Two Corn Yield Myths in 2017

by David A. Widmar

Large yields and growing grain stocks have been a driving force of commodity markets in recent years. Given the multi-year pressure on commodity prices, the annual question of ‘how big will the crop be’ seems to be even more relevant this year. While there is a lot of growing season – and planting – that remains, speculation began months ago. This week’s posts looks at two myths we’ve heard in recent months about yields and the 2017 corn crop. Continue reading

What if CRP Acres Increased?

ag trends. agricultural economic insights

by David A. Widmar

The Conservation Reserve Program (or CRP) has been in the news lately as members of Congress have called for an increase in acres. This was no surprise to us as we’ve previously written about trends in the CRP program and noted that conditions seem ripe for an expansion (here and here). Furthermore, former Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was quoted last year saying Congress would likely face pressure to “…rethink the cap on CRP.”

Given the latest CRP conversation, this week’s post takes an updated look at CRP trends and walks through a simple thought experiment to provide insights on what a reduction in U.S. crop production acres might look like. Continue reading

Global Beef Trends: China and Brazil Grab the Spotlight

by David A. Widmar

In late March, the beef industry was rocked by a meat scandal in Brazil that created concerns about quality and safety controls. Many countries, including China, temporarily halted imports of Brazilian beef while the scale and scope of the issues were sorted out. In light of these events, it is worthwhile to step back and reflect on beef trends (as we did a few weeks ago with corn here and here). This week’s post considers the global beef trends – including consumption, production, imports, and export.

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