darrel Good of U-Illinois.

Ethanol output up 10 percent following record 2013 corn crop

Ethanol makers produced 14.15 billion gallons of ethanol during the 12 months ending on Sept 1, coinciding with the corn marketing year, says economist Darrell Good of U-Illinois.

The tussle over agricultural analysis money

Politico writes about the internecine scuffles among the nation's land grant universities and their think tanks for federal money to carry out analytical work.

Crop tours: Useful on prospects, iffy on yields

Crop tours generate a lot of attention with their estimates of crop yields or output but the organizers often say little about the level of accuracy they represent.

Payment limits and the 2014 farm law

Growers are more likely to hit the statutory limit on crop subsidies if they choose the Price Loss Coverage option rather than the Agriculture Risk Coverage option, say economists Jonathan Coppess, Gary Schnittkey and Nick Paulson of U-Illinois.

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