ARC-CO Yield Guarantees Increase Across Much of the Country

by Brent Gloy

Direct farm program payments have again become a critical component of net farm income.  In 2016 direct farm program payments are forecast to account for $13 billion of the sector’s $68 billion (19%) of net farm income.  At $5.9 billion the ARC-CO program is by far the largest category of direct farm program payments.

As we have discussed before, the price guarantees of the ARC-CO program have already begun to decline and this decline will likely accelerate for the 2017 crop year.  However, ARC-CO is a revenue based program, so guarantees are also dependent upon county level yield histories.  Given that the U.S. has harvested three very large corn and soybean crops in a row, we thought it would be interesting to see how the county level yields have changed over the course of the program.  Continue reading

Agriculture and Exchange Rates: It’s Complicated

by David A. Widmar

Even though trade is important to U.S. agriculture, exchange rates are often overlooked. Currency exchange rates have been an important topic in recent years as the Dollar has trended stronger- or become more expensive – since 2012 (we’ve written about here and here). This week’s post is an updated look at exchange rates and how trends changed in 2016.  Continue reading

Tight Budgets Likely to Persist in 2017

by Brent Gloy and David Widmar

(Brent and David originally wrote this piece for the Fall issue of The Feed, available here).

With planning for 2017 underway, many are finding the tight budget environment is likely to persist in 2017.  When evaluating the major row crops and major growing regions of the country, our crop budget estimates suggest that 2017 will be another challenging year for row crop producers.

While there has been a significant amount of negative news about the 2016 economic situation, there were some positives.  Perhaps the most important of these is costs of production declines.  This year saw some reductions in fertilizer and fuel prices, as well as, cash rents.  Unfortunately, higher crop prices and additional cost reductions will likely be necessary to restore profitability in 2017. Continue reading