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

A Sorghum Story, Part II

In the coffee shops of agricultural communities all across the country, producers like to talk about the weather. And weather is important because it is, arguably, the single largest driver of their favorite part of production agriculture, yields. Whether it’s grass in pastures or corn in Iowa, yields are important to farmers for many reasons.

Humans have made great advancements in crop yields over time. Yield improvements have been critical in avoiding the tragedy of population limits Thomas Malthus predicted in 1798. Some of those most recent and successful advance has been the yield growth of corn. So how does sorghum stacked up?  Continue reading